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21 September 2022

Dear KDHS members and friends

Instead of the regular last-Tuesday-of-the-month lecture, our winter season will kick off this year with a "KDHS at 10 years" event, which will be held at the Teach Ceoil in Kilrush from 3pm to 6pm on Sunday 9 October to celebrate the achievements of Kilrush and District Historical Society since its foundation in 2012.  (Please note the change of date.)  There will be an exhibition of photographs and other items and a series of presentations by committee members to remind those attending of the various events with which the society has been associated.  There will also be a box for those who would like to submit ideas and suggestions for the next 10 years.  Refreshments will be served.

Those who have not been involved in KDHS from the beginning might like to be reminded of its origins.  The society evolved from the Kilrush Local History Group, founded at Kilrush Community School in 2009 by teacher Laura Hogan and some of her students, and its associated Facebook page, established on 28 November 2009.  An informal get-together in the Haven Arms on 29 December 2011 was organised via Facebook, and one of the ideas proposed that evening was the formation of a historical society.  The Christmas get-togethers remained an annual tradition until interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans for the new Society continued to be discussed during tidy-ups of the then overgrown Kilrush Churchyard in early 2012.  The Kilrush and District Historical Society was formally launched at a fund-raising concert in the Teach Ceoil on Friday 18 May 2012, with music and dance by Inis Cathaigh Kilrush Comhaltas Ceoilteoirí Éireann and friends, and funds raised going to the Churchyard project.  22 members joined the new society on the night.  Anne Hayes and Vincent O'Halloran both gave of their time to help coordinate the evening.

The first permanent committee of the society was elected after the first monthly event, held on 5 June 2012.  The highlight of the first decade was probably the 2013 National Famine Commemoration, a week-long programme of events which culminated with the visit of President Michael D. Higgins to Kilrush on 12 May 2013.  The society continues to organise monthly lectures in the winter months and outings during the summer months.

The annual Down Memory Lane Calendars were published by Kilrush Local History Group until 2012 and by KDHS from 2013 to date.  2021 saw the publication of the society's first book, Kilrush: Memories of an Irish Market Town, 1879-1979.

Various plaques have been erected at historic sites around Kilrush and West Clare, and the society has mounted a number of exhibitions, for example to mark the 90th anniversary of Patrick Bourke Menswear in 2018 and to remember the ceramics factory.  Restoration and preservation projects, apart from Kilrush Churchyard, have included the nearby Turret Lodge and more recently the Maid of Erin statue - retaining the damage inflicted on the statue and railings during the War of Independence as a reminder of those times.

The society supported the local committees set up to mark the centenaries of the 1916 Easter Rising and War Of Independence, and also organised a weekend of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Fenian Uprising in Kilbaha.  Perhaps the society's biggest contribution to the Decade of Centenaries was the rescue of the Barrett archive, which is now being digitised and catalogued by Clare County Archives.

Like many similar organisations, the society learned how to use Zoom during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which also delayed the unveiling of the WWI memorial in the grounds of Kilrush Community Centre, finally rescheduled for this coming November.

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If you need your monthly fix of local history before joining us on 9 October, there are a few other events in West Clare in the interim which may be of interest:

On Sunday 25 September at 1pm, a monument will be unveiled outside Cultúrlann Sweeney in Kilkee, dedicated to the men and women of Kilkee, Kilfearagh and Lisdeen Companies of the 5th Battalion West Clare Brigade and of Cumann na mBan who were involved in the War of Independence from 1919 to 1921.  A keynote address will be given by Eoin Shanahan, historian, on The War of Independence in Clare.

There are several online and in-person lectures scheduled by Clare County Library throughout the county for its history week from 3 October to 7 October, which is part of the Decade of Centenaries.  In particular, on Tuesday 4 October at 6.30pm there will be a lecture, again by Eoin Shanahan, in Kilrush Library entitled "Saving Hay and Saving Ireland: More Stories from the War of Independence in West Clare".  The Full Programme of events can be found at
https://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/library/HistoryWeekProgramme22.pdf

Kilkee Historical Society starts its winter season with a meeting on Thursday 6 October at 8pm in Cultúrlann Sweeney.

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Our own regular Tuesday evening lecture series will resume on 25 October at 8:00pm with a speaker from the Electricty Supply Board on "How the ESB brought electricity to West Clare" (preceded by our AGM).

Then on Sunday 13 November (time TBC) we will host the afore-mentioned launch of the First World War Memorial by Dr Joe Power.

We already have a full programme of lectures lined up for the remainder of 2022 and all of 2023.

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Finally, we would like to remind members who have not yet renewed that the annual membership fee for the year from July 2022 to June 2023 is being held at EUR20 for another year and is now due.  The membership form can be downloaded from our website at
http://kdhs.ie/assets/files/general/membership_form.pdf

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Paddy Waldron
PRO, KDHS.
Copyright © 2022 Kilrush and District Historical Society, All rights reserved.


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