SIR – I am glad that Mr Cooper (Letters, May 26th) is pleased that West Cork is to have its first history festival (July 28th to 30th near Skibbereen http://www.westcorkhistoryfestival.org). Indeed, we on the organising committee hope he might come down from Dublin to join us. It is disappointing, that he has chosen to pre-judge the event based on his opinion of some of the contributors.
Our aim is to complement the already rich cultural programme of the area.
The Festival will cover a range of subjects and periods, from the Knights Templar in Ireland, to piracy off the west coast, to Irish involvement in the First World War. We are honoured that so eminent a scholar as Professor Roy Foster has agreed to give the opening talk.
One of the Festival’s subjects, to which Mr Cooper refers, is the Revolutionary period in Cork and elsewhere in the country. Our contributors will approach this from several different perspectives and we anticipate that there will be a lively discussion. We do not imagine this will be the last word on the subject, nor on the wider themes of the approaching centenaries of the 1919 to 1923 years, on which Professor Eunan O’Halpin will speak.
We do intend, though, to make a contribution to a broader conversation. As mentioned, this is far from the only topic of the Festival. Another highlight will be a screening of Rebel Rossa, the biopic of the Fenian leader, featuring the late Shane Kenna of UCC.
Our ambition is that this will be the first in a series of annual events.
All are welcome to participate, including Mr Cooper, his judgement of its merits, historical or hysterical as he chooses, would be better informed by attending the event.
Is mise, le meas,
Chair of the West Cork