Paths to Freedom & 1916

Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd May / Free / 10am-4.30pm 


Paths to Freedom

King House, the magnificently restored Georgian mansion in Boyle, County Roscommon, is to host a special two-day history event hosted by Roscommon County Council Arts Office & Library Services.

Paths To Freedom, which will take place from May 22nd -23rd, is aimed at examining and explaining the many "shades of green" that existed in Ireland in the run-up to the Easter Rising of 1916.   

Building on last year’s successful Great War Roadshow at King House, this year’s event continues to showcase the so-called ‘long decade’ of 1912-1923, which was a pivotal decade in our nation. As we move towards the centenary year of 1916, it is important to provide opportunities for communities to become involved and to explain that the Rising was part of the narrative of the emerging Ireland, not the whole story.

Paths To Freedom will outline the changing nature of Irish politics, work, class and gender roles in the years leading up to independence. This event is part the Ireland 2016 preparatory local awareness programme.

The two-day event will take the form of a day of lectures in King House on Friday May 22 and half day on Saturday 23rd May followed by a musical evening on May 23 – with broadcaster Myles Dungan the Master of Ceremonies on both days . The lectures will feature well-known expert speakers from the worlds of TV, radio and academia, with a local perspective on Cumann na mBan and the struggle for women’s emancipation.

An exciting musical evening has also been included in the programme this year which will fill King House with songs and stories from World War 1, performed by The Brook Singers, with soloists Sadhbh Burt Fitzgerald, Jonathan Creasy, actor/tenor Brendan MacQuaile and pianist Ronan Murray.


9.45am: Introductions and Welcome/ Cathaoirleach:Cllr John Cummins Roscommon County Council

10.00am: Dr. Myles Dungan – Selling the Great War in Ireland 1914-1918

11.00am: Tea/Coffee Break

11.15pm: Dr. Ciaran Wallace – Over There & Over Here: Ireland During The War Years

12.15pm: Gordon Power - The Irish At Gallipoli/Tracing Your WW1 Ancestors

1.00pm: Lunchbreak

2.00pm: Turtle Bunbury - That Easter Dawn – The Personalities Of The 1916 Rising

3.00pm: Damian Shiels – The Conflict Landscape of Ireland

SCHEDULE: Saturday 23rd MAY

10.00am Dr. Mary McAuliffe: Pre 1916 Cumann na mBan: National & Local Paths to Revolution

11.00am Tea/Coffee Break

11.15am Marie Egan Paul. Around the Bridges. Margaret Cousins And The Struggle For Women’s Emancipation

8.00 -10pm From ‘Tipperary’ to ‘The Green Fields of France’


Dr. Myles Dungan

Myles presents The History Show on RTE Radio 1 and is the author of multiple books – including Irish Voices From The Great War (1995), They Shall Grow Not Old (1997) and Mr Parnell’s Rottweiler (2014).

Turtle Bunbury

Turtle is a presenter on The Genealogy Roadshow on TV. His published works include the best-selling 'Vanishing Ireland' series and, The Glorious Madness - Tales of the Irish and the Great War (2014). His new book, ‘That Easter Dawn – The Personalities Of The 1916 Rising’, will be published in the autumn. 


Dr. Ciaran Wallace

An academic and broadcaster, Ciaran is a social historian with Trinity College, Dublin.


Damien Shiels, MA

A specialist in military archaeology, Damian works with Rubicon Heritage Services (formerly Headland Archaeology Ireland).  He has managed a large number of high profile projects, including the Irish Battlefields Project and is a former Assistant Keeper at the National Museum.


Gordon Power

Gordon is a historian and an expert in military genealogy.


Dr. Mary McAuliffe

Historian and academic, Mary lectures at UCD Women's Studies. In 1914 she organised in the 4-day national commemoration of the founding of Cumann na nBan and was the historical consultant on the Cumann na mBan documentary broadcast on TG4 in March 2015


Marie Egan Paul



Local Interest Programme Note:

Margaret Cousins (1878 – 1954), was born in Belmont, Boyle, County Roscommon. A teacher and worker for women’s rights, she was a founding member of the Irish Women’s Franchise League and the All India Women Conference.


Programme Coordinators: Richie Farrell & Mary Mullins: Roscommon County Council.

King House, Military Road, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Phone: (+353) 71-96-63242

Email: and bookings to