Friday, 14 April 2017

Forthcoming talks at PRONI in Belfast

Some forthcoming events at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (

At a Glance....Coming up at PRONI

Glentoran and the community of East Belfast – the ties that bind - PRONI is pleased to host an event in PRONI Lecture Theatre, on the afternoon of Friday 5 May 2017, 2pm to 4pm, examining the history of Glentoran Football Club and its role at the heart of a developing and changing community
Speakers and themes

Sam Robinson, author of “There’s a Green Sward Called the Oval – the Life and Times of a Football stadium”: “The story of the Oval and of its people is one perseverance, foresight, tragedy, murder, political intrigue, community spirit, civil unrest, war and peace, highs and lows and success against the odds.”

The second speaker will be Alan Carr, lecturer, trade unionist and Glentoran fan – ‘Standing upon the shoulders of Giants – the rise of the Labour and Trade Union Movement in Belfast’: “The rise of Glentoran, as a progressive, non-sectarian club, coincided with the rise of the labour and trade union movement, with thousands of workers concentrated in East Belfast in heavy industry, the Shipyards, Ropeworks, Gallagher’s and the Short’s Aircraft factory.”

Booking for this event is Free via Eventbrite

Connecting people and place: exploring your Ulster roots; 13 May 2017

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in conjunction with the Ulster Historic Foundation, the Federation of Local Studies and the North of Ireland Family History Society are delighted to welcome you to a day of family history to be held at PRONI on 13 May 2017, 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.

The event is sponsored by the Big Lottery Fund.

More and more people would like to know how to trace their ancestors or to learn more about the history of their community. The study of history for personal research is a hugely enjoyable, rewarding, sociable and life-enhancing pastime. This event is aimed at anyone interested in finding out more about their ancestors or the local area where they live. It is free of charge and open to everyone irrespective of skills or experience – novice and more experienced researchers alike are welcome.

The Keynote Speaker will be Joe Mahon of UTV’s Lesser Spotted Fame.
Morning programme (10.00 am–12.45 pm)
· Keynote speaker - Joe Mahon: People and place
· Gillian Hunt: An introduction to family history research
· Janet Hancock: Getting started online at PRONI
· Break
· Roddy Hegarty: Making connections with local and family history: a case study
· John Dooher: The local press in Strabane in WW1, shared narratives and diverging priorities
Lunch and guided tours of PRONI (12.45 pm-1.45 pm)
Afternoon programme (1.45 pm–4.00 pm)
· Rosemary Murphy: Glenelly My Home: A Facebook project in local and family history
· Brian Mitchell: Sources for family history in North West Ulster
Panel discussion
· Facilitator: Fintan Mullan
· Valerie Adams: Church records [TBC]
· Dr Brian Lambkin: Migration records
· Dr William Roulston: Landed estate records
· Ann Robinson: The resources of the North of Ireland Family History Society

Admission is FREE, however booking is essential as spaces are limited. Register for this event at Eventbrite

To coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, PRONI is delighted to host the following event organised by the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies (Founded 1936) - BECKETT LECTURE - ‘From Antichrist to ARCIC: Protestant attitudes to Catholicism, 1517-2017’ - Prof Alan Ford (University of Nottingham), Thursday, 25 May 2017 6:30pm

Prof Alan Ford is an Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Nottingham and a leading expert on Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a particular interest in religious identity.

Booking for this event is Free via Eventbrite

Messines Memorial exhibition, 30 May to 9 June

To mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines - of special interest in Ireland due to the fact that in the course of this battle the 16th (Irish) division fought side by side with the 36th (Ulster) division - PRONI is delighted to display an art installation entitled ‘Assembly - Memorial Chairs’ by Derbyshire Artist, Val Carman. This exhibition will be on display during PRONI's normal opening hours from Tuesday 30 May 1.00 pm until Friday 9 June 2017 at 1.00 pm.
Assembly - Memorial Chairs

The five memorial chairs are from Passendaele St Audomarus Church and will be accompanied by a beautifully constructed register of c.173,000 names of those from the UK and Ireland who lost their lives during the First World War in Belgium.

Each of the five chairs represents the casualties of one year of the war, 1914-18 (which is shown in small lead numbers on each of the chairs). The accompanying book includes names printed on the left hand side of the book, leaving blank pages on the right hand side for visitors to write their own testimony or personal story. Any story or local reference about WW1 can be added to the book, and this special social history will then become part of the exhibits at In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres Belgium, when it returns there in 2018. Photocopies of images and letters are also welcome.

This exhibition is travelling the UK and Ireland until 2018 and this will be the only opportunity to view it in Northern Ireland. We would encourage any groups interested in the First World War, particularly local schools and community organisations to contact us in advance to arrange a visit of the installation and an accompanying tour of PRONI. This display has been organised in conjunction with the In Flanders Fields Museum.

The Island of Ireland and the Great War in Flanders by Piet Chielens, Thursday, 1 June at 7pm

To mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines, PRONI are delighted to welcome Piet Chielens, the Coordinator of the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres, Belgium on Thursday 1 June 2016 at 7.00 pm.

PRONI is hosting this event in conjunction with the Government of Flanders. The In Flanders' Fields Museum is a museum in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the study of the First World War. The battle of Messines was particularly significant in the history of Ireland due to the contribution of both the 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions. Piet’s presentation will reference all the Irish regiments over the period 1914-18, as reflected in Ireland’s Memorial Records. Piet has been co-director of the award winning In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres since 1996, where he is director of exhibitions and public programming. From 1992 to 2007 he was also artistic director of Peace Concerts Passchendaele. He has published and collaborated on numerous publications for both institutes (CD’s, guide books, catalogues, articles).

Booking for this event is Free via Eventbrite

Battle of Messines lunchtime lecture series, 2 June – 7 June, 12:30-1:30pm

To mark the display of Val Carmen’s installation ‘Assembly’ PRONI, in conjunction with the Antrim and Down Branch of the Western Front Association, is hosting a series of lunch time talks on various aspect of the First World War.

All talks take place at 12.30 pm in PRONI.
Friday 2 June

Dr Tom Thorpe - The British Army in 1917: how serious were the morale problems?
Monday 5 June

Dr Stephen Sandford – Ireland in 1917
Wednesday 7 June

Mr Nicholas Perry - The Limits of Partnership: The Irish Divisions in Flanders in 1917

Admission is FREE, however booking is advised. Register for this event at Eventbrite

Wrens of HMS Caroline – Exhibition Launch and Film Screening, 12 June 2pm

PRONI is delighted to launch HMS Caroline’s travelling exhibition examining women’s experiences of serving on the ship on Monday 12 June 2.00 pm.

2017 is the centenary year of the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS). This exhibition highlights the women's experience of serving on the ship, firstly as part of the WRNS during the Second World War and later as part of the Women’s Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (WRNVR).

The exhibition launch will include the first public screening of the ‘Wrens of HMS Caroline’ film which was produced by HMS Caroline and students from Northern Regional College earlier this year.

Admission is FREE, however numbers are limited so advanced booking is required. Register for this event at Eventbrite

Wrens object handling session, 26 June, 2-3pm

This event is being held in conjunction with the Wrens of HMS Caroline exhibition as part of the WRNS centenary in PRONI on Monday 26 June 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm.

Journey through the history of the Wrens by taking a closer look at items from a WRNS kit bag, along with pieces from the HMS Caroline collection. Hear about the history of the Caroline WRNS and the role of women since 1917. Take a look at photos and uniforms and try your hand at the Wrens Aptitude Test.

Admission is FREE, however booking is essential as spaces are limited. Register for this event at Eventbrite

NICS Live Challenge event at PRONI, Healthy Mind and Body, 20 April, 7-8.30 pm

PRONI is pleased to welcome Healthy Mind and Body as part of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Live Team Challenge event in aid of Aware NI
on 20th April 2017 from 7pm to 8-30pm
Guest speakers, including Lynda Bryans, will be speaking about personal experiences with depression.
Admission is free but voluntarily donations are welcome on the night, with all proceeds going to Aware NI
The evening concludes with announcement of the results of Online Auction and Donation Prize Draws.
This event is organised as part of NICS (Northern Ireland Civil Service) Live Team Challenge, developed in conjunction with Business in the Community, which has volunteers from across the NI Civil Service working with charities during a six week period every year.

Western Front Association 2017 program

The Western Front Association is hosting a series of meetings and lectures at 6.30 pm on evenings throughout 2017. Meetings are open to the public and everyone is welcome.
Details are on the PRONI Website at

Antrim and Down Western Front Lecture Series – Gerard O’Meara - Lorrha (Tipperary) people in the Great War, 11 May 2017, 6.30pm, PRONI Lecture Theatre

The most northerly parish in Tipperary, Lorrha has long been known for its ancient and medieval monastic settlements. However, it also has a significant military history as recounted in the recent acclaimed study by Gerard O’Meara, Lorrha People and the Great War (Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society, 2016). Though perceived as a strong republican parish during the War of Independence (1919-1921), many people from Lorrha also served during the Great War, whether with Irish or British regiments, or Commonwealth (usually Australian) or American forces. They fought in all theatres of war and in the infantry, cavalry and artillery and earned a number of awards for valour, notably the Victoria Cross won by Martin O’Meara of Lissernane. This talk will examine the social and family backgrounds to the men from Lorrha fighting in the Great War. Gerard will bring along copies of the book for signature and sale.

Antrim and Down Western Front Lecture Series, 20 April – ‘Ireland's contribution to winning the war at sea 1914-18 - RN, RNAS, USN, USNAS - Queenstown, Larne, Buncrana, Berehaven, Killybegs, Kingstown’ by Guy Warner, PRONI Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm

Dedicated and prolific NI researcher and author, Guy Warner, has in recent years turned his attention to the fascinating developments in air surveillance and protection that took place at various naval and air bases around the coast of Ireland during the First World War. The threat of the German submarine fleet to merchant and passenger vessels making their way across the Atlantic was the primary reason for setting up these bases. Sophisticated dirigible airships and then fixed-wing aircraft monitored the sea for signs of submarine activity. American air personnel lent a hand from 1917 and remained some years after the war. These ports and bases eventually became contested sites after the partition of Ireland in 1922 and the background to the so-called ‘Treaty Ports’ is an enthralling story.

(With thanks to the PRONI Express)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

No comments:

Post a Comment