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PAST MEETINGS

March 2012 meeting
Recording Wicklow's Wildlife
Éamon de Buitléar

In this illustrated lecture, Éamon de Buitléar revealed the secret lives and habits of the wildlife found in the beautiful countryside of County Wicklow. He also explored some of the history and folklore of our animals, including those that can claim to be true natives and also the blow-ins that arrived here by various means in later years. These include some smaller uninvited mammals that also arrived and which must have been a welcome addition to the diet of some of the existing mammals and birds.
From his earliest years growing up on the banks of the Dargle river in Bray Éamon de Buitléar has had a passionate interest in all aspects of nature. His groundbreaking wildlife TV series Amuigh Faoin Spéir and subsequent programs sparked an interest for many in the wonders of nature. A life enriched by music and language, both in his recordings and broadcasting, continues to be shared generously with many.



February 2012 Meeting
In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry
Séamus O'Brien

Augustine Henry was one of the most famous of the pioneering plant hunters who travelled to China in the latter part of the 19thcentury. He played a key role in establishing the basis for our present knowledge of the Chinese flora.
Séamus O'Brien told us the fascinating story of Henry's life and work,and of the three expeditions Séamus himself and his dedicated team of botanists and horticulturalists undertook in 2002,2004 and 2005 to retrace Henry's routes. His amply illustrated description of the travels and discoveries of Ireland's greatest plant hunter, with details of his own experiences of revisiting these places and seeing the plants in their original location captivated the large attendance
Séamus is the head gardener at Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens and a key member of the National Botanic Gardens team. His book In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry and his Chinese plant collectors
was published in 2011.



January 2012 meeting
BAD HARVEST / BIG FREEZE 1946/47
- the desperate fight to save the harvest of 1946 and the severe winter of 1947
Padraig Laffan

In his illustrated talk Padraig linked two events of the mid-20th century which had major national impact-one widely remembered,the other almost forgotten.
The devastating harvest of 1946 brought the country dangerously close to near famine disaster, almost exactly 100 years after the great famine;
but with the country still in "emergency"mode,coping by cooperating was the order of the day.
Personal experiences of the 1947 big freeze are still readily recalled and talked about throughout the country – and some of these were recounted on the night. The meeting revived earlier memories in many,and reinforced in others the stories recounted to them,of a time even tougher than the present.

Padraig Laffan began his career as a Marine Radio Officer and then spent many years in the Engineering Dept.of RTE setting up Communications and Outside Broadcasts throughout the country.



December 2011 Meeting
Irish Lighthouses
Reminiscences of
John Donnelly and Brian Maguire

A well attended meeting of enthusiastic sea-lovers heard John and Brian give us a personal insight into the work needed to keep Ireland's Lighthouses operating in the past. For near on forty years they, with their colleagues,have managed the upkeep of our lighthouses in a time when many were becoming automated.

Some unique old slides of lighthouses as well as stunning pictures of many of the current ones were shown on the night.
John and Brian entertained us with many tales,some amusing, others amazing,of their work experiences.

Many attending felt that these two gentlemen have so much more to tell of their unique experiences and hope that they will make more of this available to us sometime soon.



November 2011 meeting
Early Mapping of the North Wicklow Area
Arnold Horner

The large attendance of 120 people at our November meeting in the Glenview Hotel were treated to a most interesting overview of the development of mapping in our NE Wicklow area. Many of the knowledgeable attendance saw some unique maps for the first time. With many of our own areas highlighted, the evening left some of us inspired to carry out further investigation. Thank you, Arnold,for your presentation.
Detail: The talk looked at some of the initiatives to map the north Wicklow area in the centuries before the advent of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland in the 1830s. Some of the more significant undertakings include the Down Survey of the 1650s,several surveys of the county from 1760, various more localised estate maps and - a particular focus of this talk -
a series of exceptional road surveys made in the early nineteenth century. Some early maps showing adjacent parts of south Dublin were also introduced.

Dr. Arnold Horner is a senior lecturer in the UCD School of Geography,
Planning and Environmental Policy. His areas of study include early Irish mapping with special interest in the work of the Bogs Commissioners (1809-1814) and in road maps.
The effects of geography on regional development and population growth and its influence on the variation in religion and language have also been investigated by Dr. Horner.


October 2011 Meeting

Séamas Ó Maitiú delivered his talk on the Stonecutters of Ballyknockan to a full house in the Glencormac Inn on Oct 6th. His illustrated presentation,full of anecdotes,was further enhanced by personal contributions from stonecutters visiting us from the Ballyknockan area and from our eastern ridge of the Wicklow mountains. Thanks again Séamas for an interesting evening.
For close on two hundred years a community of stonecutters in Ballyknockan, nesting in the Wicklow mountains, has provided granite for many of Dublin's best known buildings, including churches,public offices, hospitals and banks. Seamas's talk will bring all this to life as he traces the history of these skilled craftsmen and their tradition. He will examine their unique village and highlight examples of their skill in Dublin and elsewhere. Due acknowledgement will be made to our own local Ballybrew quarry and its craftsmen.
Séamas Ó Maitiú is a Dublin lecturer and writer on local history. His published works include - W.&R.Jacob:100 years of Irish biscuit making ; Dublin's Suburban Towns 1834-1930; and Ballyknockan:a Wicklow stonecutter's village (with Barry O'Reilly).


Recent talks have included:
A Journey Through Wicklow by Old Postcards - James O'Brien
A Life In The Wild — Eamon De Buitlear
An Old Dargle Valley Garden Lives Again — David Koning
Ardmore Studios: 50 years of filming - Kevin Moriarty
Beekeeping in Ireland - past and present — Joe Kelly
Bray – that favourite resort — Mary Davies
Calary Races — Moira Byrne
Chapman & Cooke - photographs of Dublin and Wicklow a century ago — Chris Corlett
Freshwater Fisheries in Wicklow Through the Ages — Alan McGurdy
History of the Irish Flora —Matthew Jebb
History of W. & R. Jacob, Biscuit Makers — Seamas O'Maitiu
Lost Houses of Wicklow and South Dublin — Peter Pearson
Milestones of Wicklow and South Dublin — Rob Goodbody
Mining in the Glendalough Area — Joan Kavanagh
Natural History - unseen companions — David & Madeline Spears
Postal History of Ireland —John Lennon
Robert Emmet — Philip Emmet
The Bray to Enniskerry Railway — Liam Clare
The History of Kilmacurragh Arboretum and Estate — Seamus O'Brien
The La Touche Family of Bellevue and Beyond — Michael McGinley
The Murrough - Wicklow's barrier coast — Richard Nairn
The Palatines in Ireland — Rev. Dudley Levistone Cooney
The Wicklow Military Road — Michael Fewer
Tragedy at Tuskar Rock — Mike Reynolds
Wicklow Motoring — Bob Montgomery
Wicklow Woodland Transition — Michael Carey
Wicklow's Old Farmhouses — Chris Corlett
Hidden Secrets of the Dargle Valley — Brian White
The Use of Wild Plants in Ireland Through the Ages — Peter Wyse Jackson
The Life and Times of the River Dodder — Christopher Moriarty
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