BY BRIAN MOORE
WEST Cork’s first history festival is set to attract some of the country’s foremost experts to Skibbereen next month.
‘West Cork has a compelling history of its own. It also has a population of informed and outward-looking people interested both in local and global affairs,’ said festival organiser Simon Kingston.
‘This makes for a potentially very engaged audience for the kind of event
we want to hold.’
The inaugural festival will see such subjects as the Knights Templar to the events of the Irish revolutionary period in West Cork, as well as archaeology, political, literary, and military history up for discussion and debate.
‘The origins of the festival lie in a fascination with history that was born over the years in Cork,’ added Simon.
‘My parents are both from West Cork and, although I grew up in various other parts of the country, we have always come back to Cork. As a child, I came back to Cunnamore, where my maternal grandmother’s family has lived since the 1700s.
‘A few years ago, my wife and I bought a house just outside Skibbereen and it has been wonderful to bring my own children back here. That has given us a base in the area and the opportunity to make a contribution to what is already a very rich programme of cultural events.’
The History Festival will not be exclusively concerned with the incredible history of West Cork, as Simon explained: ‘There will be contributions that range from the history of the Knights Templar to the Second World War. We will be discussing the piracy off the coast of Cork and the Fenian Rising 1847.
We will be considering the tower houses of West Cork and how they relate to those in other parts of Europe and we will be learning about the Great Earl of Cork and the doings of his children.’
The Festival will take place at Rosebank, next to Liss Ard estate, from Friday, July 28th, to Sunday 30th. ‘Our hope is that the Festival can become an integral and exciting part of the cultural programme of West Cork. ‘Our aim is to complement this and other existing activities in the area,’ Simon continued.
Tickets are available for specific sessions (typically two or three speakers, on related topics); for a day; or for the whole weekend.
For more information, see westcorkhistoryfestival.org