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Winter Talks Programme 2024

We are delighted to announce our Winter Talks Programme for 2024. Starting on 23 February and running until 13 March, we have a great line-up of researchers and speakers who will talk on a broad range of topics, from 1798 to Ancient Egypt, late 16th-century Ireland to Blair Mayne!

All talks are free and in person, and take place in the museum’s historic Assembly Room. Doors open at 6.30pm for tea and coffee on arrival, and talks start promptly at 7pm. Please note there is no allocated seating for this event.

The programme is as follows:

Dr Sarah Doherty - photo

23/02/2024 – ‘Daily life in ancient Egypt’, by Dr Sarah K. Doherty

Ancient Egypt is famous for its funerary customs, including the mummification of its dead, and the construction of elaborate tombs and pyramids. Generally speaking, less is known about what everyday life was like in ancient Egypt. Were the Egyptians morbid and death-obsessed, or lovers of life who sought the same in the afterlife?

Dr. Sarah K. Doherty is an Archaeologist and Egyptologist at the University of Oxford. She also works for Chronicle Heritage, one of the world’s leading firms in historic and cultural preservation. Image credit: Ian Wallman.

James O'Neill - photo

28/02/2024 – ‘Dispelling the myths of the Nine Years War’, by Dr James O’Neill

The ‘Nine Years War’ (1593-1603) was one of Ireland’s most brutal conflicts that had significant consequences for the island, not least the end of the old Gaelic order which paved the way for the Plantation of Ulster. Were the Irish a barbarous people that required the strong hand of English rule, or were they more progressive than made out to be? Was Irish defeat in a war against one of the world’s most powerful nations inevitable?

Dr James O’Neill specialised in battlefield archaeology and twentieth-century defence heritage in Northern Ireland for sixteen years. He has published extensively on the Nine Years War, and is now Collections Officer at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum, Belfast.

Peter Forbes photo07/03/2024 – ‘Vita Leonis, Robert Blair Mayne and the founding of the SAS’, by Peter Forbes

Robert Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne was born in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, and had a colourful career – soldier, sportsman, and founding member of the Special Air Service. What was Mayne’s action-packed life like? What was the legacy of the so-called ‘Irish Lion’?

Peter Forbes has been a secondary school teacher for over thirty years, and has worked extensively on Paddy Mayne’s life contributing to books by Damien Lewis, the Sunday Times no. 1 bestselling author of SAS Brothers in Arms (2022) and SAS Forged in Hell (2023).

13/03/2024 – ‘Henry Monro, Lisburn and 1798’, by Ken Dawson

Did you know that a prominent member of the United Irishmen was from Lisburn? Henry Monro (1758-98) was born in the town and worked in its thriving linen industry. Why did Monro join the Society of United Irishmen, and what was his role in the revolutionary movement that planned the 1798 Rebellion? What was life in Lisburn like during this turbulent time?

Ken Dawson is a retired teacher who served as Head of History and vice-principal at Down High School, Downpatrick. He is the author of ‘The Belfast Jacobin: Samuel Neilson and the United Irishmen’ (2017).

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