Free history lecture series.

Following the success of the Easter Rising lecture series the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society have programmed six more lectures which will run until May 2017.

Tyneside Irish Centre History Lecture Series

The Revolutionary Generation


Dr Stephen Reagan (Durham University)
24 November 2016 7.30pm
W.B. Yeats: ‘Poetry, Politics, and Easter 1916’
In 1896, W.B. Yeats wrote to a French translator of his work: ‘I want you to understand that I am an Irish poet, looking to my own people for the ultimate best audience & trying to express the things that interest them & which will make them care for the land in which they live’. He was, by his own reckoning, a nationalist writer, frequently quoting a famous saying of his Republican mentor, John O’Leary: ‘There is no great literature without nationality, no great nationality without literature’.  Even so, the nature and extent of Yeats’s nationalist politics continue to be a matter of intense debate. This talk will consider some of the problematic distinctions between cultural nationalism and revolutionary nationalism in studying Yeats’s poetry and plays. It will claim that Yeats’s politics were mutable and ambivalent, but it will also argue that, artistically, his work gains stature from its own relentless self-questioning. The talk will open with one of Yeats’s very early poems, ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, and it will close with what is perhaps his best known work: ‘Easter 1916’.

Ronan McGreevy (Journalist from the Irish Times)
8th December  8pm
Ireland and the First World War
Ronan is the author of “Wherever the Firing Line Extends : Ireland and the Western front” ( 2016)
He is also commissioned to write the official account of the 2016 commemorations. His book on the Western front has a chapter on the Tyneside Irish and deals with the impact the war had on Ireland and the Irish abroad.
Specifically he describes how so many Irish soldiers were hidden from history until recently.

Dr James McConnel (Northumbria University)
19 January 2017       7.30pm
Eoin MacNeill and the case against the 1916 Easter Rising
In his capacity as chief of staff, Eoin MacNeill (in)famously issued the countermanding order to the Irish Volunteers cancelling its mobilisation in advance of the 1916 Easter Rising. This talk examines MacNeill’s role in the events of 1916 and examines his actions in light of a memorandum he wrote in spring 1916, in which he set out in the clearest of language his case against an insurrection being launched if it could not be justified on military grounds.

Dr Roisín Higgins (Teesside University)
15 February 2017  7.30pm
Patrick Pearse: Reality and Myth 
Patrick Pearse became the iconic figure of the Easter Rising. As its symbol he has been used and abused by Irish politicians; revered and reviled by the public, and often dismissed by historians. This talk will look at the man behind the myth. It will explore the life and writings of Pearse, his childhood, his activism and the events which led to his execution. It will also look at the myth created by the man, and the ways Pearse went about constructing a historical image. Pearse is one of the most complex figures in Irish history. This talk will ask if it can still be said that he is also one of the most important.

Katie Liddane (Univ. of Northumbria)
8th March 7.30pm
The Women of Ireland – International Women’s Day Lecture
Ireland’s women’s history exists in the shadow of the stories of the great Irishmen that we’ve all heard time and time again. However, the decade of centenaries and the ongoing struggle for gender equality has encouraged academia and pop culture alike to shed light on these women’s stories of hope, resilience and power. A history of Ireland’s women is a story of people who had to fight to to get even first, before they achieved their place in history; but who then fought to survive, fought for what they believed in and fought to improve the lives of others. This International Women’s Day, we look back onto Ireland’s great history of women. From politicians and activists to queens and pirates we will reveal the solidarity, strength and success that the women of Ireland have shared throughout history. This lecture is especially pertinent as today’s young Irish women reach back into the past as inspiration to improve our present.

Dr Sarah Campbell (Newcastle University)
23 March 2017 7.30pm
‘They may kill the revolutionary but never the revolution’: The memory and afterlives of the revolutionary generation in Northern Ireland.
The leaders of the revolutionary generation present many faces to posterity, and have been claimed by many – and often conflicting – political traditions. In Northern Ireland, where memory and myth play key roles in creating identities and legitimizing conflict, figures from the revolutionary generation were resurrected during the ‘troubles’ to bolster foundational narratives and took on new meanings for those coming of age in the 1960s. This lecture will focus on how Connolly and Carson were used by both communities in Northern Ireland and how both their legacies continued to resonate long after the revolutionary decade.

Dr Claire Nally (Northumbria University)
4 May 2017 7.30pm
The Women of Revolution
When we think of the 1916 Rising, we might initially think of Yeats’s ‘sixteen dead men’, who are rightly valorised in the nationalist canon of heroes. We might even think of Maud Gonne, iconic revolutionary, or Constance Markievicz, the only one of the rebel leaders who escaped execution. Less visible, however, are the three hundred women who also participated in the Rising – including Elizabeth O’Farrell, Julia Grenan, and Winifred Carmel, as well as countless other women, such as Margaret Naylor, who were caught up in the fighting. This lecture will address how women played a key part in the founding of the Irish State.