At the launch our Sack of Balbriggan Commemorative Calendar the Committee of Balbriggan & District Historical Society had an opportunity to look back at another busy and successful year and forward to 2020.
Brian Howley took over as Chairperson from Anne Collins for what will be a very busy year for the Society as we plan for the important commemoration of the Sack of Balbriggan by the Black and Tans in 1920. The Commemorative Calendar features pictures kindly donated by Jim Glennon from his treasured family collection, including one of his grandfather standing outside his ruined pub, now the Milestone.
Some of the highlights of a busy year were the tours of Bremore Castle during the Balbriggan Summerfest and the Day trip to Cavan Museum in August. The Society has a long association with the restoration project at Bremore Castle and are delighted to see it restored and showcased in these hugely popular tours facilitated by Kevin Halpenny in Fingal County Council. The Castle was also host to the wonderful Christmas market this year. Our Day Trip was to the Cavan Museum in September. The museum is well worth visiting for the WWI trenches and the 1916 exhibition. There are many other attractions also in this beautiful building which is a former convent an a peace garden in the grounds.
Our talks programme commenced in March with a talk to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Seamus Ennis called “The Wonderful work of Seamus Ennis Folk Music Collector” by Sean Corcoran. Drogheda native Seán Corcoran is a performer, academic and radio and TV documentary maker and an internationally-recognised expert on Irish Folk Music and Song. In April Aidan J Herron spoke about “Ardgillan Castle Revealed” . Aidan, former principal of St. Teresa’s National School in Balbriggan, is the author of the recently published and hugely popular book Ardgillan Castle Revealed which was launched by Pat Kenny in Ardgillan last year and features beautiful photography by Eamon O’Daly. In August Dr. William Murphy, lecturer in modern Irish history at Dublin City University, presented “From Creating a Counter-State: Establishing and Building Dáil Éireann 1919”.
In August for Heritage week we helped organise the Heritage Network Pastimes and Past Times Heritage week event in Malahide. We value our involvement with the Fingal Heritage Network and events like this give us an opportunity to meet up and celebrate our Fingal heritage together. For our September talk our long standing member Rory McKenna presented a talk on the Foreshore Dispute 1874-76 which involved the sale of the Hamilton lands and their claim to the foreshore. In October we welcomed the students from Loreto Secondary School who shared their research into the Sack of Balbriggan. Then Eithne McDermott gave a fantastic talk on Clann na Poblachta and the Interparty Government. Eithne who has taught in NUIG spoke about the Interparty government and Clann na Poblachta who included Sean McBride and Dr Noel Browne,about the power of the Church and the poverty of the 1940’s.
Our activities in 2019 also inculded a Quiz, school visits and guided walks, mainly led by our long standing member Jim Walsh.
We look forward to a very busy year in 2020 as we plan to inform Balbriggan residents about the Sack of Balbriggan as we commemorate it in a meaningful and inclusive manor.