Select Page

By DFAT Historian-in-Residence Dr Angela Byrne

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.

November was a month of celebrations, and sharing my research with many different audiences – a part of my job that I really enjoy.

The biggest news this month was the launch of the temporary exhibition ‘Blazing a Trail: Lives and Legacies of Irish Diaspora Women’, a collaboration between EPIC, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Herstory. The exhibition tells the stories of 21 trailblazing Irish diaspora women in the sciences, sports, politics and women’s suffrage, humanitarian work and the arts.

The exhibition was very well-received, and I was invited to give interviews on LMFM, Highland Radio, and RTE 1. I also published a series of four articles in the Irish Times digital edition on Annie Besant, Flora Sandes, Fanny Durack and Josephine Hart. Sandes and Hart didn’t make the final shortlist for the exhibition, but I very much wanted to share their stories.

Annie Besant, original portrait by Szabolcs Kariko

My second book was launched on 7 November, A Scientific, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales, 1806–1807, published by Routledge for the Hakluyt Society. Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society kindly hosted the event in their eighteenth-century building, which is home to Ireland’s first ever purpose-built museum.

L–R: Dr Gloria Clifton, Hakluyt Society series editor; Dr Angela Byrne; Dr Jim Bennett, President of the Hakluyt Society.

On 14 November, I was privileged to give a talk in the Royal Irish Academy as part of their ‘Prodigies of Learning’ series. I spoke about Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova, the first woman to be made an Honorary Member of the Academy. You can listen back to my talk here.

Keep an eye on our EPIC stories to see what Angela gets up to next.