A large crowd attended the launch of the 13th edition of the Co Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Society Journal in the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown, on Friday, May 27th.
The journal was first launched in 1986 and is published biennially. The new publication is the biggest of the 13 journals that have been produced: it contains 164 pages and has a colour section for the first time.
There are more than 40 articles, including a special section devoted to the commemoration of the 1916 Rising.
The cover has illustrations of four men from the Roscommon area who were associated with the War of Independence – Ballymoe’s Eamonn Ceannt, Castlerea’s Fr. Michael O’Flanagan, Ballaghaderreen’s Frank Shouldice and Boyle’s Paddy Moran – all of whom are profiled in the book.
Other features include a piece on Roscommon’s literary heritage and an article about Sir William Wilde, Oscar Wilde’s father.
James Hoban, the editor, said that he had been involved with the journal from its earliest years, and that it was his pleasure to be associated with it in 2016, given the historical relevance at national and international level.
“Our historical journal has become important in academic circles, and it now very satisfying to see copies of it on the shelves of our third-level institutions, where it is being used for reference and research purposes,” he said.
“The research has been pursued with a relentless application to detail and a varied presentation of the facts.”
Mr. Hoban said that he hoped that the journal did some justice to the “rich historical tapestry that is Co. Roscommon”.
“We have endeavoured to capture the hopes, joys, trials, tribulations and disappointments of a people, whether at home or abroad,” he added.
“It is, we hope, a testimony to a proud people who lived, laughed, loved, worked and played together within the heart of Ireland.”
There are 45 permanent members of the society, which was originally formed in 1905 but has been in existence in its modern inception since 1982.
Jim Ganly, its president, said that the society had grown since its reorganisation in 1982, which was reflected in the size of this year’s journal.
“The journal is, as always, a platform for local historians to share the fruits of their research,” he said.
“We enjoy a very loyal group of people who submit articles down through the years and there have been some very interesting articles, both on local history and archaelogy, and we are very grateful for their efforts.”
The journal was launched by May Moran, a niece of Paddy Moran, who fought in the Jacob’s Mills during the Rising. She wrote a definitive account of his life, called Executed for Ireland, in 2010.
“I am deeply honoured to launch this book,” Ms. Moran, a retired primary school teacher from Crossna in Boyle, said.
“The journal is, as usual, a very impressive piece of work, and I salute the committee and all the contributors for the very fine production that it is.
“The variety of articles is truly impressive.”
The book, priced at €15, is now on sale in many bookshops in Co. Roscommon.