Fingal Festival of History
Fingal Libraries in partnership with Newbridge House and Farm presents The Fingal Festival of History – a weekend of talks and events in Newbridge House, Donabate, from Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st October 2017. History-lovers can expect fascinating talks, a tour of Newbridge House, a family-friendly history event and a screening of Fingal’s Finest […]
Fingal Libraries in partnership with Newbridge House and Farm presents The Fingal Festival of History – a weekend of talks and events in Newbridge House, Donabate, from Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st October 2017. History-lovers can expect fascinating talks, a tour of Newbridge House, a family-friendly history event and a screening of Fingal’s Finest - a feature length drama documentary, telling the extraordinary and little-known story of the 5th ‘Fingal’ Battalion, Dublin Brigade of Irish Volunteers and their actions during the 1916 Easter Rising.
This year is the centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe and Brian Arnold looks at his legacy in Fingal and Ireland in his talk “Thomas Ashe, The Revolutionary Teacher”. 2017 is also the centenary of the Russian Revolution and Dónal Fallon will examine the strange connections between Irish nationalism and Russian Bolshevism in the revolutionary period in his talk Ireland and the Bolsheviks: What did the Russian Revolution mean for us? The decade of centenaries provides an opportunity to explore and reflect, through a fresh prism, themes such as the struggles for cultural, economic and political independence. In his talk Embers of Empires, Hugh O’Donnell looks at the role of 1916 as a key fulcrum for, not only Ireland’s self-determination but its resonance for people in other parts of the world. Cathal Boland follows the Kettle family through the nineteenth and twentieth century as each generation made its mark on Irish Society in his talk, The Kettles: An Interesting Fingal Family. Young history lovers are catered for in Michael Moylan’s Interactive family-friendly event, The 1916 Show. Children get to learn about the fashion, daily work and weaponry of the revolutionary period through handling real artefacts.
The Fingal Festival of History takes place in one of Fingal’s heritage properties – Newbridge House, Donabate, – a Georgian Villa built to the design of James Gibbs in 1747 for the then Archbishop of Dublin, Charles Cobbe. Newbridge House was purchased by Dublin County Council, now Fingal County Council in 1985 from the Cobbe family, who, with permission of the Council, retain access to a private apartment on the top floor of the House. This arrangement ensures that the Cobbe Collection of Old Masters, family portraits and antique furniture remain in Newbridge House in their original setting ensuring an authentic experience for visitors to the House.
Fingal County Council restored the house, grounds and farm and have increased the collection of Irish furniture and artifacts within the house.
The Council has invested substantially in the redevelopment of the old stable blocks to create a new visitor center incorporating a restaurant, retail and reception area along with a new terrace and a complete refurbishment of the inner courtyard. This project is nearing completion and is expected to open in Autumn 2017. This year also saw the start of the redevelopment of the old Croquet Lawn which is being developed to international standards. In 2018 tennis courts will be added to restore the pleasure gardens to their former glory.
The Fingal Festival of History features a tour of Newbridge House and a talk by the Cobbe Family Archivist, Cathal Dowd Smith, on Life in Newbridge House during the turbulent period 1914 – 1918.
The Fingal Festival of History closes with a screening of ‘Fingal’s Finest’, a feature length drama documentary telling the extraordinary and little-known story of the 5th ‘Fingal’ Battalion, Dublin Brigade of Irish Volunteers who, led by Thomas Ashe defeated a much larger force of Royal Irish Constabulary at the Battle of Ashbourne in 1916. Written and directed by Colin Farrell, this documentary was produced by Title Media with support from Fingal County Council.
Admission to all talks and events at the Fingal Festival of History is free. The programme of events for the Fingal Festival of History is:
Friday, 29th September
6.15 – 6.30 pm – Introduction to Newbridge House – Ann Brophy
6.30 – 7.30 pm – Thomas Ashe, The Revolutionary Teacher – Brian Arnold
7.30 – 8.30 pm – Ireland and the Bolsheviks: What did the Russian Revolution mean for us? – Donal Fallon
Saturday, 30th September
12.45 – 1.00 pm – Introduction to Newbridge House – Ann Brophy
1 – 2.15 pm – The 1916 Show – Michael Moylan
2.15 pm – 2.30 pm – Tea / Coffee break
2.30 – 3.30 pm – Embers of Empires – Hugh O’Donnell
3.30 – 4.30 pm – Life in Newbridge House 1914 – 1918 – Cathal Dowd Smith
Sunday, 1st October
12 – 12.15 pm – Introduction to Newbridge House – Ann Brophy
12.15 – 1 pm – The Kettles: An Interesting Fingal Family – Cathal Boland
1 – 1.20 pm – Tea / Coffee break
1.20 – 2.20 pm – Life in Newbridge House 1914 – 1918 – Cathal Dowd Smith
2.20 – 3.20 pm – Tour of Newbridge House
3.20 – 4.50 pm – Fingal’s Finest Screening
By Orla Drohan, Fingal Libraries