Renmore History Society

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Below is a list of the previous lectures which have been presented by the society. We are adding summaries of each talk as we go along, click on the title of the talk to be taken to the summary page. We hope to have all summaries completed before too long, so please bear with us. We are happy to deliver any of the talks below to other history societies, community groups, clubs, schools or associations. Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. All talks are by Brian MacGabhann unless otherwise indicated.

Patrick GilmorePatrick Sarsfield Gilmore was raised and educated in Ballygar, before studying music in Athlone. He emigrated to America in 1849, and later joined the Union side in the US Civil War, serving as a musician and stretcher bearer.  He went on to become one of the most famous band leaders in America. He was personally known to senior generals of both the Union and the Confederacy, performed at the inauguration ceremonies of no less than eight US presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, and penned what is perhaps the most famous marching song in the world; When Johnny Comes Marching Home. So famous was he in his day that he is often referred to as ‘America’s First Superstar’.

In this talk Jarlath McNamara, professional musician and avid Gilmore aficionado, will outline the story of this remarkable Irishman.
Thurs 06th March 2014

CosmosRecently the news was announced that the Voyager space probe has finally left the solar system and entered deep space, becoming the most distant manmade object ever. But barely 5,000 years ago our ancestors stared with fear and incomprehension at the bewildering display of lights that appeared nightly over their heads. Armed with nothing more than their wits our species has slowly and haltingly groped towards an understanding of the universe around us and our place in it, and it is amazing to think that by the time we finally did manage to leave this rock in 1961 we had already arrived at a broad understanding of how the universe operated.

This is the story of that quest, from the ancient Egyptians, who saw in the skies the workings of their gods, to the Greeks who sought for a naturalistic explanation of what was happening, through the middle ages when brilliant thinkers fought against the restrictions of their culture and of their own beliefs and assumptions to struggle towards and ever more accurate understanding. It is a story of heroes and cowards, humility and arrogance, imagination and tunnel vision. Along the way we will encounter a host of fascinating characters, some larger than life, some odd and reclusive, some downright potty, including such famous names as Copernicus, Newton, Galileo and Aristotle.

Brian MacGabhann
Thurs 10th Oct 2013

White House BurningOf all the major wars of the modern era the war between Britain and the United States which began in 1812 and lasted almost three years must be one of the least talked about and most forgotten. For obvious reasons neither the US nor Britain were anxious to revive its memory, yet it constituted a major conflict between the two nations, was fought on land and sea, ranged from the shores of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and involved the destruction of Washington DC by British forces. 
This talk will look at the background to and progress of this conflict, a war that played a huge part in forging Americans’ sense of their own identify, and gave them their naval tradition, their flag, and their National Anthem.

Brian MacGabhann
Thurs 23rd  Jan 2014

The Irish Volunteer Memorialplayed a key role in what was a crucial period in Irish history. Formed in 1913, they were centrally involved in the planning and organisation of resistance to British rule in Ireland, they formed the backbone of the armed forces that launched the 1916 Easter Rising, and were the ancestors of both the IRA and the modern Defence Forces. Their ranks included such famous names as Padraic Pearse, Roger Casement and Michael Collins.

Comdt. Kennedy is the Director of the Military Archives section of the Defences Forces, located in Cathal Brugha barracks in Dublin, and is currently overseeing the planning of a major exhibition on the history of the Volunteers. He has kindly agreed to give the society a talk on the subject, which will chart the formation, organisation and evolution of this important institution.

Thurs 21st  Nov 2013

Ronnie O’Gormann
Thurs 24th Nov 2011

George Bernard Shaw once described Lady Augusta Gregory as "the greatest living Irishwoman". She was born at Roxborough, near Loughrea, into a powerful Protestant ascendancy family. She married Sir William Gregory, and on his death, began her extraordinary personal journey where she became a nationalist in her political views, and the catalyst for the great Irish Literary Revival at the beginning of the last century.

With WB Yeats, and Edward Martyn she co-founded the Abbey Theatre, and managed its affairs for most of her adult life. She wrote numerous plays and short stories, several volumes of folk lore, and translated from the Irish the ancient legends of Ireland.

Ronnie O'Gorman is a journalist, chairman of the Galway Advertiser group, a keen student of Lady Gregory, and is currently promoting of the Lady Gregory centre at Coole. In this talk he examines the life and times of this remarkable Irishwoman.