Talks 2020

Lectures and talks take place at 7.30pm in the Helen Roe Theatre, which is in the basement of Society House, 63 Merrion Square, unless otherwise indicated. All are welcome to attend.

3 February 2020
The nineteenth-century suburbs of Monkstown and Glasthule; the impact of estate management on their design and formation
Dr Laura Johnstone, UCD

2 March 2020
Embodying the past: commemorating history through the arts
Dr Kelly Fitzgerald (RSAI), Ms Valerie Connor (Curator), Ms Louise Lowe (ANU Productions), Dr Brenda Malone (NMI)

6 April 2020
Crafting connections: domestic building in Dublin in the eighteenth century
Dr Melanie Hayes, Irish Research Council Laureate Project Fellow, CRAFTVALUE

11 May 2020
Grandeur and Decline: Henrietta Street and the making of Dublin’s Tenements 1800-1900
Dr Timothy Murtagh, TCD

7 September 2020
Panel discussion on National Monument Acts
with Ms Maeve Sikora (NMI), Mr Michael McDonagh (Chief Archaeologist, NMS), Mr Sean Kirwan (NMS), Ms Philippa Barry (Archaeologist, RSAI Joint Honorary General Secretary)

5 October 2020
From molecules to monuments: seeking the passage tomb people
Dr Jessica Smyth, UCD

2 November 2020
The lost Church of St Peter and the “Duiblinn”
Mr Paul Duffy, IAC Archaeology

Lectures 2020

Lectures and talks take place at 7.30pm in the Helen Roe Theatre, which is in the basement of Society House, 63 Merrion Square, unless otherwise indicated. All are welcome to attend.


23 January 2020
Rags, riches and recycling: material and visual culture of the Dublin Society 1731-1781
Dr Claudia Kinmonth, RIA

20 February 2020
Archaeological excavations at South Main Street, Cork: Hiberno-Norse to Beamish brewery
Dr Maurice F. Hurley, Archaeologist

26 March 2020
The annual Próinséas Ní Chatháin Lecture
Cnuasaigh de laoithe fiannaíochta i lámhscríbhinní iarchlasaiceacha na Gaeilge
Dr Síle Ní Mhurchú, UCC

23 April 2020
Saluting Ireland’s Antarctic explorers
Mr Michael Smith. author, polar historian & journalist

21 May 2020  Annual Helen Roe Lecture
Early Irish sculpture and the art of the high crosses
Prof. Roger Stalley, Fellow Emeritus, TCD

24 September 2020
Remembering Henry Joy
Prof. Jim Smyth, University of Notre Dame

22 October 2020 Annual Frank Mitchell Lecture
Forty years on: ‘The Irish Landscape’ revisited
Dr John Feehan, UCD

26 November 2020
Social life in Pre-Reformation Dublin, 1450–1540
Dr Peadar Slattery, Historian, RSAI Member

10 December 2020
Investigating ancient foodways through environmental archaeology
Dr Meriel McClatchie, UCD


Stones, Slabs and Seascapes: George Victor du Noyer’s Images of Ireland – the exhibition featuring notebooks and volumes from the RSAI Collection on view in Crawford Art Gallery, Cork 17 November 2017 – 24 February 2018

The exhibition, featuring over 150 watercolours and drawings, celebrates Du Noyer’s extraordinary achievements and commemorate the bi-centenary of his birth. Opening to the public on 17 November, the exhibition is curated by Peter Murray, former Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, in collaboration with Petra Coffey, RSAI Member, and Geological Survey Ireland. Stones, Slabs and Seascapes will feature loans from the collections of the Royal Irish Academy, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, National Museum of Ireland, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Geological Survey Ireland and National Archives. All welcome!

The exhibition continues until 24 February 2018.

Curated by Peter Murray

Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork
T: +353 (0)21 480 5042

Celebrating 100 years of Society House

24 January 2018, marks one hundred years since the RSAI’s inaugural event in 63 Merrion Square. It has been our home ever since. As the saying goes, ‘if these walls could talk…’!

The event featured lectures, a reception and even a performance of Irish music. The official report read:

The first Session of the Society in the new home acquired and fitted up during 1917 was opened by a Reception and Conversazione in the evening of Thursday, 24 January, 1918. The guests were received by the President, Mr T.J. Westropp, the Honorary Officers and Members of the Council. About three hundred members and their friends were present. The house, which had been tastefully decorated by the committee of ladies in charge of the arrangements, was open throughout for the inspection of members. On the ground-floor are the office, a commodious reading-room and gentlemen’s cloak-room and lavatories ; on the mezzanine floor is a handsome vestibule, off which is the ladies’ writing-room with lavatories ; on the first floor two large rooms provide suitable accommodation for the Society’s ordinary meetings. Portion of the upper-floors has been fitted up as a residential flat ; the rooms retained for the Society have been fitted as a library and contain the books presented by Dr F. Elrington Ball, Fellow, to whom the Society is indebted not only for this valuable collection, but for all the library equipment, of which he bore the entire cost. On this occasion the reading-room on the ground-floor was set apart for refreshments, and the rooms on the first floor were reserved for lectures and a programme of Irish music. The other rooms were devoted to exhibits of antiquities, many of them of great value and interest, lent by members ; a list will be found elsewhere.[i] Specimens from the unique collection of rubbings of early Irish inscribed and decorated sepulchral slabs, presented by Mr H.S. Crawford, were hung on the walls of the library.

In the course of the evening a lecture on Sepulchral-Brasses, of which representative rubbings were exhibited, was given by Professor R.A.S. Macalister, Vice-President, and a lecture on Antiquities of the Southern and Western Coasts of Ireland, illustrated by lantern views from the collection of slides made for the Society from the negatives of the late Sir R.S. Ball, Astronomer-Royal, through the courtesy of Lady Ball was given by Mr John Cooke, Vice-President.

Not the least interesting feature of this very successful Conversazione was the Irish music, both vocal and instrumental, of which an attractive programme was arranged by Mrs R.I. Best. It included a string-quartet and violin and piano solos. For this the following ladies and gentlemen very kindly gave their services – Miss Kathleen Roddy, Miss E. Alton, Miss F. Tomlinson, Miss Alice Griffith, Miss D. Alton, Miss Rachel Levin, Mr T.W. Hall, and Mr C.W. Wilson.[ii]

[i] “Proceedings”, JRSAI, xlvii, 1918, pp 107-09.

[ii] Ibid., pp 86-7.

Darkest Dublin

The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (RSAI) is one of Ireland’s premier learned societies. Established in 1849 with the aim to ‘preserve, examine all ancient monuments and memorials of the arts, manners and customs of the past, as connected with the antiquities language, literature and history of Ireland’, our ethos has always been non-sectarian and non-political, and membership is socially inclusive.

With our roots in recording sites and monuments, and in the practical repair and conservation of historic buildings, today the Society continues many of the activities that were initiated over 160 years ago. These include regular lectures and excursions, and the publication of a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Members are entitled to use the Society’s library which contains books on Irish history, antiquities and archaeological and historical journals published in Ireland, Great Britain and continental Europe.