2017 AGM Speakers

Family histories and the study of the global Irish diaspora: a start of a new conversation  http://www.ucd.ie/globalirishdiaspora/


Tadhg O’Keeffe is Professor of Archaeology in University College Dublin. He is a specialist in medieval European architectural history, but he also maintains a wide range of other research interests, including diaspora/migration studies, a field in which he has conducted research in North America. His published work includes nine books (two co-authored) and more than 120 articles in journals and books.

A Gallowglass Clan : The Mc Cabes in Ireland

This presentation will cover the early history of the Mac Cabes in Ireland and will give an outline of how an outside group - albeit probably from a similar Gaelic-speaking background – managed to carve out a role for themselves (largely through military prowess), and to integrate, relatively quickly, into medieval Irish society along the Ulster border territories. Adapting to circumstances, they extended their power and influence by providing services to the ruling clans in this area, and so successful were they at doing so, that ultimately, they became recognised as a 'Clan' in their own right, warranting references in the historic annals on a par with those of the older ruling regional dynasties.


Brian Mc Cabe is a retired civil servant with an interest in history and archaeology. He is a founder member and Honorary Secretary of Clann Chaba, the Clan Mc Cabe Society, and editor of their newsletter, ‘The Gallowglass’. He is a former Director of Clans of Ireland.

He is also a Council member of the Kildare Archaeological Society and a regular contributor to their annual journal, and those of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, the Meath Archaeological & Historical Society, the Dublin Historical Record and Cumann Seanchais Breifne. He has also contributed articles to both ‘History Ireland’ and ‘Archaeology Ireland’, and to many other publications.

The Clans of Ireland in 1641 and After

This lecture will focus on the eventful decades of the mid-seventeenth century in Ireland. It will consider issues such as the role of clans in the wars of the 1640s and their experiences of Cromwellian rule. Although the ‘Gaelic order’ had collapsed by 1607, the surviving evidence relating to the 1641 rebellion and its aftermath allows us to explore the extent to which the wider kin group remained a fundamental organising principle in Irish society. How important was the ‘clan’ when it came to matters such as mobilising and leading military forces, or managing local government in a time of war? How much can we discover about the part played by men recognised as ‘chief of the name’, and what significance was attached to such a title by the mid-seventeenth century? Another factor worth considering is how understanding of, and stereotypes relating to, Gaelic society shaped external perceptions of what was happening in Ireland in the 1640s. For example, how were clans and septs portrayed in the voluminous pamphlet literature published in London at this time? An examination of these and other relevant issues can help us better to understand the succinct verdict offer by one bardic poet: ‘Ag so an cogadh do chríochnaigh Éire’ [this was the war that finished Ireland].


Dr John Cunningham is Lecturer in Early Modern Irish and British History at Queen’s University Belfast. Following the completion of his Ph.D. at NUI Galway in 2009, he held research posts at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Freiburg and the University of Exeter. The main focus of his research is seventeenth-century Ireland, with a particular emphasis on the years between 1641 and 1660. Dr Cunningham’s publications include the monograph Conquest and land in Ireland: the transplantation to Connacht, 1649-1680 and, most recently, an article in Irish Historical Studies entitled ‘Anatomising Irish rebellion: the Cromwellian delinquency commissions, the books of the discrimination and the 1641 depositions’.