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‘The Clonbrock Photographic Collection and Lady Clonbrock (1839-1928): Contemporary Contexts and Public Activism’ by Úna Kavanagh

November 14, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


November 14, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Seminar Room, Centre for Irish Studies, Distillery Road

The Centre for Irish Studies invites you to attend the final seminar of our Irish Studies’ Seminar Series by Úna Kavanagh, PhD Scholar at the Centre for Irish Studies, will speak on her current research, ‘The Clonbrock Photographic Collection and Lady Clonbrock (1839-1928): Contemporary Contexts and Public Activism’. The seminar will take place at 4pm, Seminar Room, Centre for Irish Studies.

Úna Kavanagh’s doctoral research, ‘Empire, Science and Gender: The Life and Work of Lady Clonbrock, August Dillon née Crofton’, critically explores the life and work of Lady Clonbrock, Augusta Dillon née Crofton (1839-1928) through images from the Clonbrock Photographic Collection (CPC) currently housed at the National Library of Ireland.

Her work investigates Augusta Dillon, Anglo-Irish woman of the ‘Big House’ at the Clonbrock Estate in East Galway. Dillon was a woman who made significant contributions to society over her extensive lifetime, including public and private endeavours dedicated to family, religion, politics and the people of Connaught. This research will foreground Dillon’s scientific endeavours and her public life as a nineteenth-century Victorian woman of Ireland and Britain. Úna’s study of Augusta Dillon will strengthen, critique and challenge previous representations of this forgotten Anglo-Irish figure. It will be the first substantial critical study of Dillon’s life, work and legacy as framed through considerations of empire, science and gender.

Previous research in the area focused predominantly on the key area of photography. It illustrated the seminal contribution of Augusta Dillon to the Clonbrock Photograph Collection (CPC) and her role as a scientific pioneer through it in the late-Victorian, early-Edwardian era, upholding the British Empire while residing in the West of Ireland.

At the seminar next Thursday Úna will demonstrate how, through photographic images, the Dillon family used their home and its surroundings to promote the family as being progressive, modern, intellectually and scientifically inquisitive, and as benevolent landlords. Augusta’s wide-ranging public engagement will also be discussed with a particular focus on her duties with the Mountbellew Poor Law Union and Mountbellew Rural Disrict Council. Úna will be presenting on this portion of the seminar at the Galway Great Reads Festival, “Pumps, piers & potholes… 120 years of Local Government” at the Raheen Woods Hotel, Athenry on Saturday 16 November 2019.

Originally from Kerry, Úna Kavanagh has lived in Cork, London and Houston, Texas before returning to Galway in 2010. She is currently a PhD candidate engaged in a scholarly biographical study of Augusta Dillon, Lady Clonbrock (1839-1928) working with Dr Nessa Cronin at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. She completed a BA Connect with Irish Studies at NUI Galway in 2017, and received an Irish Studies’ Fellowship to attend the Yeats’ Summer School as part of her BA studies in 2014.  Úna was awarded an MA Humanities’ Scholarship in 2017, and in 2018 she undertook her MA in History at NUI Galway where she was won the P. J. Mara Scholarship award. Her MA Dissertation focused on how anti-Treaty internees articulated versions of masculinities and their ideologies through contributions to an autograph book from those interned in Tintown Camp No. 2 at the Curragh during 1923.


Photos attached: 2019 Galway’s Great Read Festival: Úna Kavanagh thrilled to meet Ms Mary Glynn (née Egan) who worked in Clonbrock House in the 1940s, at a talk on the Estate’s photo collection at Ballinasloe Library, bringing Irish photographic and landscape history alive!