Sunday, 25 August 2019

September lecture - Tuam ICA Guild – a link in a global chain

The Old Tuam Society is delighted to welcome Mary Ryan for our first lecture of the 2019-20 season. Mary's talk is entitled ‘Tuam ICA Guild – a link in a global chain'.

The Tuam Guild of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association was founded in 1950 and is part of the national Irish Countrywomen’s Association founded in 1911. It is the largest women's association in Ireland with almost 10,000 members in over 500 guilds countrywide. It is also part of the Associated Country Women of the World which is the largest international organization for both rural and urban women.  It has a membership of nine million in over 70 countries. Its objective is to provide both educational and social opportunities for women.

Our lecturer is Mary Alacoque Ryan is a native of Galway city and a former second-level teacher. She has always had a deep interest in women’s issues, both historic and current. Currently she works as a correspondent for the Tuam Herald and also on two longitudinal studies: Growing Up in Ireland with the Economic Social and Research Institute and Children’s School Lives with University College Dublin.

Date: 12 September
Time: 8 pm
Venue: Tuam Library
All Welcome

Thursday, 30 May 2019

June Lecture - The Connaught Rangers - The Battle for Hearts and Minds

The Old Tuam Society is delighted to welcome back historian Damien Quinn for our final lecture of the 2018-19 season. Damien's talk centres on the famed Connaught Rangers regiment. Damien will uncover the how this famed regiment was depicted in fiction, art and music and how this has added to their legend as “The Devil’s Own”.

Damien's area of specialist research is Irishmen who served in the British Army and he previously delivered excellent and thought-provoking lectures to the Society. Damien's M. Litt, entitled 'The Connaught Rangers and the Wars of Empire 1793-1922' is a survey of one Irish regiment's experience and involvement in imperial conflicts. In addition, Damien  curated ‘Galway and The Wars of Empire’ for the Galway City Museum which examined the involvement of Galway men and women in the Wars of Empire between 1796 and 1922. Damien is currently editing "The Connaught Rangers and the Wars of Empire 1793-1922" for publication. His previous publications include "Galway War Dead 1914 – 1918" (2015) and he founded Military History Ireland – A research resource on the men and women of Ireland who served in national and international conflicts.

8 pm
Thursday 27 June
Tuam Library
All Welcome

Thursday, 9 May 2019

May Lecture - Tuam Orphan Girls Project

The OTS is delighted to announce details of our May lecture coming up next Thursday, 16 May in Tuam Library at 8 pm. Our guest lecturer Martin Curley has been very involved in genealogical research and local history since returning to Galway in 2013. A native of Guilka, Menough, he has lived in NYC and Liverpool and was involved for many years in emigrant groups. He is also the organiser of the Galway Genetic Genealogy Conference and administers several DNA Facebook groups including the Tuam, Mountbellew and Clonbern-Kilkerrin groups as well as Facebook groups for the Mannion and Donnellan clans. He also works with schools and community groups delivering workshops on Family History and Local Heritage as well as helping families and individuals trace their roots and relations through records and DNA.

The genesis of the Tuam Orphan Girls Project came about on discovering an 1849 Tuam Herald report of the Board of Guardians for the Tuam Union where the Australian authorities detailed the condition of girls who had been residents of Tuam Workhouse a year after leaving Tuam for a better life in Australia. Martin has worked in the very successful Mountbellew-Palestine Orphan Girls Project where descendants were invited to return to Mountbellew where their ancestors had left in 1852. This work meant that some descendants were able to meet their Irish cousins and Martin hopes a similar project would be helpful for Tuam. He is hoping that by pooling the resources and talents of people in Australia and Ireland to help that it would make this possible.

Venue: Tuam Library, High St.
Date: Thursday, 16 May
Time: 8 pm

Thursday, 7 February 2019

February Lecture 2019: Ireland's Napoleon - John O'Connor Power

The Old Tuam Society's lecture series for the 2018-19 season resumes this February 21st and we are delighted to welcome author Jane Stanford who will be speaking about her ancestor John O’Connor Power. Jane's lecture entitled "Ireland's Napoleon" will detail Power's life as a Home Ruler, a Member for Mayo (1874-1885), a journalist and a Fenian through his prominent role in the Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He was considered a formidable political strategist and made himself welcome in Westminster’s corridors of power and London society. Indeed, his cunning and intellect were such that he was an inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in creating Sherlock Holmes' nemesis Professor Moriarty; a seditious Irishman with ‘hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind'.
As the Supreme Council’s ‘accredited agent’, he advised successive British governments on land legislation, local government reform and electoral policy. He harnessed the influence of the diaspora, the Irish in England and the Empire and its ex-colonies and demanded justice for Ireland. Considered one of the outstanding orators of the time, he was ranked with Gladstone and John Bright.
Aged 25, he furthered his education at St. Jarlath's College, Tuam, with his fees and expenses paid by a combination of teaching and lectures in Britain and America. In his final year he was Professor of Humanities at St. Jarlaths.
Our speaker, Jane Stanford, is author of ‘Moriarty Unmasked: Conan Doyle and an Anglo-Irish Quarrel’, (Carrowmore, 2017) and ‘That Irishmanthe life and times of John O’Connor Power’, (History Press Ireland, 2011).
We hope you will join us for what promises to be a fascinating lecture on the day that marks the centenary of his death, 21st February.

Tuam Library
8 pm, Thursday, 21 February
All Welcome

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

JOTS 15 launch

The Old Tuam Society has great pleasure in announcing the launch event for the 15th edition of the Journal of The Old Tuam Society. JOTS 15 will be officially launched by eminent historian Prof. Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor of History at NUI Galway in the Corralea Court Hotel, The Square, Tuam at 8.00 p.m. on Thursday, 29th of November, 2018. This edition continues our traditional mix of articles and photos drawing on the wide history and heritage of the district. There is sure to be something to interest everyone! JOTS 15 includes articles on P.V. O’Brien, the driving force behind Tuam Theatre Guild’s success, a flavour of local life during the “Emergency”, the Ó hUiginn Bardic School at Kilclooney, Milltown, Eva O’Flaherty’s links to Kilcony-born Fenian Dr. Mark Ryan and Cumann na mBan, and the continuation of a fascinating study of the diverse history of Shop Street. We look forward to seeing you at our launch!

Time: 8 p.m.
Date: 29 November, 2018
Venue: Corralea Court Hotel,
The Square, Tuam

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Conference Brochure "Pioneering Women in Irish History"

This brochure is also available as a pdf here
Should you wish to pay the conference fee by PayPal, please email a request to and we will forward you a Paypal invoice to facilitate payment

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Conference: Pioneering Women in Irish History – Corralea Court Hotel, Tuam Saturday 3rd November

In 1918 Irish women were given the right to vote; but not every woman, only women over 30, who had property rights or a university education. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of women been given the opportunity to vote The Old Tuam Society and Galway County Council have joined forces to present a conference on Pioneering Women in Irish History.

This very important conference will be held in the Corralea Court Hotel, The Square, Tuam, Co. Galway on Saturday 3rd November, 2018 and will commence with registration at 9.30am and finish at 4.30pm.

Over the course of the day there will be 6 very informative and varied lectures. Mary Clancy, will provide an insight into Local Politics and Women's Suffrage: Women in Rural Galway. This lecture will examine women’s suffrage campaigning in rural Galway in the context of the existing public visibility of women, especially in poor law and local politics. It will consider how life-stories of forgotten pioneering women throw light on forms of political power associated with the daily lives of women, children and the destitute. It will also consider the place of well-known local public figures, such as Edith Drury (Eibhlín Ní Choisdealbha), Alice Perry and Ada English. Finally, the talk will discuss how the women’s suffrage campaign was able to operate in rural areas through the work of visiting speakers.

Geraldine Curtin will then speak about, Dealers, dressmakers and secret agents: Women prisoners in Galway, 1917-1921Geraldine will present the story of Winifred O’Brien, a young English woman, incarcerated in Galway Gaol as a political prisoner in 1920. Winifred’s occupation is recorded in the gaol register as ‘Journalist and secret service agent’. She was one of a number of women who were in the gaol between 1917 and 1921. Geraldine will look at both political and non-political women prisoners in Galway in this period, their crimes and punishments, and their treatment while in gaol.

The title of Mary J. Murphy’s lecture is “I am a Galway woman!” Maureen (née McHugh) O’Carroll T.D. Mary J will examine Maureen’s roots in the north Galway parish of Caherlistrane where her father was born in 1873. It will explore how her devotion to him - and to his home place - was vitally influential in her own evolution as a politician. Maureen’s ‘public’ life has been well documented but little is known about her Galway story, or her Gaelic League activist journalist father and 1916 combatant, Michael McHugh, who died when she was eleven. He worked in the Tuam Herald before leaving for Dublin in 1900, where Maureen was born in 1913, one of four surviving children. This talk will attempt to set her relentless drive, which brought her to the seat of power in Dáil Éireann in 1954, in context with regard to the profound influence her Galway born father had on her.

Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington will talk about her grandmother, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington who was a feminist, socialist, nationalist and pacifist. On marriage, Hanna Sheehy and Francis Skeffington each took each other’s name and both were very active in the early 20th century campaigning for women’s suffrage. Hanna co-founded the Irish Women’s Franchise League and was jailed twice for suffrage actions and went on hunger strike there. After Francis was murdered by a British army officer during Easter Week 1916, Hanna embarked on an 18-month tour of the US to tell the truth about British brutality in Ireland and campaign for Irish independence. She was the only Irish activist to meet with President Wilson.

Meanwhile, Alison Titley will speak about Irish Women Artists in Tuam. The women who exhibited in the Tuam Art Club Exhibitions 1943-1959 included local amateur artists, members of the Galway Art Club and well known Irish artists with both national and international reputations. Many of them were pioneers and were well-known for their struggle to gain recognition and inclusion in modern art in Ireland.

The final lecture of the day will be by Dr. John Cunningham who has an intriguing title for his lecture: “Don't iron while the strike is hot!” exiled Irishwomen and the fight for workers' rights. John will talk about the high levels of emigration from Ireland in the Famine and post-Famine periods meant that many pioneering Irishwomen made their contribution outside their native country. His paper will focus on three such women who played dynamic roles in early labour unions. Roscommon-born Kate Mullany (c.1838-1906) sailed to America with her family in 1850, finding employment in the collar-making industry in Troy, New York. There, in 1864, she established the Collar Laundry Union, considered to be the first women’s trade union in the United States. Another Famine emigrant to North America was Cork-born Mary Harris (1837-1930), known as Mother Jones, who is remembered as an organiser for the United Mineworkers Union, and as a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Also associated with the IWW was Wexford-born Mary Fitzgerald, née Sinnott (1882-1960), publisher of labour newspapers, feminist and militant trade unionist, and the first woman to be elected to public office in South Africa.

There will also be a display by the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna on the lives of women of the workhouse.

This conference is part funded by Galway County Council, Galway Decade of Commemoration 2013-2013 and Creative Ireland under Galway County Council Cultural and Creativity Strategy. The conference fee of €10 includes tea and coffee and a two course lunch.

A pdf of the conference information brochure is available here

Or for further information please contact one of the following:
Heritage Officer,
Galway County Council
Phone 091 509198/087 9088387

Forward Planning,
Galway County Council.
Phone 091 509121

ANNE TIERNEY, Old Tuam Society,
4 Bishop Street, Tuam, Co. Galway.
Phone 086-3431266