Cork in 1916 – a Revolutionary Society?


Cork Historical & Archaeological Society Conference

Saturday 2 July 2016

St Peter’s Church [former Vision Centre] Cork


The Cork Historical and Archaeological Society celebrates its 125th birthday this year.  Founded in 1891, it has published an annual journal devoted to the history and archaeology of the county since 1892, and currently has over 220 members.  In recent years it has held a day-long conference every second summer, including in 2014 a successful and well-attended one that marked the centenary of the death of Robert Day (1836-1914), who was a prominent Cork businessman and antiquarian in his time, had been president of the Society and was a well-known collector of and dealer in antiquities.


This year’s conference will take place on Saturday 2 July from 10.00 to 4.00 in St Peter’s, North Main St (the former Vision Centre) on the theme ‘Cork in 1916 – a Revolutionary Society?’  Speakers will address a variety of aspects of Cork cultural, social and political life, including the Volunteers, the press, the Gaelic League, women political activists, Protestant support for the war effort and the developing ideologies of Terence MacSwiney and Daniel Corkery. 


Speakers include Dr John Borgonovo of the School of History in UCC, well-known for a growing body of publications about Cork and the Irish revolution, and Dr Ian d’Alton, foremost historian of the Protestants of Munster from the nineteenth century on.  Dr d’Alton’s paper will focus on the Great War and will provide an analysis of what war meant to the Protestant communities of the city and county, how they coped with it, how they involved themselves in it and finally, how it altered their perception of their place in Ireland, Britain and the Empire.


Daniel Corkery’s biographer, Dr Patrick Maume of the Dictionary of Irish Biography, will examine the changing relationship between Corkery and Terence MacSwiney in that pivotal year, while Dr Sandra McAvoy focuses on women political and social activists in Cork and more widely in Munster.  Alan McCarthy will share the fruits of his current doctoral research on the newspapers of Cork city and county before and after the Rising, while Dr Traolach Ó Riordáin of the University of Montana will discuss the activities of the Lee Branch of the Gaelic League, which he argues was the most innovative of all the branches of the movement in the early years.  Their dynamism was one of the reasons that would bring them into conflict with the central organization in Dublin and cause the first major crisis in the League.


In this crowded year of commemorative events, the aim of the conference is to offer fresh perspectives on Cork city and county during that crucial time. Members and non-members alike are most welcome.  Conference registration is €10, and further details can be found on the Society’s website,


Cork in 1916 – a Revolutionary Society?

Conference Programme

10.00 Registration  (€10)

10.30  Dr John Borgonovo (UCC): ‘Cork City, Politics, Society, and Culture before the Rising’

11.10  Alan McCarthy: ‘The Middlemen: the Popular Press in Cork before and after the 1916 Rising’

11.50  Dr Sandra McAvoy (UCC): ‘Women, Poor Law and Politics in Cork’

12.30-14.00 Lunch break

14.00  Dr Traolach Ó Riordáin (U Montana): ‘Cork’s Lee Branch: Cradle of the Gaelic League’

14.40  Dr Patrick Maume: ‘Converging Nationalist Countercultures: Terence MacSwiney and Daniel Corkery’

15.20  Dr Ian d’Alton: ‘A Year at War: Cork Protestants in 1916’

16.00 Conference Close


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