The 2023 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School was held over the weekend of Friday 5th May until Sunday 7th May in the Friary Hall (situated at the back of the Friary) Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal.
See below the Programme of Events.
The theme of the 2023 Summer School was Feast- Food- Famine / Féasta – Bia- Ganntanas and the various talks explored the hardships of day-to-day life in post medieval Ireland in the period from 1500 to 1800 where seasons good or bad could determine the life expectancy of men, women and children.
Saturday 6th May
Aims and Objectives of the 2023 Mícheál Ó Cleirigh Summer School
Professor John McCafferty
Professor John McCafferty, Head of the Mícheál Uí Cléirigh Institute UCD set out the aims and objectives of the 2023 Summer School.
He spoke of the fact that food is one of our basic needs and it or the lack of it has driven major political upheavals all through history from the barbarian hourdes sacking Rome in the 5th Century to the French Revolution of the late 18th Century, to the currwnt migration of peoples from Sub-Saharian Africa to Europe in the present time due to drought and war and the consequential destuction of crops and livestock.
Food beautiful food and very nice if you can get it!
The first talk of the day set the scene by describing how people used the shellfish during times of want. A particularly poignnant point made by John Cunningham when he related the story of a woman from west Donegal, relating in a television interview, how people ate shellfish found on the seashore to suppliment their diets during times of famine. She was castigated by her neighbours for telling the outside world that the people survived eating “poor mans’ food” It seems that folk memory tries to forget such traumatic times by sometimes guilt as to why they survived wheras other family and friends did not.
John has written numerous articles in historical journals such as the Donegal Annual, Clogher Record, The Spark, Ulster Local Studies, Familia, Irish Sword, Computer Education, Queen’s University Teachers’ Centre History Journal, Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild, The Septs, etc. John has several published books including: In1980. Castle Caldwell and Its Families; in 1993. The Letters of John O’ Donovan from Fermanagh in 1834 (A unique glimpse into pre-Famine Ireland and in 2000. Monasteries and Early Church Sites of the River Erne (Over 1000 years of monastic and church history in Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal.) Illustrated.
Eating and drinking in an 18th Century Irish Franciscans and what they ate
Dr Dorothy Cashman
Dr Dr Dorothy Cashman told about the diet of the Franciscans in the 17th Century. Dr. Cashman has extensively researched the culinary habits of the the Irish from Medieval times. Her works include ‘The dough must be neither dauked nor opened on the side as is the custom in Ireland’. » in Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates, Maynooth University ‘Indoors and Outdoors, Public and Private: Women 2015″ “That delicate sweetmeat, the Irish plum’. The culinary world of Maria Edgeworth” » in ‘Tickling the Palate’: Gastronomy in Irish Literature and Culture. Vol 57
Dorothy Cashman is an independent researcher in culinary history with a PhD from the Dublin Institute of Technology, now the Technological University of Dublin.
‘Anatomies of Death’
Elizabethan tactics of forced Famine to defeat the Irish
Professor Hiram Morgan
Professor Hiram Morgan spoke about the Desmond Wars of the 1580s where famine became a consequence of the war whilst after 1598 and the replacement of the disgraced Earl of Essex by Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy it became the policy to deliberatly destroy crops, cull livestock and kill men women and children Lord Mountjoy and his Lieutenants, Arthur Chicheste,r George Carew and Henry Dowcra destroyed as they progressed through Ulster. Famine followed weakening the resolve of the Gaelic lords to continue their efforts.
Professor Hiram Morgan was born in Belfast and studied at Our Lady’s and St Patrick’s College. Knock, Belfast and at St Catherine’s College Cambridge and now lectures at University College, Cork. He is currently head of CELT, the world’s largest website for Irish Studies which is hosted by the School of History at Cork.
Eating in a Plantation Castle – The Parson Family of Birr
Professor Danielle Clarke
The culinary records maintained by members of the Parson family from the 1650s onwards has given a rare insight into the food eaten by the gentry of that time. In addition to food recipes there are hundreds of medical recipes using herbs and even recipes that have somewhat of a crossover with bread being used to make poultices for application to wounds and other injuries.
Professor Danielle Clarke, Professor at University College Dublin, School of English, Drama and Film, Dublin, Ireland , was educated in London and Oxford before coming to UCD in 1994. Most of her publications deal with writing by early modern women, their engagement with mainstream literary culture in particular. Other areas in which she has published include sexuality, literary theory,translation in the Renaissance, and textual criticism. Professor Clarke is currently working on a number of projects – a monograph on Gender and Cultural Reproduction 1500-1700; work on Irish recipe books from the 17th and early 18th centuries. She is also the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women’s Writing.
See our Home Page for more detail and photos of the 2023 Summer School Home – Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School (mocleirigh.ie)