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Decade Of Centenaries

The events of the decade between 1913 and 1923 were momentous and defining ones. It was the decade that influenced relationships for a generation and was a period which saw the achievement of Irish independence and the foundation of our State.

It was also a period of transformation and cultural renewal in Irish society, following on electoral reform, land reform, education reform and migration. The demand for constitutional change was in parallel with the assertion of workers’ rights and women’s rights.

The decade was one of the most momentous of modern Irish history and justifies a comprehensive commemorative programme that recognises its importance, acknowledges the achievements of its generation and enhances the understanding today of the events that shaped our society.

 Schools Essay Competition 2022

Schools Essay Competition

Westmeath County, as part of its Decade of Centenaries Programme invites entries to a new essay competition open to all senior cycle students. The competition criteria are as follows:

  • Topic: Westmeath during the War of Independence (1919-1921) and/or Civil War (1922-1923). Contributors are asked to write about any aspect of that period in Westmeath's history. Contributors may concentrate on a particular person, group, organisation, place or event. Apart from political and military topics, contributions on cultural, social and sporting topics are welcome.
  • Word count: Essays are to be a minimum of 1,000 words and a maximum of 1,100 words. Essays outside that range will be ineligible.
  • File Format: Entries must be submitted as a Word document. File formats such as PowerPoint and PDF will not be accepted. Images will not be accepted.
  • Sources: Contributors must include, at the bottom of each essay, a brief list of sources relevant to their essay. This list will not form part of the essay word count.
  • Competition entry: Open to all senior cycle students. Only one entry is allowed per student.
  • Prize(s): A book token to the value of €200 will be awarded to the winner of First Place. The Second Place entry will receive a book token to the value of €150 and the Third Place entry will receive a book token to the value of €100.
  • Publication of First Place entry: The First Place essay will - subject to meeting the requisite quality standards - be published in the Westmeath Independent, Westmeath Examiner and on Westmeath County Council's Decade of Centenaries blog - http://www.westmeathcoco.ie/decadeofcentenaries. Westmeath County Council reserves the right to publish selected entries on their website.

Deadline for entries: 5pm, Thursday 3 November.

Submission of entries: Entries must be submitted by email to historian@westmeathcoco.ie as a single Word document. File formats such as PowerPoint and PDF will not be accepted. Images will not be accepted.

Assessment Panel: All entries will be assessed against the competition criteria by a panel of adjudicators. The panel's verdict is final and no correspondence shall be entered into regarding individual competition entries. The competition results will be announced to the public on 25 November 2022. Only competition winners will be individually notified.


Historian In Residence

As part of the Westmeath County Council Decade of Centenaries programme, applications were invited for two four-month residencies under the Historian in Residence Grant Scheme 2022, supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport, Media, and the Gaeltacht.

The aim of the programme in Westmeath is to mark the centenaries within the county in the most appropriate fashion. The intention is to create a legacy of research and/or cultural material for future generations which can be accessed online and may be complimented by print material.

Ian Kenneally has been reappointed Historian in Residence for the period from August until November 2022. The residency is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media’s Decade of Centenaries Programme, in partnership with Westmeath County Council.

Ian Kenneally is an author and historian. His publications include ‘The Paper Wall: Newspapers and Propaganda in Ireland, 1919-1921’ and ‘From the Earth, a Cry: The Story of John Boyle O'Reilly’, among others. He was editor of the very popular 'Revolution Papers' series and he has contributed to a wide range of newspapers, documentaries and publications such as the 'Atlas of the Irish Revolution'. Among his most recent projects are a history of the Technological University of the Shannon and an online exhibition - everest1921.com - which charts the 1921 reconnaissance mission to Tibet led by Charles Howard-Bury of Belvedere House near Mullingar. He has researched and scripted many documentaries, which have been broadcast on stations such as Midlands 103 and RTÉ Radio One, among others in Ireland and abroad. He has also contributed to television documentaries on BBC and TG4.

Ian, who lives near Mount Temple, has studied and written about Westmeath during the Civil War and he will ensure that the commemorative programme continues to focus on the county during 1922. The Historian in Residence can be contacted at historian@westmeathcoco.ie. More details on the Historian in Residence project can be found on Westmeath County Council’s website: https://www.westmeathcoco.ie/decadeofcentenaries. The blog, which has been running since 2020, contains a wealth of articles and videos about Westmeath during the years 1919-1922.


Creative Practitioner in Residence

Westmeath County Council, with funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s Decade of Centenaries Programme, has appointed film makers Bailey and Blake as Creative Practitioner in Residence. They will work on a project that aims to collect memories, especially those of War of Independence and Civil War period, that might have been handed down within families.

Oliver Fallen from Bailey and Blake the Creator in Residence for Westmeath and is keen to set out across the county to meet with people willing to chat, and encourage some to be recorded, and help others who might be interested to take up the challenge to record their peers and friends.

“To do this I want to meet up with interested people engaged with older people, where I can show the basics of interviewing, e.g. the questions to ask and then when recorded, show them the way of using those memories to make stories for their friends and family if they wish to. I want to also point out how valuable these memories are, not only for their relatives today, but for generations of their families, as well as many others, curious of a world they would only be able to read about. These memories are also important for professional historians to listen to what people are saying about these two important times in Irish history - the War of Independence and the Civil War and how they were seen and experienced by people in every part of Westmeath”.

We hope some interviews might be sent to the National Folklore Collection in UCD, and to interact with the RTE/Folklore Oral history project currently being run with the Folklore and Scratch Films.

Oliver Fallen Creator in Residence Westmeath and Co-director of Bailey and Blake Productions

tel: 0872539010

email: oliverfallenbailey@gmail.com


Follow the Decade of Centenaries blog, which has been running since 2020 and contains a wealth of articles and videos about Westmeath during the years 1919-1922 here: https://www.westmeathcoco.ie/en/ourservices/planning/conservationheritage/decadeofcentenariesblog/

For more information on the Decade of Centenaries Programme see https://www.decadeofcentenaries.com or email commemorations@chg.gov.ie