The ICC are delighted to announce details of our Annual Lecture Series. The series will run from Wednesday 10 May - Wednesday 7 June 2017.
Over the past 5 years the Irish Cultural Centre has organised an annual lecture series commemorating key events and developments in Ireland's momentous history a century ago. This year we are remembering 1917. Sandwiched as it was between the 1916 Easter Rising and the Sinn Fein landslide general election victory at the end of the war in 1918, this seemingly uneventful year sees the start of a process of radical political change which would have a significant influence on the course of Irish history over the next hundred years.
Wednesday 10 May
The words of a song popular in Ireland during the First World War proved to be prescient in the years following the Easter Rising of 1916. This lecture will examine how and why Sinn Fein, a small and sparsely supported party before 1916, succeeded in supplanting the Irish Parliamentary Party and, within a few years, became the dominant force in Irish nationalism, culminating in its historic victory in the 1918 general election.
JIM O'HARA is from Belfast and studied at Queen's University and London University. He has lectured in history at a number of universities and was formerly Director of the Irish Studies Centre at St Mary's University , Strawberry Hill, establishing the Centre there in 1990. He has been Chairman of the Irish Cultural Centre since 2007 and was Chairman of the Irish Youth Foundation; Vice-Chairman of the British Association for Irish Studies and a member of the Irish government's Emigrant Support Programme.
Wednesday 17 May
This lecture examines the complex contribution which many Irish women made in the struggle for rights and independence in Ireland in the early twentieth century concentrating on the struggle from 1916 but explaining the context of that struggle from 1900 on. It will explain how women contributed substantially to the Irish nationalist movement as well as why the ambitions of those seeking a fulfilment of the 1916 promise of equality would be ultimately thwarted.
JOHN BYRNE completed his first degree in Modern Languages including stints at the Universities of Pisa and Nancy. He then completed a PGCE followed by an MA in History and Politics at the University of Reading. He taught mainly History and Politics for over 37 years in several high schools in Ealing prior to his retirement in 2015. He also studied Irish history and language at St Mary's University.
Wednesday 24 May
America's entry into the First World War in 1917 divided the Irish community there. While thousands of Irish-Americans enlisted, others remained openly sympathetic to the campaign against British rule that had been launched in Easter 1916. This lecture explains how the Irish- American community processed and understood the pro- allied war in relation to the Irish independence struggle.
CIARA MEEHAN was awarded her doctorate from University College, Dublin. She is currently Head of History and Principal Lecturer in History at the University of Hertfordshire. She is the author of " The Cosgrave Party: A History of Cumann na nGaedheal, 1923-1933" and "A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-1987". She is co-editor of "A Formative Decade: Ireland in the 1920s" and "Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century".
Wednesday 31 May
Rattled by the Easter Rising and the subsequent growth of Sinn Fein, The British government and the new Prime Minister, Lloyd George, redoubled efforts to resolve the Irish impasse. For nine months from June 1917 representatives from Ireland's political parties (although crucially not Sinn Fein) together with civic and religious leaders deliberated. They came tantalisingly close to a political solution which however unwieldy was apparently acceptable until it was destroyed by the threat of conscription in 1918. This lecture is the story of that Irish Convention of 1917 which was the final desperate attempt to resolve differences separating Northern (and Southern) unionists from their nationalist fellow citizens before Ireland became overwhelmed by violence and partition.
IVAN GIBBONS studied at Queen's University, Belfast and Birkbeck College, University of London where he gained his doctorate. He is former Programme Director of Irish Studies at St Mary's University, is a Director of the Irish Cultural Centre and is the organiser of the Centre's annual lecture series.
Wednesday 7 June
This lecture on the battle in which John Redmond's brother, Major Willie Redmond MP, lost his life takes place one hundred years to the day on which the battle took place. Messines is on a par with the Somme as regards its significance in Irish history and folklore. The story of the 16th Irish and 36th Ulster Divisions fighting "side by side" is, as Willie Redmond hoped it would be, a metaphor for the possibility of post-war reconciliation in Ireland. It also provides a powerful underpinning in 21st century Ireland to cross-community reconciliation around the First World War. However, the story is not as simple as it seems and Richard Grayson explains why.
RICHARD GRAYSON makes a welcome return to the Irish Cultural Centre following his lectures on the significance of the Battle of the Somme last year.
All lectures commence at 7pm and tickets are £5