Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society Webinar Series

Rob McGuire is bringing his film documentary and findings on ‘The Castle of the Island’ to a new platform.
Marie O’Sullivan telling us about the new technological departure for the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society.    ©Photograph: John Reidy

I mentioned here in early May that the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society had digitised all of its publications namely the Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society and The Kerry Magazine.

The society made them available on their new website at the address below.

At that time also the society suspended all of its activities, due to the prevailing pandemic.

Former society president Marie O’Sullivan has been in touch with the good news that, as of Tuesday, July 28th 2020, the society’s programme of events will be up and running again, albeit through a very different medium.

A Series Of Webinars

“Due to the Covid 19 restrictions, it will not be possible for the society to convene lectures/talks at venues throughout the county, as has been the norm since 1967, when the it was first founded,” said Marie.

Now, under, the watchful eye of Currow native Robert McGuire, archaeologist turned primary teacher, the society is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a series of webinars for its members over the coming months.

“Interested society members will be emailed a ‘Zoom link’ in advance of each webinar, which will allow them to participate in the event,” she said.

Valid Email Address Needed

“If members are not available on the night, the Webinars will be available for viewing subsequently through the members’ area of the society website.

Marie is stressing that members will not be able to avail of either the Webinars or to access the members’ area if the society is not in possession of a valid email address for each member. Therefore, she is appealing to every member to please email their details to, so that the database can be updated and thereby ensuring that as many members as possible can access the service.

The Castle of the Island Society

“The Webinar series will kick off on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 7.30pm with a talk by Robert McGuire, which will focus on Castleisland Castle,” Marie continued.

“Robert is a founder of the voluntary group The Castle of the Island Society and its members will release a documentary on the history of the castle later this year.

“The Castle, its history and structure has long been a passion of Robert’s and his lecture will focus on his recent research into creating an accurate interpretation of the physical remains of this Desmond castle.

A First for the Society

“Detailed plans and elevations of the buildings within the castle complex will be presented on the night.

“Additionally, the role of the Manor of the Island will be examined. This is a first not only for the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, but for Robert himself as it is the first time that he will

speak in depth about his recent research and conclusions on the physical layout of the Castle of the Island.

The Cantillons of North Kerry

“The second webinar of the series will be broadcast on August 18th 2020 at 7.30pm.

This time Bryan MacMahon will speak on ‘The Cantillons of North Kerry and their French Connection.’

“The speaker Bryan Mac Mahon is a retired teacher and a widely published local historian.

“The talk will cover the history and folklore associated with the Norman family, who achieved great prominence in North Kerry from the 13th century onwards.

Soldiers And Speculators

“It is a story of soldiers and speculators, bards and bankers, saints and scribes. The talk will centre on three prominent individuals, including Ballyheigue-born Richard Cantillon who achieved fame as a millionaire in France in the early-1700s.

“He made his fortune as a banker and speculator, and wrote a seminal book on economics. He has been called ‘the greatest economist of all’ and the Irish Times has a column named in his honour. “Another Cantillon of Kerry descent was a supporter of Napoleon who made a notorious assassination attempt on the Duke of Wellington in 1818.

A Journalist and A Poet

“Finally, Thomas de Cantillon Church was a journalist and poet in Kerry in the 1860s who championed the rights of tenants and denounced landlordism.

“Then on September 24th Dr. Michael Connolly, county archaeologist will speak on ‘The Portal Tombs at Killocloghane’ – Kerry’s earliest structures.

Marie concluded by advising that full details of these and further webinars will be available in due course on