Eminent historian to throw light on Londonderry in revolutionary times
EMINENT historian of the 1790s in Ireland, Professor Kevin Whelan, will on Tuesday (October 23) deliver the Autumn Hill of Derry lecture in St Columb’s Cathedral with the theme ‘Derry in Revolutionary Times.’
Prof Whelan, a bicentennial research fellow at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), acted as historical advisor to the Irish government on the Famine and the 1798 Rebellion.
He has lectured in over a dozen countries, and at the Sorbonne, Cambridge, Oxford, Torino, Berkeley, Yale, Dartmouth and Louvain and has co-directed the annual Irish Seminar, the faculty of which has included such giants as Edward Said, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, John MacGahern, Fred Jameson and Benedict Anderson.
But it’s his work on the 1790s in Ireland that culminated in the 1798 rebellion and the Act of Union that is essential reading for students of that period.
Books such as The Tree of Liberty. Radicalism, Catholicism and the Construction of Irish Identity 1760-1830 (1996), Fellowship of Freedom: The United Irishmen and the 1798 Rebellion (1998) and articles An underground gentry?’, ‘The Republic in the Village’, ‘The Memories of “The Dead”’ and ‘The Green Atlantic’ are key works in the 1790s canon.
In his lecture, Prof Whelan will situate Londonderry in the wider context of events at the end of the 18th century, occurring in the rest of Ulster, in America and in France:
“The period from 1776 to 1800 was a transformative period in Ireland’s history, when the island was being buffeted by revolution in America and then France. The political culture of Derry was impacted profoundly by these events.
“My illustrated lecture will explore how Derry fits in the wider context of four revolutions: the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1690, the American Revolution of 1776, the French Revolution of 1789 and the failed Irish Revolution of 1798. I emphasise that there has been an excessive focus on Belfast in this period, to the detriment of Derry’s pivotal role.
“The lecture will also look at the complicated interplay between the three religious traditions - Anglicans, Dissenters and Catholics - which dominated Derry in this period and gave it its distinctive character.”
The lecture is being organised by Holywell Trust as part of its City Walls Heritage Project and follows on from a very successful Spring Hill of Derry History Lecture, “Derry before Londonderry”, delivered by Dr Brian Lacey. Mark Lusby, Project Co-ordinator explains why the late 1700s had been chosen for next week’s lecture:
“Part of the original ambition for the City of Culture Year was that by fully understanding and embracing our history, Derry, as a City, would be free to write a new narrative for itself , enriched, rather than fettered, by its past.
“The latter half of the 1700s was a particularly interesting period in Derry’s history. It was a time when community identities and loyalties were often reversed and a time when the City was also trying to reinvent itself. On the eve of the City of Culture Year, it will be interesting to explore what lessons we can learn from that period.”
The Autumn Hill of Derry History Lecture will take place in St Columb’s Cathedral Londonderry on Tuesday, October 23 at 7.30pm. Afterwards the audience will proceed to the former Bishop’s Palace, now the Freemasons’ Hall, for a Georgian Soirée of period music, dancing and food.
Tickets £5 (£3 concessions) are available in advance from The Playhouse Box Office on 028 7126 8027. Proceeds from the event will be used to conserve the Annesley Malley Book Collection.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Londonderry
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west