Co-founder Victoria Kingston says the event next weekend has something for everyone
Tell us about the line-up?
Our two themes this year are both closely related to West Cork history – firstly we are marking 175 years since Black ’47, the worst year of the Famine and secondly, we are looking at the Bandon Valley killings here in West Cork in 1922. But we also have a festival concert inspired by Skibbereen’s Agnes Clerke, pioneering astronomer and scientist. This year we’re having a hybrid festival – we’re very excited to have some in person tickets available again but we’ll also provide a really high quality live stream for those who would prefer to watch at home.
Is it just for history buffs, or is there something for everyone?
The festival has always been for everyone who is interested in history, buffs or not. Since the first festival in 2017, we have brought together all kinds of people who research, write and think about history with an audience of informed and interested individuals. And we encourage discussion (sometimes heated!) between them. It’s definitely a festival and not an academic conference.
What are you most looking forward to yourself?
All of it – individual speakers, panel discussions, the Q&As with our audience both in person and online. Two particular highlights will be, tying in in with our Black ’47 theme, we will have a contribution from Bob Geldof who has recorded a special feature for broadcast at the festival; and our festival concert. We have collaborated with West Cork musician and composer Jessie Kennedy at all our festivals. This year Jessie and fellow musicians the Celestial Quartet will perform a concert of specially-composed music ‘Thus she shall go to the stars’. They have taken inspiration from the life and work of Skibbereen’s very own Agnes Clerke, a pioneering astronomer and scientist born in the town 180 years ago.
• The festival runs from August 5th to 7th. See westcorkhistoryfestival.org