"Return to Tipperary" Weekend
3rd December 2022
By Michele Rainger
Céad mile fáilte (A hundred thousand welcomes)
‘There are no strangers here only friends you haven’t met yet’. William Butler Yeats
(Quotes from the Program)
On the weekend of 18 to 20 November 2022 nearly 100 Irish History enthusiasts from across NSW, the ACT, SA and QLD gathered at St Clements Galong to Return to Tipperary for a few days.
A packed program saw attendees assemble at 8.30 each morning and continue well after dinner. The biggest complaint at the end of the weekend was that attendees didn’t have enough time to catch up and talk to each other.
Irish Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Tim Mawe, who was born in Tipperary, joined us for the weekend with his wife Patricia McCarthy. Patricia gave a very personal presentation from ‘ both sides of the reading room desk’ reflecting about her time as an archivist in Cork and as a family historian researching her own family connections.
We heard from a wide array of speakers including Dr Mathew Trinca, Director National Museum of Australia; Dr Perry McIntyre on Irish immigration; Dr Jeff Kildea on writing and publishing family history; and Dr Jeff Brownrigg, Dr Richard Reid and Cheryl Mongan who all need no introduction to students of Irish History in the Yass and Canberra regions.
FHACT members Cheryl Bollard, Dorothy Brownrigg, Barbara Moore and Peter Mayberry all presented sessions showcasing the diversity of resources available to support research into Irish connections, and the talent that we have to draw upon within our Society.
We were also treated to some beautiful musical interludes in the Irish tradition by Yass-based composer and folk singer Daniel Kelly.
The presentations during the weekend covered a broad sweep of historical connections between Ireland and Australia, and included a number of smaller projects to research and document specific aspects of this connection. But there were several clear and interconnected themes that were repeated many times during the weekend that underpinned the sessions:
- As we navigate the rapid changes to technology, industries, and societal patterns that have been caused by increasing inter-connectivity and smart automation in the 21st century (often referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution), how do we anchor ourselves in our past to help us make sense of the present and the future;
- How do historians reconcile different peoples and cultures to understand our shared history and build on what has gone before;
- How do we understand the places and objects of the lives of our ancestors to build their stories;
- How story telling is paramount to engaging others and being able to share what we know about our own families and the places they inhabited; and
- A well-researched and documented local or family history is just as important as a national treasure.
A huge congratulations to the organising team Richard Reid, Cheryl Mongan and Sue Pillans for a wonderful weekend.
Dr Mathew Trinca, Director National Museum of Australia, gave the Opening Address