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Museum announces details of university Local History course

 Museum announces details of university Local History course



Louth’s County Museum in Dundalk leading the way in encouraging the talents of local historians with the announcement that it is to facilitate a course leading to a National University of Ireland (NUI) Certificate in Local History.


The Certificate in Local History is offered by the Department of History, NUI Maynooth through the university’s Department of Adult & Community Education.


Basing the course in the Dundalk Museum means that people in the North and North East can enrol without having to worry about lengthy return car, bus and train journeys to Kildare .

The 100 hour course will commence on Tuesday, October 1st and will continue  on a weekly, three hour class basis with  a number of associated field trips also involved.


The Certificate course content will include

-        The concept and meaning of local history - central themes and challenges of local history as a field of study;

-        Main approaches to writing local history;

-        Introduction to some of the principal sources for local and family history, including guided visits to major repositories;

-        Instruction and practice in the assessment of source material and the written presentation of research.



Those interested in taking part in the course should hold an interest in local/family history together with an indication of capacity for the course. It is not necessary to hold formal qualifications (such as Leaving Certificate) for admission. Participants must be aged 23 years or over on 1 January this year.


Course Leader, published historian Donal Hall said of the course “The ultimate aim is for each student to produce a 10,000 word original piece of historic research to academic standards.

“It is an extremely interesting stand- alone course but is also a valuable asset if people are interested in taking their studies further.

“What I want is to let students explore certain aspects of local history to see if this history defined a country, or in some situations if it did not show on a national scale, then why not?”

Speaking on the announcement of the Museum’s facilitation of the course, curator Brian Walsh said:

“There is an amazing and growing interest in where we have all come from, whether it has to do with family, or the town or county we are from, the industries that made our home and the people in it the place it is.


“This Certificate in Local History will help prevent enthusiasts from becoming overwhelmed in their research and offer them really useful tools to work with. It will not be a county specific course, so whether you are from Louth, Monaghan, Meath, Down or Amagh it doesn’t matter. If it’s easier for you to complete the course in Dundalk than travel to Maynooth then it is certainly worth taking a look at.


“In addition, if students wish to take their studies further then the course will earn them valuable credits in a number of ways.”

For further information on the NUI Certificate in Local History taking place in the County Museum, Dundalk please contact: Brian Walsh, Curator, County Museum Dundalk at 042 9392999 or e-mail info@dundalkmuseum.ie


The County Museum in Dundalk is fast gaining an enviable reputation as a leader in local history development, last year featuring many Louth sportspeople in the ‘Patriot Games – Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010’, currently supporting The Louth Gathering History Project, as well as organising upcoming exhibitions looking at a changing Dundalk and also on the life of one of Dundalk’s legends George Casey.


A number of local history related projects will be based in the County Museum this summer


Dundalk Walking Tours

A series of walking tours of Dundalk will take place over the coming month. 

Starting on Tuesday July 9th from the carpark outside the Green Church at 11am, the tour will take in the Church itself and will include along its route St. Leonard’s Gardens, the Courthouse, St. Patrick’s Cathedral before stopping at the Museum itself. 

Conducted by members of the Museum’s staff the tour will be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and will last approximately 90 minutes.  A nominal fee of €1 will be charged and the tour is open to all.  A minimum number of participants will be required and all tours are weather permitting. 

Brian Walsh explained “the tour offers a great opportunity for visitors and locals alike to see the manner and nature in which the town has developed over time.  The town is a veritable treasure trove of historical incident and event, all located in a very compact area.”  Tours will commence at the Green Church at 11.00 am Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays subject to group size and weather.  Pre-booking is required.  Bookings and more information about the tours and may be had by contacting the Museum at 042 9392999. 



My Town, My Story

Louth photographer Ken Finegan is currently completing his work on an exhibition under the working title “My Town, My Story”  in which he is capturing past images of Dundalk taken in the exact spot from where the original photographs were taken, in some cases including some well known local faces.

What may seem to some as a straightforward exhibition is turning up fascinating stories as Ken explained

“I’ve been looking at Dundalk’s industries, well known buildings and popular locations. The people that are featured in the photographs all have links with the location be it in the past or present.

“Years may have passed and areas at first glance may seem completely different but then you notice a tree, or a railing, or a building in the background which is also in the older photograph.

“Also the stories and recollections I am hearing from these people are amazing, proving the point that every picture does tell a story or, as I am finding out, numerous stories.”


Dundalk Characters

An exhibition of the life of a number of Dundalk characters including “Wee Georgie” Casey and Australian Barry Evans will open at the Museum in August.

“Wee Georgie” walked the streets of Dundalk with his life’s belongings in a wheelbarrow for many years. Reported to be 111 years old when died, he was buried in an unmarked grave for many years until a fundraising scheme led by Rev Stanley Millen a number of years ago saw a headstone purchased to mark his place of burial.

Rev Millen was also involved in erecting a headstone for Barry Evans, an Australian who made Dundalk his home from the late 1970s to mid 1980s.

He built for himself a metal shoe shaped box which he secured to a pillar at the Old Louth Hospital, now part of Dundalk Grammar School and for a time lived there with his dog.

He died in 1986, aged 43 and is buried close to “Wee Georgie in” St Patrick’s Cemetery.


Louth Gathering History

The successful Louth Gathering History project is also continuing at the County Museum. Louth emigrants returning to their native land for The Gathering take part in an audio interview in the Museum. If you are from Co Louth, living abroad and would like to be a part of the project please contact info@gatheringhistory.com.

ENDS – Friday, June 28th, 2013

Media contact: Anne-Marie Eaton, Bance Nolan Ltd., Dundalk. 087 2302062