Fingal Festival of History Launched in Swords Castle

The third annual Fingal Festival of History was launched by the Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Eoghan O’Brien in Swords Castle on Tuesday 17th September. The festival, a week of history talks and events organised by Fingal Libraries, takes place from 30th September until 7th October. This year’s programme features History at the Castle, a day of talks, story-telling and music celebrating Irish heritage on Saturday 5th October in Swords Castle – a national monument and cultural attraction in the care of Fingal County Council.


County Librarian Betty Boardman said, ‘’The Libraries Department of Fingal County Council is delighted to present a very interesting programme of talks and events for our third Fingal Festival of History. The programme is a good mix of local historical topics and issues of national significance. ’’

In Swords Castle, you are invited to join the Craobh Séan Treacy branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for a narrated journey using music, song and stories to illustrate how Irish music and history have moved together through the ages. Listen to Sheanchaí Anthony Nugent tell tales from Irish mythology and to Dr. Pat Bracken’s talk on hurling in the 19th Century in Ireland.

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of Séamus Ennis, one of the most important figures in Irish traditional music in the 20th century, the Fingal Festival of History, in partnership with the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, presents an entertaining session of speech, song and music – Mise an Fear Cheoil. Ríonach uí Ógáin speaks about the daily life of the folklore collector in the 1940s. Róisín Elsafty, a celebrated sean-nós singer from the Conamara Gaeltacht, will perform songs which come to us from the Ó Caodháin collection and uilleann piper Peter Browne will play tunes from both Ó Caodháin and Ennis.


Talks will also take place in libraries throughout Fingal. Dr. Ruth McManus explores the forgotten world of life in ‘digs’ in her talk Lodgers and Landladies. Dr. Mary MacDiarmada examines Irish nationalism in London during the War of Independence. Declan Brady looks at elections and local government in North County Dublin during the lifetime of the Rural District Council in his talk Voters and Politicians. Frank Whearity’s talk explores the rise and fall of John Spicer’s Model Bakery in Balbriggan. Dr. Angela Byrne looks at the diaries of John Lee (né Fiott) who embarked on a seven-month walking tour of England, Wales and Ireland in 1806 in her talk Impressions of a Visitor to Dublin in 1806-07. Glynis Casson and Claire Roche present Dauntless and Daring – Women of the Gael - a show telling the stories of six notable Irish women interspersed with songs related to their lives and accompanied with Claire Roche’s beautiful harp music.


Admission is free to all events, but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please contact the library hosting the event. For the full programme of talks and workshops, please contact your local library branch or see Fingal Libraries website: or Facebook page: @FingalLibraries.

Please view/ download the full festival programme here:

By Orla Drohan, Fingal County Libraries