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Events from three-day Civil War conference to be live-streamed




Over 20 local, national and international academics, historians and experts will gather this weekend to discuss and debate the Civil War in Kerry as part of a three-day conference which marks the centenary of the conflict.

Free State Army soldiers in Listowel in August 1922. Photo: National Library of Ireland

Brigadier General Fionán Lynch with Michael Collins in Tralee in August 1922.

Kerry native Dr Héléne O'Keeffe one of the speakers at the Kerry Civil War Conference this weekend.

John Joe Rice Officer Commanding Kerry No. 2 Brigade IRA and Humphrey Murphy Officer Commanding Kerry No. 1 Brigade.

Conference organisers Dr Mary McAuliffe Owen O'Shea and Bridget McAuliffe.

Professor Diarmaid Ferriter who will be delivering the opening address at the Kerry Civil War Conference tomorrow evening (Thursday).

Dr David McCullagh who will chair the final roundtable debate at the Kerry Civil War Conference.

Kerry native Dr Richard McElligott is one of the speakers at the Kerry Civil War Conference.

Republican prisoners in Tralee Jail in 1922.

Stephen Fuller (right) campaigning in the 1938 General Election.

The ‘History, Memory and Legacy’ Conference will be held at the Siamsa Tíre Theatre from February 23 to 25 and is supported by Kerry County Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sport and Media through the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023. It is organised and presented by Bridget McAuliffe, Dr Mary McAuliffe and Owen O'Shea.

Opening tomorrow evening (Thursday) with a keynote address from Professor Diarmaid Ferriter of UCD, the conference will hear from a wide array of experts on how and why Kerry came to be synonymous with the worst brutality and bitternesses of the Civil War a century ago. Other keynote speeches will be delivered by Dr Leeann Lane of Dublin City University and Dr Bill Kissane of the London School of Economics.

The conference programme includes a centenary concert including songs, music, poetry and drama from the Civil War period as well as a visual media exhibition drawing on first-hand accounts from the period. There is still ticket availability for the conference lectures and roundtable discussions, as well as the concert on Saturday (February 25), but some events, including a screening of the docudrama ‘Ballyseedy’ are sold out.


To meet demand and interest in the conference from around Ireland and around the world, all of the conference lectures, keynote addresses and roundtable discussions will be live-streamed on the Kerry Civil War Conference website. Other events will not be available via live streaming.

“As we navigate this challenging phase of commemoration, communities have had to acknowledge many sensitive and often still painful and personal events, particularly during the process of the establishment of the new, independent State in the midst of Civil War," Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, said.

"It is important that these events are examined within their proper local, national, and international contexts, and grounded in the principles of historical accuracy, academic integrity, and archival discovery.

“This multi-disciplinary conference, supported by my Department and Kerry County Council under the Community Strand, is a key event in this year’s Decade of Centenaries Programme. The conference proceedings will leave an important legacy as a significant resource for anyone with an interest in learning more about this period,” she said.

One of the conference organisers, Dr Mary McAuliffe added that “the objective of the conference is to set what occurred in Kerry in wider national and international contexts through the presentation of new research, archival testimonies and the accounts of combatants, as well as civilians, so that, a century later, the Irish Civil War can be considered and understood afresh".

“The level of interest in all of the events is very high and is indicative of a strong desire to engage with and discuss this traumatic period in our collective history,” Dr McAuliffe said.

Papers will be presented by a wide range of Kerry historians including Dr Richard McElligott, Dr Helene O’Keeffe, Dr Dáithí Ó Corráin, Helen O’Carroll, Owen O’Shea and Kieran McNulty. A roundtable discussion on the legacy of the Civil War in Kerry and beyond will be chaired by Dr David McCullagh and will feature an array of experienced historians and authors.

Tickets for all events are available through the Siamsa Tíre Box Office on 066 7123055.

For more information on the programme of events, see



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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