Religious Spaces in Transition: Symposium

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The Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick

3 Log Na gCapall

V94 NCF8 Luimneach


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Event description
This conference will explore the devotional infrastructure developed by the Roman Catholic church in Ireland between 1830 and 1930.

About this Event

Between 1830 and 1930, Irish urban and rural landscapes were transformed through the building and development activities of the Roman Catholic church. Many of the buildings constructed during this period are still actively used, while others are currently undergoing changes of use, or are falling into ruin. These include schools, convents, churches, recreational spaces and monasteries. This poses a challenge for the communities associated with these buildings, as well as for architectural historians, urban planners and heritage managers.

This symposium will bring together researchers, heritage professionals, and architects who work with the buildings produced by the Roman Catholic church in Ireland between 1830 and 1930. It will also bring together those who continue to use the buildings as active spaces of worship, and those who use the buildings in new ways. The aim of this symposium is to share current research and practice, and to begin to collaboratively map a research agenda for this area going forward.

Symposium Schedule

9.30am – 9.45am – Welcome and introduction (Dr Niamh NicGhabhann, University of Limerick)

9.45 – 10.50 – Keynote address (Dr Sarah Roddy, University of Manchester, followed by Q&A)

Keynote title: ‘Pray for the Donor: Money and the material in Irish Catholic Church interiors’

Dr Sarah Roddy is Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish History at the University of Manchester, author of Population, Providence, and Empire: The Churches ad Emigration from Nineteenth-century Ireland (Manchester UP, 2014) and co-author of The Charity Market and Humanitarianism in Britain, 1870-1912 (Bloomsbury, 2018). Her work on money and Irish Catholicism has been funded by a UK Economic and Social Research Council ‘Future Research Leaders’ grant (2016-2019).

10.50 – 11.10 – Coffee break

11.10 – 1pm – Session 1 – current research perspectives on the devotional infrastructure of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, c. 1830 – 1950

(Chair – Dr Patrick Doyle, University of Manchester)

11.10 – 11.30: Dr Richard Butler, University of Leicester: ‘Creating a new Catholic religious space: Galway jail, ‘difficult’ heritage, and the legacies of the Maamtrasna Murders, 1882-2020’

Richard Butler is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Richard publishes on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish urban history, and especially public and religious architecture in Irish cities and towns. In February 2020 he will be starting a new two-year AHRC-funded project on the twentieth-century urban history of religion in Cork and Waterford cities. His first monograph, Building the Irish Courthouse and Prison: a Political History, 1750-1850, will be published by Cork University Press in April 2020.

11.30 – 11.50: Dr Danielle O’Donovan, Programme Manager, Nano Nagle Place, Cork. ‘Old teaching spaces to new kinds of learning places: the transformation of South Presentation Convent from from a formal to an informal learning environment’

Dr Danielle O’Donovan is an architectural historian with research interests in Gothic Architecture, medieval Ireland, heritage and 21st-century learning. She publishes on Irish Gothic architecture and learning in the historic environment. She is Programme Manager at Nano Nagle Place, a multi award winning redeveloped convent and school site in Cork City centre.

11.50 – 12.20: Dr Gillian O’Brien, Liverpool John Moores University: ‘Convents: The Afterlife’

Dr Gillian O’Brien, Reader in Modern Irish History, Liverpool John Moores University. O’Brien has worked as the historical advisor for the development of Fortress Spike Island, Co. Cork; Nano Nagle Place, Cork; Edmund Rice Heritage Centre, Waterford and the redevelopment of Kilmainham Gaol and Courthouse, Dublin. She has published widely and is the author of Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago and co-editor (with Finola O’Kane) of Georgian Dublin and Portraits of the City: Dublin and the Wider World. She is currently completing a book on Dark Tourism in Ireland and working on a collaborative project (with Jessie Castle): ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ which examines the hitherto overlooked role played by female religious orders as they commissioned, designed and re-appropriated buildings, creating sites of architectural and cultural significance in pre-Catholic Emancipation Ireland (1775-1829).

12.20 – 12.40: Jessie Castle, ‘Bricks and Mortar – Irish Convent Buildings of the 19th Century.’

Jessie Castle is an architectural historian working as an historic building consultant with JCA Architects in Cork. Through her work in JCA, Jessie has been involved in numerous projects involving religious buildings, including the redevelopment of the South Presentation Convent in Cork, now known as Nano Nagle Place. Jessie is currently a Visiting Research Fellow with the School of Humanities and Social Science at Liverpool John Moores University, where her research is focused on the architecture and material culture of the Penal Law era convents in Ireland.

12.40 – 1pm: Q&A and discussion

1pm – 2pm – lunch (provided)

2-3.30 pm – Future research mapping session – stakeholders/ questions/ methodologies/ approaches

With input from all participants, including Dr Lisa Godson, National College of Art and Design, Dr Patrick Doyle, University of Manchester, and Dr Caroline McGee, Trinity College Dublin.

3.30 – 3.50 – tea and coffee break

3.50 –4.20 bus to Limerick city to visit the John Henry Newman campus, Mary Immaculate College – bus provided (estimated journey time 30 minutes).

4.20 – 5.10 – tour of the John Henry Newman campus

5.10 – 5.50 – Tea and coffee, with a response to the day from Professor John McCafferty, University College Dublin and Dr Joseph MacMahon OFM on positioning these future research directions in the context of current research on Roman Catholicism at present.

5.50 – 6.00 – Close of the symposium.

This event is free, but booking is essential in order to facilitate catering and transport.

This project has been funded under Strand 2 (Knowledge Exchange for Impact) of the New Foundations Scheme by the Irish Research Council. The support of the Irish Research Council is gratefully acknowledged.

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The Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick

3 Log Na gCapall

V94 NCF8 Luimneach


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