Abstracts (2019)

Secret Societies and Societies with Secrets



Prof Tadhg O’Keeffe

Solomonic secrets in the architectural profession? The origins of freemasonry

The Temple of Solomon was destroyed for the last time by Romans in AD70 but it has had two afterlives, one in its architectural imitation in medieval buildings and the other in myth, allegory and ritual. This paper looks at both of these, and traces the links between them. It focuses in particular on the relationship between the historical Templars of crusading fame and the imaginary Templars in freemasonry history.

Tadhg O’Keeffe specialises in European and Irish architectural history, especially of the period between the 11th and 17th centuries, but maintains a range of other interests, many of them across conventional disciplinary boundaries, and has lectured and published widely.

Dr Diarmuid Scully

Abstract – ‘The Templars: from the New Knighthood to Enemies of the Faith’

The Order of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon was founded in 1119, following the triumph of the First Crusade in 1099. The early Templars were praised as the pioneers of a New Knighthood centred in Jerusalem, a military-religious order that provided the most dedicated defenders and shock-troops of holy war against God’s enemies. But in 1312, Pope Clement V, pressurised by King Philip IV of France, dissolved the Order. The Templars were destroyed: their Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned alive in 1314, and many other Templars were also tortured and executed. The once idealised Templars were now demonised: accused of satanic idolatry and sexual depravity, in language and imagery that paralleled the most hostile medieval Christian stereotypes of Jews and Muslims. They were represented as God’s enemies: the members of a secret society and a society with the darkest of secrets.

Dr Diarmuid Scully lectures in the School of History, University College Cork. He co-teaches a First Year course on the Crusades with Dr Malgorzata D’Aughton. Topics include the early history and reputation of the Templars as well as Western views of Islam and Judaism in the Age of Crusade. Dr Scully’s research explores texts and images that construct ideas about the ‘Other’ in medieval society, including the Irish in colonial English sources.

Dr Maeve O’Riordan

This paper will explore the life and family of Elizabeth St Leger (later Aldworth), the female freemason of Doneraile Court. Little is known of Elizabeth, however this paper will attempt to place her in the context of her time, family and society.

Dr Maeve O’Riordan is Lecturer in Women’s and Cultural History at University College Cork. She is the author of Women of the Irish Country House, 1860-1914(Liverpool, 2019).

Dr David Fleming

The Youghal Hanoverian Society was one of the oldest associations of its kind in Ireland, founded at a time when the succession to the British monarchy was uncertain, with some hoping for the continuation of the Stuart line, while others recognising only the claims of the house of Hanover. The Youghal Hanoverian Society outlived the succession question, and played an important rule in the formation of protestant identity within the town. Using archival material, Dr Fleming traces its evolution and explores its secrets, setting it within its social and political contexts.

Dr David Fleming is a lecturer in history at the University of Limerick, and course director of its MA in Local History. He has published widely on eighteenth-century Irish history and is currently working on a biography of Edmund Sexten Pery, speaker of the Irish House of Commons. He is secretary of the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society and treasurer of the Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement.

Dr Jay Roszman

‘“Outrages” and Secret Societies in East Cork, 1830-1845’ explores the ways agrarian violence was an everyday part of life in pre-Famine Irish society, and how small groups banded together anonymously to resist the extending sovereignty of the United Kingdom. It explores the ways this violence was interpreted by the authorities, as well as Irish people who either obeyed the mandates of Captain Rock or suffered the consequences.  It will also probe to what extent agrarian violence was an important feature in east Cork, and why it may have been different than other parts of the co. Cork, or Munster as a whole.

Dr Jay Roszman is a lecturer in 19th Century Irish history. Originally from Vermont, Jay  completed his PhD at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He is currently completing his first book on the role Irish agrarian violence played in shaping British political culture before Famine.

Dr Kieran Groeger

Dr. Kieran Groeger This paper will explore the aftermath of the execution of King Charles in 1649 and its impact on the lives of people in Youghal as seen through the local Annals. In particular a number of families of regicides are associated with the town – Waller, Scot, Carew, Scroop, Cooke and Phayre. A number of Cromwellian soldiers were granted land while many of the dispossessed eagerly hoped for a reversal of fortune.

Kieran Groeger is a retired teacher who has been part of the Youghal Celebrates History committee since the first conference. He is the author of the Little Book of Youghal, Youghal in Old Photographs, the Youghal Heritage Trail , the Trial and Execution of James Cotter. His most recent book, the Much Maligned Mary Pike was published this year.

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