Sunday, 8 April 2018

April Event and Talk 2018


The Old Tuam Society’s April Event, 2018 will be held at 8 pm, Thursday, 26 April in Tuam Library. The event will involve the handing over of a bound dissertation by the late John Mannion, for a B.A. degree in Heritage Studies he undertook at GMIT. "That's All For Now, Your Next Dance Please” - The Irish Showband Phenomenon, c.1957-c.1982.

Jimmy Higgins, musician and well-known broadcaster on Galway Bay FM and author of the book "Are Ye the Band?" will speak at the event.

Hope to see a good crowd in attendance. All welcome.



Friday, 9 March 2018

March 2018 Lecture - Workhouses and Hospitals: Institutions and Care, 1840-1940

The workhouse is an infamous institution in Ireland. Hated, feared and reviled for the role it played during the Irish Famine, these buildings became potent symbols of the failure of British rule in Ireland. The ‘odious and degrading’ poor law system was one of the first parts of the old government system that was reformed in the first years of the new state. This talk will explore the evolution of the workhouse and the popular attitudes to it, which showed a desire for reform rather than replacement and why these reforms led to the foundation of other institutions.

Our guest lecturer is Dr Aoife Bhreatnach, an independent scholar researching the cultural history of Irish garrison towns. A graduate of University College Cork, with a PhD from DeMontfort University and subsequent book, Becoming Conspicuous: Irish Travellers, Society and the State published in 2006 (UCD Press). From 2003-04, she held the Irish Government Senior Scholarship at Hertford College, Oxford and taught at the University of Warwick. A recipient of an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences Post-Doctoral Fellowship from 2004-06, she worked in NUI Maynooth developing a theory of class in nineteenth-century Ireland. From this research emerged her interest in the role played by the British military in Irish social history. She blogs on irishgarrisontowns.com and tweets as @GarrisonTowns.

Tuam Library
8 pm, Thursday 15 March
All Welcome

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

February 2018 Lecture: The Athenry - Tuam Railway - Its role in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries

Our 2018 lecture season commences Thursday 22nd February at 8 pm in Tuam Library.

Our guest lecturer is Frank Dawson who has a lifelong association with railways, coming from a strong traditional family background in the railways of Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo, dating back to their foundation.

A former Director of Services with Galway County Council and Roscommon County Manager, Frank has been associated with the campaign to revitalise the Limerick to Sligo railway ever since the first steps to terminate services along the route were taken by CIE in 1974.

The Athenry to Tuam Railway was opened in 1860 before any railways in Mayo or Sligo. It was constructed in 1859-60, employing 750 people, over an eighteen month period, to the highest standards of the day, by the renowned engineer William Dargan. Dargan was the contractor for Ireland’s first railway from Dublin to the then Kingstown, (Dún Laoghaire), and he also built the Dublin to Cork mainline.

The Athenry to Tuam railway line played a major part in the expansion of railways into the West, agricultural development, industrial development, sport and religious events as well as the creation of one of Ireland's most iconic films The Quiet Man.

We hope you will join us for what promising to be a fascinating lecture.


Tuam Library
Thursday, 22 Feb,
8 pm

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Launch of JOTS 14

The Old Tuam Society has great pleasure in announcing the launch event for the 14th edition of the Journal of The Old Tuam Society. JOTS 14 will be officially launched by historian Dr. Conor McNamara (NUI Galway) in the Kilcloghans Suite, Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam at 8.00 p.m. on Friday, 24 November, 2017. This year’s edition features influential Tuam band Blaze X on the cover as well as a feature article charting the band’s successes and how their New Wave sound influenced the music scene in Tuam. As usual JOTS is packed with a diverse mix of local articles and great photos which are sure interest everyone. This year we also have features on the architecture of St. Mary’s, prominent Fenian Mark Ryan, the tragic election of 1906 and travelling shops. We look forward to welcoming you at our launch!


Date: Friday 24 November
Time: 8 pm
VenueArd Rí House Hotel, 
Milltown Rd., Tuam

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

New podcasts section

In order to help preserve the wealth of knowledge that is exhibited at our lectures and to facilitate those who couldn't be with us, the Old Tuam Society is pleased to add a new dimension to our online presence with the addition of podcasts. For any future lectures or events we hold, we will try to record them for posterity via podcasts.


The podcasts are available to listen to via the web live or can be downloaded to listen on mobile phone or suitable devices whenever suits. You can also subscribe on iTunes. New podcasts will be listed via the new menu tab "Podcasts" above.

Our first podcast features our recent October Lecture "Both Sides of the Wire" by Willi Kiefel which is available here.

Friday, 6 October 2017

October Lecture 2017 - Both Sides of the Wire

Our lecture series continues Thursday 19 October, at Tuam Library, High St at 8 pm. The lecture is entitled “Both Sides of the Wire - World War I: The German-Tuam Connection”.

We are delighted to welcome longtime Tuam resident Willi Kiefel as our guest speaker. Willi is now retired after a long career with Pulse Engineering, CEL Electronics and then Valeo Automotive. Willi is an OTS member for over 30 years and was instrumental in the Tuam-Straubing twinning process, originally hailing from Steinach, close to Straubing in Bavaria. He also has a keen interest in the environment and sustainability as well as being a trustee of Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability.

In what promises to be a fascinating and well-illustrated lecture ‘Both Sides of the Wire’ will discuss the tragedy of the Somme, and other WWI battles, through an exploration of the lives of local Tuam combatants and of Willi’s own family, the careers of his granduncles and his grandfather, Alfons Bielmeier, who fought in the Bavarian Infantry Regiments. ‘Both Sides of the Wire’ is a thoroughly researched study of the lives of ordinary infantrymen on both sides of that apocalyptic conflict.

Thursday, 19 October, 8 pm
Tuam Library
All Welcome

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

September Lecture 2017 - Suffer Little Children: Life in the Workhouse

The Old Tuam Society is delighted welcome back historian Dr Gerard Moran for our first lecture of the 2017-18 season. Gerard's talk focuses on the lives of children during the Great Famine. Children made up to 40% of the inmate population of workhouses during the Great Famine. They were deserted, abandoned, orphaned, illegitimate or entered with their families because they had no where to go.  Why was the mortality level so high among children who became inmates and how were they treated? This lecture examines the conditions which children endured in places like Tuam Workhouse during the Great Famine.

Dr. Gerard Moran lectured at NUI Galway and at NUI Maynooth, where he was director of the MA in Irish History. He has published extensively on 19th-century Ireland and among his publications are Sending Out Ireland’s Poor: Assisted Emigration to North America in the Nineteenth Century; Land, Famine, Emigration and Politics and The Mayo Evictions of 1860. He is also joint editor of Galway: History and Society (1996) and Mayo: History and Society (2014).


Tuam Library, High St.
21 Sept @ 8 pm
All Welcome