The Society is governed by a Council (company directors) elected annually at the Annual General Meeting in March. All administrative positions in the Society are honorary and voluntary. The Hon. Secretary is also the Company Secretary. In 1989, the Society was reconstituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee under the Companies Acts registered in Ireland – Number IE-148166.
The Cork Historical and Archaeological Society was founded in 1891 at a particularly divisive time in Irish politics. Its members, drawn from diverse traditions, were united in a common interest in the history and prehistory of Cork and the new Society was welcomed as an augury of a more harmonious Ireland. Information about Past Presidents, Honorary Secretaries, Honorary Treasurers, Honorary Editors and Honorary Organisers is now being collated.
Its first meeting resolved that its objectives “shall be the collection and diffusion of all available information regarding the past of the city and county of Cork”. Accordingly, the first number of the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society was issued in 1892 and has been regularly published ever since. The Society also publishes indexes of the Journal; these are available for purchase from the Hon. Treasurer.
For over 100 years scholars of many disciplines have contributed authoritative articles for publication in the Journal on a wide range of topics including archaeology, folklore, genealogy, geography, the Irish language and political, social and economic history. The Journal has, of course, evolved over the decades, its original antiquarian interests yielding to a more rigorous modern scholarship. It remains an indispensable resource for anyone — academic, generalist or local historian — with an interest in Cork’s past. The Society is now working on digitising the back issues of the Journal in the Digital JCHAS project.
Field trips and lectures
In accordance with its objectives, the Society organises events including a summer programme of visits to places of archaeological and historical interest, the first such recorded outing being to Little Island on Whit Monday, 1914 by waggonette (during World War II, members travelled by bicycle). There is also a winter series of lectures which are open to the public, free of charge.
Despite its commitment to the study of Cork’s past, the Society has always recognised the need to change. In 1989, for instance, it altered its status to that of a company limited by guarantee. Latterly, it has used modern technology to further its aims with the first volume of the Journal (1892) being published on CD-ROM as a Millennium project. The digitisation of its back journals is now complete; the content of which, in accordance with the Society’s public service ethos, will be accessible online free of charge.
The Society in furtherance of its commitment to the study of local history and archaeology has also recently established a scheme of research grants to support small projects involving archaeological or historical research.
That the Society has survived two world wars, the War of Independence, the Civil War and many other less dramatic difficulties, is due to the support of its members and the entirely voluntary work of its members, Presidents, Council and Honorary Officers. It has also benefited greatly from its long-established links with civic and scholarly institutions of Cork. Dating back to the time of Queen’s College, Cork, the Society has had links with members of the staff of UCC, particularly, but not only, in the Departments of Archaeology, History and Irish. Currently, it also receives an annual grant from Cork City Council.
Current Membership of Council (Directors/ Charity Trustees) (2020-21)
|President:||Dr Griffin Murray|
|Vice-Presidents:||Ms Ciara Brett|
|Dr Kevin Murray|
|Dr Dagmar O’Riain|
|Mr John Sheehan|
|Hon. Secretary:||Ms Mary Lombard|
|Hon. Treasurer:||Mr Liam Ronayne|
|Hon. Editor:||Dr Andrew McCarthy|
|Hon. Organiser:||Mr Florence Hurley|
|Council Members:||Mr William Casey|
|Ms Catherine P. McCarthy|
|Ms Ann Egan|
|Dr John Herbert|
|Mr Niall Murray|
|Ms Aislinn Collins|
CRO-registered Office – 5 Lapps Quay, Cork. The Society is a Registered Charity.
If you wish to contact the Society, please use the contact form.
This article is copyright © CHAS 2021