We're pleased to announce our programme. Buy tickets here online, from the booking office on 089 436 9868, or from the The Book MARKet Café in Kells (tel 085 889 6352) or Antonia's Bookstore in Trim (tel 046 943 7532). You can view a copy of the printed programme here.
The RTE Radio 1 History Show and Hinterland/Kells will collaborate again this year (having teamed up for Gallipoli100 in 2015) in the first History Show Festival. A dozen leading historians will participate as the festival commemorates the centenary of 1918 and the fiftieth anniversary of 1968.
In our ‘Remembering 1918’ strand Sergeant Paul Maher will examine changing roles of the RIC and the DMP at the end of the Great War. Dr. Emma Lyons of UCD will discuss the role of women in that conflict. RTE presenter Dr. David McCullagh will highlight the increasingly important role of Eamon de Valera, subject of his recent biography, in Irish politics in 1918, while Dr. Ida Milne of TCD will assess the impact on Ireland of the appalling influenza pandemic of that year. Professor Pauric Travers emeritus professor at DCU will examine the course of the Conscription crisis in April 1918 and beyond, while Liz Gillis, History Show researcher will underline the role played by women in the fight against involuntary enlistment. Broadcaster, archivist and History Show contributor Catriona Crowe will assess the role that Irish suffragists played in the struggle for votes for women, and Professor Roy Foster will look at some of the most significant and influential members of the younger generation of Irish nationalist activists in 1918.
In ‘Remembering 1968’ Catriona Crowe will celebrate the ‘second wave’ feminists of the Women’s Liberation Movement. History Show presenter Dr. Myles Dungan will look at the pivotal 1968 U.S. Presidential election, fought on the hustings and the streets of America. Professor Glen Gendzel from San Jose State University will discuss some of the truisms and the myths of the Vietnam War. Berkeley, California historian Tony Bucher will cast his eye over the radical and subversive underground press in the Bay Area of the late 1960s. He will also mark the legalisation of cannabis in California by looking at the state’s relationship with ‘weed’ in the 1960s.
In addition to our themed events Trim-based historian Noel French will be talking about his new book on the history of our own precious hinterland, Discovering the Boyne Valley.
2018 is the centenary of the apocalyptic year that was 1918 – twelve months of international conflict, pandemic disease, a crucial election, and advances in women’s rights. It also marks the 50th anniversary of 1968. Remove the ‘Spanish flu’ and all of the above also applies to that momentous year. In tandem with the RTÉ Radio 1 History Show, Hinterland will devote two and a half days to assessing and reconsidering some of the key events of 1918 and 1968.
Entry to the following events:
10.30am – Paul Maher
The RIC and DMP in 1918
Paul Maher, as well as being a serving Garda, researches the history of An Garda Siochana, the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary. For many years now he has run the hugely successful Garda Historical Society and has lectured in many different forums (including Kells/Hay in 2016). For this year’s talk he will focus on the duties of the DMP, just before the Anglo-Irish War signalled the beginning of the end for the RIC and the DMP.
11.10am – Emma Lyons
Women and WW1
1918 marks the anniversary of many Irish historical events. These happened towards the end of the Great War, a period to which Irishwomen responded by mobilising quickly to ‘succour the brave men…fighting for our rights and liberties’. Voluntary action was widespread, with Ireland witnessing a civil mobilisation that crossed religious and social boundaries. Societies were established, giving provisions to soldiers on the Front Line. The central role of women in these societies will be the focus of Dr Emma Lyons.
11.50am – Ida Milne
The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918
The Great War is, rightly, viewed as one of the most egregious examples of wanton carnage in world history. But in terms of morbidity it paled in comparison to the infamous 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. It is reckoned, for example, that up to half of the 100,000 or so American military deaths of the war were caused by influenza. Millions of people worldwide died of this virulent strain of flu. Dr Ida Milne, Irish Research Council Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at Maynooth University and Queen's University Belfast, is this country’s acknowledged expert on the pandemic and on its effects on Ireland in 1918. Her monograph on the subject, Stacking the Coffins: Influenza, war and revolution in Ireland, 1918–19, will be published this year by Manchester University Press.
12.30pm – David McCullagh
Eamon de Valera in 1918
Broadcaster and writer Dr David McCullagh is best known as a presenter of Prime Time on RTÉ 1 TV, and as a former RTÉ Political Correspondent. David is also an accomplished historian whose first work A Makeshift Majority dealt with the travails of the country’s first inter-party government, in office from 1948 to 1951. David is also the biographer of the man who led that (and the subsequent) coalition administration, John A. Costello (The Reluctant Taoiseach, 2010). In 2017 he produced the first of a two-part biography of Eamon de Valera covering the years 1882–1932 (De Valera: Rise) and it is ‘The Long Fellow’ who will be the subject of his first Hinterland talk as part of our ‘Remembering 1918’ strand.
2.30pm – Liz Gillis
Lá na mBan – Irish rebel women and the Conscription Crisis
While the Labour movement, Sinn Fein, the Irish Parliamentary Party and the Roman Catholic Church all played a major role in ensuring that military conscription was not extended to Ireland in April 1918, the part played by Republican women cannot be underestimated. Liz Gillis is the author of Women of the Irish Revolution and has researched the role of feminist militants in the anti-conscription campaign.
3.10pm – Catriona Crowe
The Pen and the Hammer: The Irish Struggle for Female Suffrage
Making a welcome return to the festival (and with more leisure time on her hands since moving on from her position with the National Archives, where she was senior archivist and manager of the Irish Census Online Project), historian Catriona Crowe (Dublin 1911) is contributing to Hinterland on the double this year. To mark the centenary of the extension of the franchise to propertied women over the age of 30 – a rather grudging concession – she will discuss the history of suffragism in Ireland and Britain in the early 1900s.
3.40pm – Pauric Travers
The Conscription Crisis in Ireland
Prof. Pauric Travers was appointed first lay President of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra in 1999. An educationalist and a distinguished historian, he is a graduate of UCD where he completed his BA and his MA, and of the Australian National University where he completed his PhD. He is a former Academic Director of the Parnell Summer School, and his writing includes Settlements & Divisions: Ireland 1870–1922 (1988), The Irish Emigrant Experience in Australia (Poolbeg, 1991) and Irish Culture and Nationalism 1750–1950 (1992). Professor Travers will discuss the 1918 Conscription Crisis in Ireland when the British government sought, unsuccessfully, to introduce compulsory enlistment.
4.20pm – Roy Foster
The ‘Vivid Faces’ in 1918Shortly after Roy Foster retired as Carroll Professor of Irish History at Oxford University, the Chair created for him in 1991 was renamed in his honour, proof positive of the status of this most distinguished of academics. Biographer of Charles Stewart Parnell, Randolph Churchill and W.B. Yeats, author of one of the definitive one-volume histories of this country, Modern Ireland 1600–1972, Foster has been at the forefront of Irish academic research (and controversy) for more than 30 years. Channelling his recent work Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland (2014) his talk will examine some of the significant events and personalities of 1918 in Ireland.
The Boyne Valley is a place of history, myths and legends. This rich valley is home to a range of heritage sites and monuments; sites like Tara, Newgrange, Kells and the Battle of the Boyne site, which are well known nationally and internationally. With a landscape of passage tombs, sacred hills, monastic ruins, bloody battlefields and heritage towns it is no wonder that the Boyne Valley is considered to be the birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East. The legends, stories and history of these places have been brought together by celebrated local historian and guide Noel French in his new volume Discovering the Boyne Valley.
As part of our ‘Remembering 1968’ strand Dr Myles Dungan, author and presenter of The History Show on RTÉ Radio 1, looks back at one of the most dramatic and controversial presidential elections in American history. It encompassed the eclipse of a sitting president, the assassination of one of the leading candidates, riots at the Democratic selection convention in Chicago, a Southern racist uprising and a far tighter race than anyone had predicted.
It was two years before the publication of Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch. Gloria Steinem was working on her seminal 1969 article ‘After Black Power, Women’s Liberation’, so we were on the cusp of the second significant wave of militant feminism of the 20th century. In addition to her many scholarly, journalistic and broadcasting achievements Catriona Crowe is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy and Chair of the Irish Theatre Institute, as well as a member of numerous boards in the cultural sector.
Professor of American History at San Jose State University in California, Glen Gendzel is uniquely qualified to contribute to our commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the momentous events of 1968. In the USA, opposition to the continued American involvement in the Vietnam War was at its most intense that year. Dr Gendzel will explore lingering political and military myths that Americans still cherish about that war, including the Tet Offensive of 1968, and repercussions on the home front.
A regular visitor to Kells since 2016, Berkeley historian Tony Bucher will cast his eye over the radical, subversive underground press that thrived in the Bay Area in the 1960s and ‘70s. News sheets heralding street rebellions, obscene comics, and magazines espousing the ‘new journalism’ grew alongside and underpinned the student revolts and flourishing counterculture of the burgeoning hippie movement of San Francisco of the era.
With the recent legalisation of cannabis in the great State of California, the minds of grizzled veterans of the pot trade wander back to San Francisco in 1968 and the halcyon early days of the embrace of marijuana in hippie paradise. There can be no definitive account of this period, because, by definition, if you were there you can’t remember it. But Tony Bucher was young enough to escape the worst excesses, yet old enough to bridge the early days to the present. Fifty years later, legalization has brought about a new Gold Rush to capitalize on the business of ‘weed’, causing elements of the old counterculture to bud and flower in the mainstream.