New history association to represent local groups

April 6th, 2024 12:30 PM

Members of the newly-founded association with chairperson William Casey, second from right, at the inaugural meeting in Dunmanway.

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A NEW history association has been founded in West Cork, which is effectively an umbrella group for existing groups.

It will be chaired by Skibbereen historian William Casey, with four more on the committee, including Macroom man Con Kelleher as secretary.

Twelve societies were represented at the inaugural meeting and three others sent apologies. 

The West Cork History Societies Association, founded in Dunmanway last month, aims to promote, collectively, the research, recording and publication of  West Cork’s history.

West Cork is steeped in landmark history events, like the Battle of Kinsale (1601), the French expedition in 1798, and the dark Famine years (1845-52).

West Cork was also at the epicentre of the War of Independence and the Civil War.

The area produced leaders including Michael Collins, Tom Barry, Liam Deasy, the Hales brothers, Charlie Hurley, Dick Barrett and many more.

Their actions changed Ireland’s history. West Cork was ravaged by poverty and emigration through the 19th and 20th century and Philip O’Regan’s recent book on Drinagh Co-Operative chronicles how West Cork fought back, survived and prospered.

Many historical groups are active within the district and include societies in Skibbereen, Castlehaven, Dunmanway, Coppeen, Clonakilty, Beara, Kinsale (2), Bandon, Rosscarbery, Kilbrittain, Kilmeen-Castleventry, Ballincollig and Macroom and were represented at the meeting.

Other places have flourishing groups and hopefully they will soon join the Association.

The purpose of the group is to preserve and record the history of West Cork and to make it available to everyone. It hopes to address that task on a regional basis.

Like-minded members can meet, discuss and exchange ideas and bring back suggestions to their own groups.

Societies will still be entirely independent. As well as exchanging knowledge and experiences, collectively, it hopes West Cork will benefit from the many grants and schemes to create  seminars, walks and West Cork historical research.

Membership for each society is €30.

Contact Con Kelleher, secretary of WCHSA, at [email protected].

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