Bantry Historical Society welcomes
all with an interest in history


A taste of our many varied outings and events

Bantry Abbey Mapping Group Heritage Week panels

Since 2021, the Bantry Abbey Mapping Group (a sub-group of the Bantry Historical Society) have been photographing and transcribing the inscriptions on the memorials in the oldest part of Bantry Abbey Graveyard.

As part of the 2022 Heritage week, 3 panels were unveiled at the Bantry Tourist Office on 13th August. The panels reflect the history of the Franciscan Friary, the methodology used in deciphering and recording the inscriptions, researching the history of those interred, and show examples of iconography and historically-interesting memorials. The panels were on display in the Tourist Office, the Square, Bantry, throughout Heritage Week.

Gilhooly Address Presented to Bantry

Angela Douglas, great granddaughter of James Gilhooly M.P. for West Cork constituency for 30 years from 1875, very generously presented the illiminated Address of James Gilhooly to Bantry at a pleasant function held in Bantry Library on 28th September 2022.  This framed Address was presented to James Gilhooly on his release from prison by Inhabitants of Bantry, in praise of the great work he was undertaking on behalf of his West Cork constituents.  It can now be seen on view at Bantry Library beside the Reference Section.  Photo includes Angela Douglas and her brother Joseph on left, with Angela O'Donovan, Cathaoirleach, BH&AS on right, and Alec O'Donovan representing the Bantry-based Gilhooly family.

Gilhooly Address

Group attending formal handover of Gilhooly address at Bantry Library 28th September 2022.  Included on left is Angela Douglas, her partner and her brother Ted Douglas with Mary Twomey a friend of the Gilhooly family when they lived in Main Street Bantry, and Denis Murphy, Senior Executive Librarian at Bantry Library.  On right hand side is Noel O'Mahony, recently-retired Senior Executive Librarian, Bantry Library, Alec O'Donovan and his daughter Maebh, Angela O'Donovan and Cathriona Tobin, BH&AS, and Michael O'Brien who restored the framed Address.

Launch of Journal 4

Group at Launch of Journal IV

Unveiling at Tourist Office

13th August, 2022

At the Unveiling of three specially prepared Information Plaques by Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society's group of members who are working on the Abbey Mapping Project.  Photo shows Eileen O'Shea, Bantry Develpment & Tourism, who hosted the event, Mayor Danny Collins and Geraldine Mullins at Bantry Tourist Office on the opening day of Heritage Week 2022.

Unveiling of Abbey Mapping Project Information Panels at Bantry Tourist Office

Members of Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society (BH&AS), some of whom are involved with the Abbey Mapping Project (AMP) seen here with the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Danny Collins at event in Banry Tourist Office hosted by Eileen O'Shea of Bantry Development & Tourism for the Unveiling of Information Panels on the Amp.

Left to right:  Joan O'Donovan; Bernard O'Leary, PRO & (Amp); Geraldine Mullins, (Amp); Angela O'Donovan, Cathaoirleach, Dorann Cafero (Amp); Mayor Collins;  Hazel Vickery, Museum Curator; Teresa Moran, (Amp); Jim Larner, (Amp); Margaret McAllister, Hon Treasurer and Seamus O'Shea, (Amp)



Heritage Week 2022

Group attending Bantry Library for presentation on Abbey Mapping project.

Abbey mapping group at Bantry Library

Heritage Week 2022 at Bantry Library: Members of Abbey Mapping Project of BH&AS seen here with Denis Murphy, Senior Librarian; Cllr D Collins County Mayor; Michael Collins, T.D.; and Conor Nelligan, Heritage Officer, Cork County Council; 

Site of former Butter Business

This information plaque in William Street Bantry shows the site of a former thriving butter business in Bantry. 

Take a stroll around Bantry town and find more information plaques

Enjoy your adventure

Field trip

Members of Bantry Historical Society had a very pleasant "down memory lane" trip recently.  The bus trip included visiting Derryginagh Barytes mine, the site of Deelish old school where the history was outlined by David Ross assisted by Fr Paddy Keating.  Next stop was Castledonovan castle and then onwards to visit Top of The Rock Podpark and Walking Centre in Drimoleague where they enjoyed refreshments. 
Photographed here is a small number of the group taken within the restored cowhouse after David Ross gave a demonstration of milking the Droimeann cow by hand: the cow, David Ross, Angela O'Donovan, Eileen O'Mahony, Máire Morrissey, Katie O'Sullivan and Eileen O'Sullivan.  The Droimeann cow has recently been granted the status of Native Rare Irish Breed of cattle.

William Hull and the Leamcon Pirates’ Nest - by Robert Harris

William Hull and the Leamcon Pirates’ Nest -

A Talk by Robert Harris  4th April 2022.  Hull was an English adventurer from Devon who was ‘planted’ in Munster in around 1605. He held extensive lands overlooking Roaringwater Bay and ostensibly established fisheries in the waters of the Bay. In this he was partnered by Richard Boyle, the ‘Great’ Earl of Cork (1566 - 1643). In fact, Hull’s empire was the centre of a ’Nest’ of pirates, with which he was complicit, making considerable financial gains from his dealings. Ironically, Hull was granted the title of ‘Deputy Vice-Admiral of Munster’ - a role that was supposed to flush out piracy and rid the southwest of Ireland of the pirate plague that flourished in the first half of the seventeenth century. This talk examined the life and times of Hull and his compatriots and looked at the legacy and memories which remain in West Cork to this day.

First Summer outing 2021

In line with re-opening up the country post Covid-19 Pandemic, Bantry Historical held a small gathering in person on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd July 2021.  Here Hazel Vickery led the group on a guided walk along the older part of Bantry town - from Bantry Library via Market Street to Garryvurrchu Graveyard.  Back in the day that route would be described as:  from the Mill up past the Town Hall, over Kingston's bridge and down Pound Lane to the Church!

Image shows Hazel Vickery outside the ruined Garryvurrchu Church recalling the history of this historic place.  Photo by T Moran.

The Rituals & Magic of Christmas

Part of the audience attending the talk by Shane Lehane on the Rituals and Magic of Christmas

Celebrating the Culture & Creativity of Bantry's Four Valleys

The Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. Christopher O'Sullivan, M.C.C. who launched the Heritage Week 2019 Event for Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society, seen here at Bantry Library with participants  and guests.

Included are L to R Vincent Crowley, Mealagh Valley; Dan Hurley, St Colum's G.A.A.; Nealie O'Leary, Coomhola/Borlin;  John Greene, M.C. for event;  Dickie O'Sullivan (Póc); John Cotter, Mealagh Valley;  Mayor; Mary Doyle, Researcher; Seán Ó Sé; Noel O'Mahony, Snr Librarian; Dan Sullivan, Kealkill; Cors. Keohane, Kealkil; Conor Nelligan, Heritage Officer, and Cllr. Holly Cairns, M.C.C.

St. Bartholomew's Well, Gortroe

As part of our outing to Local Sites of interest on 28th July 2019, our Guide, locally based archaeologist and co-owner of Bantry Bookshop, Kate Smyth, gave a most informative talk on this important Holy Well, setting it in the context of its location and its history.  We are indebted to Helen and Adrian for accommodating us and making us so welcome.

Cappanaboul Stone Circle

Photo shows part of the large crowd of members of Bantry Historical Society who visited Cappanaboul Stone Circle as part of our Trip to Local Sites on 28th July '19.  Kate Smyth, Archaeologist, gave a most interesting account of this Stone Circle, noting its location in context of local topography etc. A big thankyou to Denis and Mary for making us so welcome and leading us to this hilltop site.  Members also appreciated the splendid views from same.
Photo by Geraldine Mullins

Enjoying the "cuppa"

Enjoying the Cuppa  Part of the large group of Bantry Historical Society members who took part in our Trip to Local Sites in July 2019.  Having heard the history/folklore on Carraig na Caointe and nearby area, members were treated to a delightful cuppa and scone by Ann at Bay View Farm.  Bantry Historical Society wishes to express its gratitude to Anthony and Ann, and all the other landowners who preserve and maintain sites of historical/archaeological interest situated on their respective properties in the locality, without any State assistance.  Photo by Geraldine Mullins

Sherkin Abbey

Sherkin Abbey - this photo of the Franciscan Abbey on Sherkin Island was taken by Dave Cafero when members of Bantry Historical Society visited the island in July 2019.

On Sherkin

Over twenty members of Bantry Historical Society enjoyed this most enjoyable trip to Sherkin Island on Saturday 6th July 2019.  Our Guide was Karen, a native of the island.  We walked a lot of the island on roads and through grassy paths, enjoying nature and history together!

Members at Sherkin Abbey

At Sherkin Abbey.  Karen, our Guide gave us a detailed history of Sherkin Franciscan Abbey/Friary, which had a turbulent history.  It is now in the care of OPW.

Members on Sherkin Island

Members visiting Sherkin Island on 6th July 2019, pose for the camera in brilliant sunshine while on a guided walking tour of the island, organised by Hazel Vickery.  Apart from history and archaeology and enjoying the sites, some members also found time to view the exhibition "The Hare Along the Road", showing in the island's Community Centre.

Garnish Island trip 2019

The members of Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society had a brilliant field trip to this masterpiece of architectural expertise and skilled plantsmanship, led by Bernard O'Leary who gave us a feast of history of the island from architecture to plant hunting in SE Asia etc, from garden design to social history, from evolution to folklore... Thanks to Bernard, we can now appreciate so many other qualities in Garnish apart from the brilliant flowers and plants. 

Photo: Jackie Cooper

Field trip to Whiddy Island

The members of Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society had a brilliant field trip to Whiddy Island in May.  Photo by Seamus Larkin

Exploring the origins and practises of Station Masses in West Cork

Talk by Fr Tom Hayes which was attended by over 70 people.

A brilliant talk was expertly delivered by Fr Tom Hayes on this intriguing topic.  Referring  back to the 3rd Century, Fr Tom reminded us of the harsh life of many christians in that era who were martyred because they were christians.  Visiting those sites became a regular practice each Lent.  Later when churches were built in places, including Ireland, the respective Altar Stones contained a relic of one of the Martyres.  There were many changes through the centuries, but Fr Tom showed us an actual Altar Stone which belongs to Castletown Church, and embedded therein is a relic of a Martyr.

Canon Leader, centre, at Kilnaruane Pillar Stone - Heritage Week 2009

Bantry Historical Society had a very successful Heritage Week event in August 2009, when Canon Liam Leader led an enthusiastic group of members and friends on a walk to the famous Kilnaruane Pillar Stone near Westlodge Hotel.  Canon Liam had earlier given an inspiring talk to a packed audience of society members about Kilnaruane Pillar Stone.  Dr James Hourihane, on right, earlier co-wrote a detailed article on this monument. Rory O'Callaghan, Mayor of the (then) Bantry Town Council is on left of photo.
Bantry Historical Society is truly indebted to Canon Leader for alerting us to the uniqueness of this monument.

Shane Lehane talk 28 Nov 2018

Part of the large crowd who attended this excellent talk by Shane Lehane on The Irish Folk Year - the Cycles of Life.

Kenmare Stone Circle

This was one of the many sites visited on our wonderful outing in 2015 led by Dr James Hourihane.  

Celebrating Cork Past 2018

Mary O'Regan Barsum, Hon Secretary of Bantry Historical Society, seen here with Anne O'Regan at the recent "Celebrating Cork Past 2018" event in City Hall Cork, where Bantry Historical Society's latest Exhibition "Bantry Through The Ages" was displayed.

Group at 40th Anniversary of Bantry Historical Society May 2018

L - R  Seán Ó Sé, Brigitte Wagner-Halswick, Bernard O'Leary, P.R.O., Mary O'Regan Barsum, Hon Secretary, Eamonn Leonard (Fed Local History Societies), Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley, Margaret McAllister, Hon Treasurer, Angela O'Donovan, Cathaoirleach.

40th Anniversary celebrations opened by Mayor

40th Anniversary celebrations opened by Cork County Mayor on 10th May 2018

Cutting the cake at 40th Anniversary

Cutting the cake at the 40th Anniversary

Autumn Outing 2018

Group of Bantry Historical Society's members outside Independence Museum, Kilmurry.  Left to right:-  Terrie Erdpohl (Tour Organiser), Seamus Larkin, Eilish Larkin, Hazel Vickery, Margaret McAllister, Mary Connolly, Brigitte Shelswell-White, Joan Donovan, Colette O Regan, Jackie and Rob Cooper.

Doonour Mould Talk

Heritage Week 2018 at Bantry Library for official opening of Exhibition - Bantry Through The Ages - by Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick G Murphy, followed by presentation by Sharon Weadick, Asst Keeper/Antiquities, National Museum of Ireland, on the Doonour Stone Mould which was discovered in 1960's by Cornelius O Brien on his lands. 
Standing l-r  Seamus Larkin, Charles McCarthy (who organised the event), Noel O Mahony, Senior Executive Librarian, Bantry Library, Cllr. Mary Hegarty, MCC, Deputy Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony TD, Cllr Danny Collins, MCC, Conor Nelligan, Heritage Officer.
Seated L-r Angela O Donovan, Cathaoirleach, Bantry Historical Society, Sharon Weadick, NMI, (speaker), Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick G Murphy, MCC, Mary O'Brien of Doonour (on whose lands the mould was discovered), Áine Brosnan, Archaeologist.

August Outing 2017

a most enjoyable Field Trip to Reendesert, Castletownbere, Dunboy, Allihies Copper Mines Museum, Dooneen and Derreenataggart Stone Circle on Sunday 23rd July. The group photograph was taken at Dooneen, the site of the 1st mine in the area. Included is Dr Colum Hourihane who led the group.

Spring Outing 2017

Dr. Colum Hourihane explaining the carvings on the western face of the Kilnaruane Pillar Stone near Bantry.

Spring Outing 2017

Dr. Colum Hourihane explaining the carvings on the western face of the Kilnaruane Pillar Stone near Bantry.

Spring Outing 2017

Entering Ballinacarriga Castle

Spring Outing 2017

Dr. Colum Hourihane, Aine Brosnan, and Society members chatting at the south-western window on the top floor of Ballinacarriga Castle.

Spring Outing 2017

Left to right: President, Chairperson, and Treasurer – Arethusa Greacen, Angela O'Donovan, and Margaret McAllister – take a break at the top of Ballinacarriga Castle

Marcus Keyes in Bantry Library 2016

Marcus Keyes, son of Raphael P Keyes one of the Bantry Company of Irish Volunteers gave a talk on his father and his place in the national fight for freedom

Marcus Keyes talk

The audience

2016 Commemorations

The unveiling of a plaque to commemorate a day in the life of

2016 Commemorations

Following in the footsteps of the 1916 Bantry Volunteers on trip to Kealkil for Kealkil 1916 Commemorative Ceremony

2016 Commemorations

Brian Waters and his sister Mary O Dubháin children of Thomas Waters one of the Bantry Company, at the unveiling of the commemorative plaque

Launch of 'Bantry Remembers - 1916- 1921'

As part of the 1916 national commemorations we publishes a book Bantry Remembers 1916-1921 which details the events leading up to 1916, the Uprising in Dublin, and all the details of who did what in Bantry at Easter 1916, as well as the following years right up to the Truce in July 1921. During Heritage Week 2016 we launched the book in Bantry Library.

Ellen Hutchins Festival

Madeline Hutchins, Clare Heardman and Angela O'Donovan

Ellen Hutchins Festival

Plaque commemorating Ellen Hutchins marking the place of her burial, unveiled by the Festival in 2015

Ellen Hutchins Festival

Seaweed Event by Sally McKenna at Gerahies Bantry during Heritage Week

Ellen Hutchins Festival

Angela O'Donovan (Bantry Historical Society), Clare Heardman (National Parks and Wildlife Service), Conor Newman (National Heritage Council) and Madeline Hutchins (Ellen researcher and Ellen's great great grandniece)

Knitting Workshop in Bantry Library during Heritage Week

Workshop was part of Heritage Week 2015

Fr. Pat Conlon talk

Franciscan Priest Fr. Pat Conlan speaking in Bantry to members of Bantry Historical Society and friends about The Franciscans in Bantry Abbey