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County Longford Decade of Centenaries

Longford County Library, Heritage and Archives Services are co-ordinating the commemorations of the major local and national events that occurred in the period 1913-23. That momentous decade witnessed the progression of the Irish Revolution, culminating in the independence of our state. In the latter half of the Decade of Centenaries we will be focussing on the War of Independence (1919-21), the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) and the Civil War (1922-23).

Our objectives in marking the centenaries are as follows: 

- To promote knowledge and understanding of local events through the promotion of archives and other sources; encouraging research; and holding talks and workshops;

- Community engagement from all sectors and age groups in the county;

- A strong focus on the education sector, with projects aimed at schools;

- Inclusivity and sensitivity in relation to different cultural, political and religious traditions, and viewpoints;

- The importance of creativity as a means of exploring our history and its complexity.

We have developed the programme in consultation with key local stakeholders, who are represented on our Decade of Centenaries Working Group: County Longford Historical Society, the Clonfin Commemoration Committee, Granard Area Historical Society, Ballinalee Community Group and Longford GAA County Board.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our plans to must be flexible. While we hope to have some public events, most projects listed can be delivered online. We will keep the situation under review and will always be guided by the advice of government and public health authorities.

Programme for 2020

17 August, online:

A discussion on ‘The Mutiny of the Connaught Rangers in India, 1920’ involving Danny Tiernan, expert on the Connaught Rangers, and Hugh Farrell, County Longford Historical Society. They will consider the mutiny and the involvement of Thomas Devine from Longford, who was sentenced to death for his part and later reprieved.

14 September, Longford Library: 

The opening of an exhibition entitled ‘County Longford and the War of Independence, 1919-21’.

It will travel to the other libraries in the county later in the year and in early 2021, and can also be available online at www.longfordlibrary.ie.

November: History Month

1 November, Ballinalee:

Commemoration of events in Ballinalee in November-December 1920, including the formation of the North Longford Flying Column, the Battle of Ballinalee and the destruction of parts of the village.

The programme will include a lecture on the Battle of Ballinalee and a piece of drama based on the accounts of participants.

It will also see the launch of ‘County Longford in times of War and Revolution’, an education pack aimed at children in fifth and sixth classes. It will include coverage of local, national and international events and personalities relating to the Great War, the 1916 Rising and War of Independence. This can also be available online at www.longfordlibrary.ie.

3 November, Granard:

Commemoration of the burning of Granard on 3 November 1920.

The programme will include a lecture on the burning of the town and the reading of an eye-witness account of the episode.

14 November, Longford:

Conference: ‘County Longford and the War of Independence’

Four experts on the period will contribute: Prof. Eunan O’Halpin (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Marie Coleman (Queen’s University Belfast), Dr Mel Farrell (Royal Irish Academy) and Dr Paul Hughes (independent scholar).

19 November, Longford Library:

Launch of book on the Longford dead of the Great War with the names of all who died as a result of their wartime service.

Late November (TBC), Longford Library:

Launch of a digitisation project involving local archives from the Revolutionary period including: the minutes of Longford County Council, Longford UDC and Granard UDC; and the Leavy Papers (including the papers of the Rathcline Parish Dáil Court).

The programme is supported by the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Sport, Culture and the Gaeltacht, through its Commemorations Unit.

For details of Decade of Centenaries events elsewhere, please click on https://www.decadeofcentenaries.com/