Remembering 1916

Published: 14th March 2016

A large and enthusiastic audience attended a one-day event ‘Remembering 1916’ at the Westville Hotel on Saturday 12 March 2016.

Organised by Enniskillen Castle Museums as part of its outreach programme, and part funded by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and OFMDFM, the event not only explored the significance of events in 1916 such as World War 1, The Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising but also focused on the local impact of these on life in Fermanagh 100 years ago.

The day began with a fascinating talk from author and historian, Séamas Mac Annaidh.  He reflected on the social, political and cultural impact of events on the lives of students from St Michael’s Grammar School and Presentation Brothers.

Joanna McVey, former Proprietor and Managing Director of the ‘Impartial Reporter’ explored the times through a scrap book of memories and wonderful photographs kept by her aunt, Olive Muriel Trimble.  Past Headmaster of Portora Royal School and Inniskillings Museum historian, Richard Bennett looked at the impact of World War I on the school.  He highlighted many moving stories of former pupils involved in the conflict.  The final talk of the day was given by writer and historian Dr Éamon Phoenix.  Dr Phoenix’s subject was the former Portora student, George Irvine. George Irvine was a committed Church of Ireland member, Gaelic scholar and Nationalist, who was imprisoned for his part in the Easter Rising.

Also speaking as part of the day were current students from the Peace Studies Programme at St Michael’s College and Portora Royal School.  The students talked about their research into the lives of local people and family members living during the period.  The Peace Studies Programme was set up in 1978 by Father Patrick Mc Entee from St Michael’s College and Richard Neil from Portora Royal School.  Its aim is to foster good relations between our schools.

The talks during the day were interspersed with musical performances by four times all-Ireland fiddle player and noted Donegal harpist Tracey McRory.  She introduced and played music she had composed inspired by the story of her granduncle, Fr James McRory.  James McRory had served as a Chaplain to the Connaught Rangers on those same battlefields 100 years ago.

Staff from Enniskillen Castle Museums provided great detail on a range of 1916 related artefacts from the museum collection which resonated with the history of the locality and the lives of people who lived here a century ago. These objects, alongside other material, will form part of the opening exhibition at the newly refurbished museum in the summer.

 

Ends

For further information please contact Elizabeth Harkin, tel: 0300 303 1777 or email: Elizabeth.harkin@fermanaghomagh.com

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