Maynooth Through the Ages – 2024

When: Monday, February 19, 2024 – 19:00 to Monday, April 22, 2024 – 19:00
Where: Maynooth University Library

Department of History in collaboration with Maynooth University Library, and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth presents Maynooth Through the Ages. Following a very successful series in 2023, we are delighted to bring you details of our second series.

This event is free to the public. Booking is essential via the links below. Please note, each talk must be booked separately.
A printable version of the programme is available on the following link Maynooth Through the Ages 2024 Programme


19 February 2024 19:00-20:30Garret Oge FitzGerald, ninth earl of Kildare (1487-1534) and the cult of Kildare nobility.
Prof Marian Lyons By the early 1500s, the FitzGeralds, Earls of Kildare, enjoyed the status of Ireland’s leading aristocratic family on the basis of their exceptional political, military, social and economic dominance. In addition to exercising authority from their seat at Maynooth, successive earls invested considerable energy and resources in projecting an image of their dynasty and supporters as powerful modern magnates. In doing so, they subscribed to the trend in Renaissance statecraft which prized the cult of the ruler. Gerald/Garret Oge, ninth Earl of Kildare, played a particularly important role in the process. This paper explores the ways in which he contributed to the curation of  the ‘cult of Kildare nobility’.
Booking link
26 February 2024 19:00-20:30Revolution in Maynooth, 1912-1923
Dr Seamus Cullen This illustrated presentation will outline the impact of the Irish Revolution, 1912-1923, on the town of Maynooth. The critical role of Maynooth College, together with details of the ambush of Crown Forces, the re-establishment of an RIC/Black and Tan barrack, and the recapture of the town by the National Army following the fall of Dublin will be described. The aftermath of the conflict – the fatalities, and the effect on the town – will also be examined.
Booking link
4 March 2024 19:00-20:30Beyond the gates: Untold stories of family life in the Historic Irish House
Colette Jordan Beyond the gates: Untold stories of family life in the Historic Irish House
This talk by Colette Jordan encapsulates a family and social history, with some new sources casting fresh light on the FitzGerald family, including periods of joyous celebration and love, tinged with heartbreaking trauma and loss.
Booking link
11 March 2024 19:00-20:30From Ballot Box to Countil Chamber: Kildare’s first County Council elections of 1898
Liam Kenny The 1899 elections achieved notable ‘firsts’ under a number of headings – not least being the first time that women were granted the franchise on the island of Ireland. ‘From Ballot Box to Council Chamber’ focuses on the inaugural Kildare County Council elections of spring 1899 as a case study which was reasonably representative of the elections which took place across Ireland. There is also a contemporary topical note in that local elections are due in June 2024, 125 years after the first local elections in 1899.
Booking link
25 March 2024 19:00-20:30Tomás Ó Fiaich and Maynooth/Má Nuad, 1940s-1970s
Prof Vincent Comerford Tomás Ó Fiaich was one of the most charismatic figures of the second half of the twentieth century in Ireland. He studied at Maynooth from 1940 to 1944 and returned in 1953 as lecturer, charged with introducing Modern History as a subject in the NUI degree program. From the late 1950s he began to make an impression outside the walls. He was chair of a government commission on the Irish language, editor of several journals, and in 1964 was elected to the senate of the NUI. When Dr Jeremiah Newman was appointed president of Maynooth in 1968, Fr. Ó Fiaich was made registrar. He was a key figure in the expansion and transformation of the College under Newman. As president from 1974 Tomás prevailed upon the trustees to look for independent university status for Maynooth. Advanced discussions with the department of Education took place, but before any conclusion Monsignor Ó Fiaich was appointed archbishop of Armagh in the summer of 1977. At the same time the college was sliding into a traumatic internal dispute that changed its immediate prospects. Independence, would have to wait for twenty years.
Booking link
8 April 2024 19:00-20:30The Science & Ecclesiastical Museum at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
Dr Neil Trappe A talk about the Science & Ecclesiastical Museum at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, highlighting the history of the museum and some of interesting items held in the museum, followed by a tour.
Booking link
15 April 2024 Campus tour 19:00-19:45 Chapel tour
St Patrick’s College Campus tour and College Chapel Tour
Pat Watson The tour takes you through the history of the campus from its Georgian beginnings in Stoyte House in 1795 through to Pugin’s imposing Gothic building of St Patrick’s. The College Chapel forms part of the tour with a chance to see the beautiful interior with arguably the largest choir stalls on the world. No tour would be complete without a word about some of the colourful characters and traditions associated with the College. Please note: due to numbers there are two separate booking links, and if you wish to attend both you will need to book for each event.
Booking link for the Campus tour
Booking link for the College Chapel tour
15 April 2024
Tour of Maynooth College Chapel by Dr John-Paul Sheridan
Dr John-Paul Sheridan Dr. John-Paul Sheridan, a lecturer at Maynooth College will take you on a tour of the iconic nineteenth College Chapel from the history of its foundation to the architecture and the decoration. Due to popular demand we have added a second tour of the College Chapel Booking Link
22 April 2024 19:00-20:00Tour of the John Paul II Library
Elaine Bean Opened in 1984, the John Paul II Library is the heart of the Maynooth Campus. Since its extension in 2013 the library foyer has been a popular welcoming space for the local community.
Some of the highlights will include seeing our collection of over 400,000 print items on over 10km of shelving and learn about our different study spaces, the foundation stone, blessed by Pope John Paul II on his visit to Maynooth in 1979, our Energy Pods, designed to revive you with a power nap, the power of 3D printing, and the 1916 Proclamation – one of a few in public hands. Booking link


Prof Marian Lyons

Prof Marian (Mary Ann) Lyons has published extensively on Franco-Irish relations and on Irish migration to continental Europe in the early modern period, and is particularly interested in jacobite migrants in Paris, c.1690-c.1730.She has also published on various aspects of Irish history including the Kildare dynasty, religion in late medieval and early modern Ireland, women, and the emergence of professional medicine from the early 1600s onwards. She has co-edited several essay collections on Irish migration to Europe in the early modern period, jointly curated the ‘Strangers to Citizens: the Irish in Europe, 1600-1800’ exhibition at the National Library of Ireland (2007-09) and co-authored Strangers to citizens: the Irish in Europe, 1600-1800 (2008). She is currently working on a biography of Thomas Arthur, M.D., of Limerick. Arising from her interest in local history, she is General Editor of the Maynooth Research Guides for Irish Local History series (Four Courts Press), and joint editor, together with Daithí Ó Corráin of The Irish Revolution 1912-23 series (Four Courts Press).

Dr Seamus Cullen

Dr Seamus Cullen is a historian based in North Kildare. His broad research interests include all aspects of local history in Kildare with a particular interest in military history between 1795 and 1923. He has published extensively on 1798 and 1803 in Kildare. In recent years, he has focused on the history of the Irish Revolution and is the author of Kildare: The Irish Revolution, 1912-23 (2020) which is the Kildare volume of the Irish Revolution series.

Colette Jordan

Colette Jordan was formerly a Research Officer in the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates. During that time she was given unrivalled access to the family papers of the FitzGerald family, Dukes of Leinster in their home in Oxfordshire. There she was entrusted with many of their, previously unseen, family diaries, letters, recipe books, rent books, etc. and permitted to bring them to Maynooth University to have them copied and recorded. Similarly she travelled to Boston to meet with members of the Laughlin family who had owned Castlehyde, now the home of Michael and Niamh Flatley.  Again the family very kindly gave her letters, diaries, visitor books, etc which were invaluable in compiling the social history of Castlehyde. Since then she has been commissioned by the late Prince Khalid AbDullah, legendary owner of Frankel, to research and produce a history of his stud farm near Kilcullen – the New Abbey Estate. Similarly, she produced a history of his stud farm in Tetbury in Gloucestershire – the Estcourt Estate. She is currently working with Jay and Christy Cashman, owners of Kilkea Castle near Athy. Colette speaks regularly to local history societies on life in the Big House – upstairs and downstairs.

Liam Kenny

Liam Kenny is Director of the Association of Irish Local Government and a former staff member of both Kildare County Council and the “Leinster Leader” newspaper. He has a long association as a student with Maynooth University graduating with an MA from the History Department in 2011. His interest in the 1899 local elections stems their role in ushering a change in Irish politics from the landed elite to the middle-class farmers and merchants or from unionism to home rule.

Prof Vincent Comerford

Prof Vincent Comerford was Professor of Modern History and Head of Department at Maynooth, 1989-2010. He is the author of Ireland (London and New York, 2003) in the series ‘Inventing the nation’; The fenians in context: Irish politics and society, 1848-82 (Dublin and New Jersey, 1985; 2nd ed., 1998);
C.J. Kickham: a study in Irish nationalism and Irish literature (Dublin, 1979); while his contributions to New history of Ireland include introduction and primary narrative for 1870-91 in vol. 6, ed. by W.E. Vaughan (Oxford, 1996), and primary narrative for 1850-70 in vol. 5, ed. by W.E. Vaughan (Oxford, 1989).

Dr Neil Trappe

Dr Neil Trappe is a senior lecturer in the Experimental Physics Department at Maynooth University. His research interests are in the field of optical design and analysis especially for astronomical instrumentation. He became curator of the Science & Ecclesiastical Museum in 2023.

Pat Watson

Pat Watson taught History and Geography for many years at St Wolstan’s Seconday School, Celbridge. Since retirement she has developed her interest in local history and is now involved in providing guided tours of St Patrick’s College, Chapel and campus. She is also author of a booklet on the College Chapel. 
As a member of Tidy Towns, Pat is currently working on story boards of the town’s history as part of a Heritage Trail around Maynooth. To date the Heritage group has given several tours of the town to pupils of  local National Schools as well as giving guided tours to the public during Heritage week over the last two years. 

Dr John-Paul Sheridan

Dr John-Paul Sheridan is a priest of the Diocese of Ferns and from 2014 has been a lecturer at St. Patrick’s Pontifical University.  He was co-editor (with Salvador Ryan) of We Remember Maynooth, published in 2020.  He has a huge interest in the history of the South Campus, in particular the College Chapel.

Elaine Bean

Elaine Bean is senior library assistant, facilities and events at Maynooth University Library. Elaine facilites and coordinates both virtual and in person events which support both the university and local communities and has designed and delivered numerous information literacy programmes both within the university and to transition year students in local schools. Elaine was awarded the Maynooth University President’s Individual Award for Service Excellence and team award for Services Innovation and Service Excellence.

If you missed last year’s lecture series, videos can be viewed here