My role as Historian-in-Residence at EPIC is varied and allows me to work on many exciting projects: researching fascinating past lives, communicating their stories to the wider public, and collaborating with passionate historians, scientists, and creative professionals.
January was very exciting, with a live TV appearance, public events, more publications, and planning some very interesting projects.
There were two highlights in this very busy month. The first was sharing a stage with some of Ireland’s most talented female writers at The Irish Writers Centre Nollaig na mBan event. I delivered a short, 4-minute ‘soapbox’ responding to the Edna O’Brien quote: “In our deepest moments, we say the most inadequate things.”
The other highlight this month was my live appearance on Virgin Media’s Ireland AM programme. Together with Herstory project founder Melanie Lynch, I spoke about the exhibition ‘Blazing a Trail: Lives and Legacies of Irish Diaspora Women’ – which was so popular with visitors, that it went on display in January for the second time, following its debut last November.
I welcomed a very special visitor to the ‘Blazing a Trail’ exhibition, when Clodagh McKeon and her family came to see Clodagh’s hero, Mother Jones. When she appeared on the Late Late Toy Show and said she loved illustrating and Mother Jones was her hero, I knew the exhibition would be right up her street!
‘Blazing a Trail’ is currently touring Irish embassies worldwide: it has already been on display in London, Jakarta and Strasbourg, and will soon be at other locations. Check in on Twitter for more developments.
I also published three more pieces in the Irish Times digital edition on ‘Extraordinary Emigrants’: the Irish-born campaigner for Australian women’s suffrage Mary Lee; the folk icon Margaret Barry; and the first Irishman known to cross Africa, Thomas Heazle Parke.
Finally, there was lots of planning done this month for some very exciting projects. Work on my next temporary exhibition, titled ‘Across the Waves: The Seafaring Irish’ is well underway, and you will be able to see it in EPIC from 15 March. As for the other big plans – you will just have to watch this space!
Header photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan