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.
They call February ‘a short month’ – well March just flew by, another very busy month at EPIC!
In a packed month, the big event was the launch of ‘Across the Waves: The Seafaring Irish’ on 14 March. It was wonderful to see people appreciating the stories, and to hear Dr Easkey Britton speak about the sea – always an inspiration.
Dr Angela Byrne speaking at the launch of Across the Waves: The Seafaring Irish exhibition
Just two days later, EPIC hosted a History Ireland Hedge School on the topic of maritime history with a panel of experts: Dr David Murphy, Prof Marie-Louise Coolahan, Dr Lar Joye and myself, chaired by Tommy Graham of History Ireland. Conversation covered everything from eighteenth-century servant girls’ letters, through Arctic exploration, to the ‘Brexit Buster’ and international shipping today.
I also had a series of four articles published in the Irish Times digital edition this month, including stories that I couldn’t fit into the Across the Waves exhibition – Irish naval officers in imperial Russia, and Dubliner Frances Stewart’s letters from Canada in the 1820s. The other two pieces focused on Waterford-born William Hobson, first Governor of New Zealand, and Belfast-born Beatrice Grimshaw, who lived in Papua New Guinea for 27 years, publishing over 40 books and living for part of the time on a canoe.
Alongside all of that, I entered the intense research phase for the third of the three exhibitions I will curate for the museum: Irish Educators Abroad: Creating Something Wonderful. I am very excited about this project – keep an eye on our website to find out when it will launch!