By Br. Conal Thomas
From some preliminary meetings held during the winter months of 1995, our Society was formally established in 1996 to compile, correlate and disseminate information pertinent to the many facets of Heritage in our locality. This would be of interest not only to the local community and its diaspora but to all who would wish to avail of it at national or international level.
To achieve our objectives, we were kindly given accommodation in the Old Girls’ School, Corrandulla, as a focal point for regular meetings and as a store for artefacts and memoribilia, especially those in danger of being lost or discarded.
A summary of the undertakings of the Society for the past 21 years is given below.
Talks and lectures were given by members and invited guests. At all times we encouraged interested the general public to attend and participate in the discussions that followed.
Past talks and lectures have included topics as diverse as Local Archeological finds, Basket weaving, Báitheadh Eanach Dhúin (1828), Bóithrín na Smaointe le Seán Ó Murchadha, Songs in the Irish language, Children’s Burial Grounds, the Church of Ireland Building at Aughclogeen, Early Church History of Annaghdown, Faces and Places in Annaghdown, Farming Practices in Annaghdown in the 1940’s, Folklore of the Parish (1939), From Annaghdown to the Pyramids of Egypt, From Ballybeg to Australia, Irish Coins before Decimalization, Irish Stamps and our Postal Service, Irish Words Used in Spoken English, John Murphy’s Recollections, Michael Davitt’s Address at Corrandulla in 1879, New Zealand Connections, Ordnance Survey in the Parish, Primary Education in Annaghdown Parish, Road-Making of the Curraghline, Round Tower Markings at Annaghdown Monastic Site, The Coming of the “Electric”, The Art of Thatching, The Flora and Fauna of Annaghdown, The Great Famine in the District, The Monastic Ruins at Annaghdown, and The United Irish League in North Galway.
Other events and projects of note have included the launch of the County Galway Heritage Plan in 2004, the collection of local field names and placenames, a survey of children’s graveyards, a survey of thatched houses, and visits to the National Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, and to the Riverstown Folk Park, Co. Sligo.
The Society has also been active in publishing books and booklets on local history. Publications have included Annaghdown Remembers Michael Davitt (1996); Famine Times in Annaghdown (1997), The Land for the People (1999), Wildflowers of Annaghdown (2002), and By Corrib, Clare and Cregg and Seanchas Cois Teallaigh (2009). We were also involved in launching Farm Habitats in Annaghdown, County Galway: Management Practices in the 1940s by Tina Aughney and Mike Gormley, and Rev. Michael Goaley’s The Monastic Ruins at Annaghdown.
We have collected and catalogued memorabilia on an on-going basis under the following headings: Agrarian Disputes pre-1921, Archeology, Burial Grounds, Castles and Tower Houses, Census/Surveys, Churches, Annaghdown Drowning Tragedy 1828, Family Histories, Gaeilge sa Cheantar, Local Wells and Water Sources, Maps and Mapping, Mills, Primary Schools, Postal Service, including special postage stamp collection.
This article first appeared in our Winter 2017 Newsletter.