Blarney & District Historical Society

Programme of Public Lectures and Field Trips for 2016-2017 Season 


Wednesday 24th August 2016

Looking at our Parish Churches
Mr. John Mulcahy
Part of Heritage Week, 21st to 28th August 2016

Mr. John Mulcahy presents an illustrated lecture on the churches of the parish. The lecture will be presented in the Church of the Resurrection, Blarney at 8:00 P.M. All are welcome.


Thursday 8th September 2016

2015/2016 Annual General Meeting


Thursday 22nd September  2016

Field Trip to Independence Museum Kilmurry
Mr. Noel Howard
Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association

Blarney and District Historical Society presents a Field Trip to Independence Museum, Kilmurry, formerly known as the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Museum. This Field Trip was originally scheduled for May 2016 but was postponed at the request of the Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association until now. It involves a guided tour of the beautifully designed and built new Museum. We have been here before but it has greatly expanded its collections with many priceless and interesting donations since our last visit and well worth a re-visit. Please meet at the museum at 7.25 p.m.

Please note: Unfortunately, due to number restrictions, this Field Trip is strictly confined to Blarney and District Historical Society members.


Thursday 6th October 2016

Images of Cork Leading up to the 1916 Rising
Mr. Michael Lenihan
Best-selling author of ‘Hidden Cork‘; ‘Pure Cork‘ and ‘Timeless Cork

Michael Lenihan delves into the rich tapestry of Cork history to reveal this unique collection of evocative pictures of life leading up to the 1916 Rising. The author’s enthusiasm for his city is reflected throughout this stunning illustrated tour of the history of Cork city, as if we are taking a walk through the city’s past. The images date largely from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and bring to life the flow of time through the streets of Cork.


Thursday 3rd November 2016

Slaughter on the Somme 100th Anniversary of the Battle
Mr. Gerry White
Western Front Association (Cork Branch)

This November marks the end of the Battle of the Somme after 141 days of one of the bloodiest episodes in European and Irish history. The carnage began on the 1st of July 1916 and lasted until November 18th. The casualty list of over 1 million combatants from both sides surely defies understanding to this day. 7 Irishmen were awarded the Victoria Cross during the most futile and bloody battle ever fought in the history of war. Over 3,500 Irishmen lost their lives.


Thursday 1st December 2016

Historical Food Products in Ireland
Dr. Liam Downey
Adjunct Professor in School of Archaeology U.C.D. & Former Director of Teagasc

Dr. Liam Downey, a native of Cork, has been Director of four Irish organisations, most recent of which has been Teagasc. The other three were the T B Eradication Scheme, ACOT and An Foras Forbatha. He holds three Doctorates, a Ph.D. from Reading University, a D.Sc. from the National University of Ireland and an Honorary LL.D., also from the N.U.I. Since retiring, he has been involved in Foresight Studies for the Agri-Food industry and has published widely in Archaeology. Dr. Downey presents a perspective of the main food products commonly eaten in Ireland from earlier times. The prehistoric origins of dairying in Ireland and its nutrition. Cereal and meat production and how the seasonal scarcity of food supplies affected the population.


Thursday 12th January 2017

‘Revolution on the Airwaves’
1966: How the Broadcasting Media celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising
Mr. Kieran Wyse
Reference Department Cork County Library Headquarters

In 1966 the broadcast media were at the forefront in celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the “Easter Rising”. Those celebrations were not unlike those that took place last year but had to be choreographed rather differently because of the large number of participants in that event that were still alive fifty years on. Kieran Wyse will tell of how Radio and Telefís Eireann rose to that challenge by relaying not only scholarly lectures and reflections but also exciting television drama and some very popular rebel songs.


Thursday 2nd February 2017

‘The Cycles of Time’
Exploring Irish Folk Belief, ‘Piseogs’, Ritual and Custom
Mr. Shane Lehane
Lecturer, Archaeologist, Folklorist and Historian

Piseoga or superstitions are still around in todays’ world. They spanned all of life from birth to burial with the banshee often warning of an imminent death in a family. Monday was not considered a good day to begin a project of any kind while getting one’s hair cut on this day was not considered a wise action either. When did they begin and where did they come from? This evening Shane Lehane explains all as he takes us back through the centuries to discover their origins. He has been lecturing and teaching in the areas of Irish Cultural and Heritage Studies for over 25 years. He lectures in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa and University College Cork.


Thursday 2nd March 2017

Following the Footsteps of the Cork Fenians150th Anniversary of the Fenian Rising
Mr. John Mulcahy
Author & Lecturer

The Fenian Rising of 1867 was a rebellion against British rule in Ireland, organized by the Irish Republican Brotherhood or Fenian Brotherhood which was founded in Dublin by James Stephens in 1858. He also proclaimed Ireland a republic. In Cork, about 4,000 insurgents gathered at Fair Hill and proceeded to Limerick train Junction, attacking and burning several police barracks on their way. A number of other unsuccessful risings took place in many counties across the land. John Mulcahy discusses the history, the noted participants involved and the causes for the ultimate failure of the Rising.


Thursday 6th April 2017

‘The Martin’ – History of a Local River
Mr. Richard Forrest
Librarian Cork County Library Blarney Branch

The River Martin is the focus of the talk this evening. The origin of the river at the Lyradane Mountain approximately half way between Mallow and Blarney, it’s geography and course, it’s bridges, it’s human interaction, it’s industry and wild-life, it’s folklore and accidents and its tributaries as the river flows south through the village of Blarney will all be discussed Richard traces its interesting journey before it reaches the Shournagh River and then to the River Lee on its journey to the sea in Cork Harbour.


Thursday 4th May 2017

May Day Magic: Fairies, Witches and Dew-Charms
Dr. Jenny Butler
Lecturer in the Study of Religions U.C.C.

Since the date is quite close to May Day (May 1st), the focus of Dr. Butler’s talk will be on the fairies and the traditional celebration of the start of summer. This would bring in some legends of the Sídh (fairies) as well as historical (and continuing) customs. Who were the Sídh? Why do we still believe in and, sometimes, fear them? Dr. Butler also discusses how the earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times. It is also associated with the Gaelic word Bealtaine, The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of spring, May 1 was the first day of summer.


Wednesday 17th May 2017

Launch of ‘Old Blarney’ – In Focus

On Wednesday 17th May, the Blarney and District Historical Society will launch the 5th in its series of Photo Journals, entitled ‘Old Blarney’ – In Focus. The launch will take place in the Blarney Castle Hotel, The Square, Blarney and all are welcome to attend.

Please note Day and Date.


Thursday 8th June 2017

Field Trip to Kilcrea Abbey
Ms.Denise Sheehan
Head Tutor Department of Archaeology U.C.C.
Meet at Kilcrea Abbey 7.30 P.M.

Kilcrea Franciscan Friary was founded in 1465 by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry, who was also responsible for building the castles at Kilcrea, Blarney and Dripsey. He was killed in 1494 and is buried at the friary. Under the protection of the MacCarthys, Kilcrea Friary remained inhabited during the 16th-century dissolution of the monasteries, but the late-19th century saw the end of the Franciscan tradition in Kilcrea.

Visitors can view the unique multi-windowed sacristy and scriptorium, found to the north of the chancel, which is the most decorative part of the building. Other buildings that surround the Abbey are well preserved.


Summer Vacation


Wednesday 23rd August 2017

The Story of Blarney Castle Gardens

In the Church of The Resurrection, Blarney at 8.00 P.M.

Mr. Adam Whitbourn

Head Gardener, Blarney Castle Gardens

Part of National Heritage Week

Please note Day and Date.


Thursday 7th September 2017

Annual General Meeting


Thursday 21st September 2017

The Saga of The Muskerry Tram 1887 – 1934
2017 – The 130th Anniversary of its Opening
Mr. Tim O’Brien

The narrow-gauge Cork & Muskerry Light Railway line ran from Cork to Blarney with branch lines to Coachford and Donoughmore using six locomotives and 87 other vehicles. Known locally as The ‘Muskerry Tram’ it was hugely successful and after only one week the train was packed to capacity with over 2,000 passengers! At its height the line operated nine locomotives. The railway carried tourists but was also used by local businessmen and by farmers to carry livestock and produce. The line suffered serious damage during the Irish Civil war in 1923. In 1925 the railway was purchased by Great Southern Railways (Ireland) and was eventually closed in December 1934. Little of the infrastructure exists, and is gradually disappearing.


All lectures are in Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál (Blarney Secondary School) at 8.00 p.m. unless otherwise stated.  All events are correct at time of publication but some items may have to be cancelled or changed due to unavoidable circumstances from time to time. Some Field Trips may carry certain restrictions.

Everybody Welcome.

Contact: Mr. Brian Gabriel Email: Tel: 021 4381349 Mob: 087-2153216