Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Friday, January 19, 2018

Lecture: Niall Byrne's contribution to forging medieval Waterford's historical identity

Niall Byrne's contribution to forging medieval Waterford's historical identity

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society’s lecture season for 2017 and 2018 continues on Friday 26th January with a lecture by Waterford-born historian and author Michael Byrne.

Niall Byrne (1934-2012) practiced as a veterinary surgeon in Waterford and South Kilkenny in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. In the early years of his retirement he returned to academic study, taking an undergraduate degree in theology as well as a Master's degree and doctorate in history from UCC.  He then published four books of original scholarship about medieval Waterford.  His major contribution was to translate, annotate and provide a commentary on "The Great Parchment Book of Waterford", a history of the city compiled from original records between the mid-fifteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries.  Niall also wrote a history of the Knights Templar and other religious orders in the south-east of Ireland; a history of Waterford's medieval leper hospital and the later County and City Infirmary; and an account of a chantry chapel built in Waterford Cathedral in the 1470s.  In this lecture Niall's son, Michael Byrne, will summarise the work done by his father in these four books and will outline their enduring importance in forging Waterford's historical identity.

Michael Byrne was born in Waterford in 1959 and has lived in London for the last thirty years.  A former accountant, banker, and managing partner of a number of headhunting companies, he now works in the voluntary sector on a number of environmental and other projects.  He studied at Trinity College Dublin and also holds Master's degrees from London and Cambridge universities and a PhD in history from London.  A fellow of Birkbeck College London and a former magistrate and university governor, Michael Byrne has published four books of history and historical biography.

This lecture will be of interest to anyone interested in Waterford’s medieval history and historiography. Admission to the lecture is €5 (students €2.50), but is free for members of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. 

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