Event: A News Item – Reboot of Irish History Circle
Where: The Celtic Club 316-320 Queen Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000
When: Monday 20 Feb. 2017 at 7.30pm
Further information: wwwcelticclub.com.au or phone: 03 96706472
Report of Meeting by Frances Devlin-Glass
On 8 December 2016, the Irish History Circle held a meeting to resurrect itself! Chaired by Brian Gillespie and Jim Cusack, about 25 people attended – a good roll-up for mid silly-season, and there was much energy in the gathering.
The original circle was started by Dan O’Connor and Nell McGettigan around 2000. It lasted till 2010. Several founding members, including Brian, Graeme Anderson and Anne McAlister were in the audience. They recalled meeting monthly on the 3rd Monday and holding a dinner at the Celtic Club in December.
In its first incarnation, there were varied offerings ranging from films and discussions of them, books, social history, short and long papers. Memorable events included a history of the Rotunda Hospital, a paper on 1798, another on the Clancy brothers in New York, Poteen, JB Keane and a history of Sinn Fein.
The proposal is to revive the Irish history circle as a highly democratic forum intended to be open to experts as well as those with just their own experience to draw on. It is hoped that those with less experience might seek and gain the mentorship of those with more advanced research skills. It is intended to be a give and take forum, rather than chalk and talk, and non-sectarian, non-political, and would like to reach out to other Irish diaspora communities (in the US, Mexico, Chile etc.). It will claim a space for storytelling and sharing stories. The possibility of including sessions for children was also floated.
The Irish cultural scene is now richer than ever in Melbourne and already existing links with various current organisations and online fora should make it easier to publicise and disseminate the findings of the group, including via radio programmes on 3 ZZZ and 3CR, Irish Language classes, Bloomsday in Melbourne, and this magazine, Tinteán.
Papers could be as brief as a 5 min presentation as icebreaker, or longer, at 15 min or longer again at 30 minutes. The form would be flexible – talks, Q&As, panels, debates – and responsive to what was on offer on a particular topic. See above for contact details as well as details of the next meeting.