Bantry Historical Society welcomes
all with an interest in history

Local History

We are very excited with our research on the history/heritage of our local area and we are eager to share it with a wide audience. Please click on the pdf symbol to access the relevant article and enjoy the read!

Bantry Museum digitisation

Bantry Museum, located in a small building behind Bantry Fire Station in Wolfe Tone Square, Bantry, was founded by volunteers from Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society (BH&AS) to store and display BH&AS’s collection of historical artefacts. 

As well as housing physical artefacts which are viewable by the public, Bantry Museum is also the location of BH&AS’s reference library and archive, comprising multiple bookshelves filled with albums of hand-written and typed historical research, maps,  newspaper clippings, and photographs.

Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society intends to address the documentation, condition, storage, use, and accessibility of the museum’s collections.

The first stage in this project involves completing an inventory of the museum’s artefacts and documents. Over the coming months, BH&AS volunteers will digitally photograph each item,  and scan each document, and add these to a tagged and categorised and searchable online database. This database will include images of each item and details of its historical significance, as well as its age, provenance, copyright and ownership status, and condition, and other relevant information.

This online database will form part of a permanent “digital museum”, housed on BH&AS’s existing website. The digital museum will feature rotating exhibitions, which will showcase the museum collection, providing international scholars and historians with access to the detailed local research carried out over the decades by BH&AS members like Hazel Vickery, Joan O’Carroll, Paddy O’Keeffe, Donal Fitzgerald and others.

More details can be found in this introductory PDF.

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Abbey Mapping Project

As part of National Heritage Week 2021, Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society welcomed heritage newcomers to learn more about our Abbey Mapping Project by attending an online presentation over Zoom.

This project aims to document, map, geotag and photograph all the gravestones in the Abbey Graveyard, Bantry. We have engaged Eachtra Archaeological Projects to prepare a project management plan to tackle this ambitious survey, beginning with the oldest part of the graveyard, dating from the 1700s.

This project has received funding under the County Cork Heritage Grant Scheme 2021, supported by Cork County Council and the Heritage Council.

You can view the video on our YouTube channel here.

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Ellen Kate O'Sullivan

Bantry Culture & Creativity 2020  Supported by Creative Ireland/Cork Co Council.  consists of fourteen sections. Thirteen of those contain data and images relating to the relevant subject as mentioned in the various headings.  We have one section devoted to videos (8 in total).

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Words from the Past

Bantry Culture & Creativity 2020  Supported by Creative Ireland/Cork Co Council.    This is a randon collection of poetry/song written by the people of Bantry, young and old or written about Bantry.      Open the pdf and savour the varying threads of culture

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Bantry's Portrait Artist, and Cork's Stone Sculptor

Profile:  Sir William Orpen              Profile :  Seamus Murphy

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Recordings of Local Songs, Poems Stories and our Natural Heritage

Eight New Videos for you to enjoy.

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Rocky Mountain O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien with a passion for his native sod claims he was forced to emigrate because of the political situation in Ireland at the time.  We've taken a few extracts from his book 'Birth and Adoption' published in 1904. Open the pdf and enjoy the read

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Art and Creativity in Bantry Area

We dipped into the Creative side of our Bantry people over the years  And a peep at Creative and famous people who selected Bantry Bay area as their destination, and were most likely influenced by their surrounds.Open the pdf and see for yourself!

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She Painted Seaweeds from the Seashore

Ellen was an accomplished Artist as well as a famous scientist.  And most of her life was lived near the shores of inner Bantry Bay  Do take a look inside PDF button

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Máire Bhuí Ní Laoghaire

Máire Bhuí lived through the same period as Ellen Hutchins.  Two creative women, they lived within ten miles of each other, but their works tell of two different worlds!  Yet, Ellen expressed sympathy for the Irish peasants.  Open pdf

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The Amazing Story of The Priest's Leap

This story deserves greater publicity.  It's a reminder of a very different culture in Bantry area and elsewhere.  Read the Bantry-Man's verses recounting the story. 

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The Bantry Man who Saved the Irish Music

Francis O'Neill should be remembered in every parish in Ireland for his amazing work and dedication in collecting and preserving our Irish culture of song and dance music.

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More Words From The Past

We got such a huge response to our call for poetry of Bantry, that we built two collections of verses, randomely assembled.  We hope you enjoy.

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Cnuasach Chríostóir Uí Raigheallaigh

This collection of words/phrases were in everyday use, esp. in the greater Kealkill(Caorcuill) area when Christy O'Reilly was a young man.  Many of these words are remembered to this day.  Do look in and see how much you can recall?

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O'Donovans' Cove

This rather lengthy collection of seven verses was written by a young man of Muintervara who emigrated, and fared well in America.  Yet, he never forgot his homeland.  

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The Schools Collection

 This small selection of stories etc are selected from three schools that existed in Bantry town in 1937/'39, plus works from Glengarriff School. Also included are the current names of those schools. Note the huge chaange of culture since then.

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A Decade of Celebrating Heritage in Bantry

Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society is delighted to be included in Heritage Week 2020.  We looked back at all the events we have organised over the past eleven years for Heritage Week. and we were very impressed with what we have contributed to Heritage Week over the years, many years having several events.  So we are now showcasing our work and bringing our rich heritage of the Bantry area to new audiences. We have summarised our events in the pdf herewith .  We invite you, especially, to view our 2019 Project Celebrating Culture & Creativity in Bantry's 4 Valleys  in the History tab.of our website.  Here you will find in excess of 130 pages of collected material - Folklore, Poetry written by locals, stories etc of the rural hinterland of Bantry, plus five short videos.  That project was supported by the Cork Co Council/Creative Ireland Programme 2019.
Enjoy your visit to our local heritage.  We are passionate about our local heritage and would love to share it will you all.

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Celebrating Culture & Creativity of Bantry's 4 valleys - part 5

This is just one section of our 2019 project, funded by Cork Co Council Creative Ireland Funding Scheme 2019.  Included is (a) Old Irish Sayings, (b) Seanfhocail and (c) Irish Words in commom use in Bantry's Four Valleys until recent times.              17 Pages


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Celebrating Culture & Creativity of Bantry's 4 valleys - part 4

Heritage Week 2019 at Bantry Library  -  Videos of the night when natives of Bantry's Four Valleys came together to tell stories, sing songs, recite own poetry, recall founding/continuing life of local GAA Club and hear some stories written by schoolchildren who walked barefoot to school in 1937/'39 to the National Schools that were then flourishing in Bantry's Four Valleys.    7 Short Videos

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Celebrating Culture & Creativity of Bantry's 4 valleys - part 3

Here you can enjoy Irish Poems written by Kealkil man Conchubhar Ó Ruairc.  An English translation is offered.   13 Pages

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Celebrating Culture & Creativity of Bantry's 4 valleys - part 2

A selection from the collection of folklore compiled by school children in the 1930’s in the Bantry Four Valleys.   94 Pages.

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Celebrating Culture & Creativity of Bantry's 4 valleys - part 1

Poems from the Valleys  In this section of our project we have included a small selection of poems, some of which have been recited for generations in these rural areas.  These give a flavour of what life was like in the Valleys of Bantry up to mid/late 20th century, and highlights the wonderful creativity that abounded!        13 Pages

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Bantry Town Council honours Historical Society members

Bantry Town Council honours Bantry Historical & Archaeological Society members in 2013

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Cath Chéim an Fhia - Battle of Keimaneigh

From the Schools Collection:  This is a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s.

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