Blog‎ > ‎

Inaugural Mayo History Conference

posted Feb 1, 2019, 3:33 PM by Bernard O'Hara
What is hoped will be the Inaugural Mayo History Conference is to be held in the Gateway Hotel, Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland, from 1 to 3 March this year, as part of the town's 250 plus celebrations. This bustling east Mayo town was established in the eighteenth century by the Brabazon family, who received land in the area under the Cromwellian Settlement of 1652-53. Swinford, which first appeared on documents from the second half of the eighteenth century, may have been named by the Brabazons after a village near one of their seats in Leicestershire in England, where the family originated. It could have been influenced by a local ford that had an association with a pig market. The Irish version of the placename, Béal Átha na Muice, ‘the ford-mouth of the pig’, did not appear on any document until 1838. Members of the Brabazon family will be attending the conference. It is planned that the Mayo History Conference will become an annual event in the county’s calendar and held in different locations over the years.
Friday evening, 1 March, is devoted to Swinford History with a DVD presentation by Breege Rowley, followed by a lecture by local historian, Michael Comer. The Mayo Conference will commence on Saturday morning at nine am with the main theme Mayo People's through the Ages, constant new arrivals and how they integrated with the native culture and altered it. The first lecture on ‘Archaeological and Historical Settlement in County Mayo’ will be given by Bernard O’Hara, author of Exploring Mayo, followed by ‘Irish Rock Art from Cork to Mayo’ by Finola Finlay and Robert Harris, Irish Rock Art researchers from County Cork. The second session deals with ‘Seventeenth Century Land Settlements in County Mayo’ by Dr John Cunningham, Queen’s University Belfast, and ‘The Brownes of Westport’ by Anne Chambers, historical biographer. The third session covers ‘Ulster Migration 1795/6 to County Mayo’ by Michael Brabazon, Mayo historian, followed by ‘The People's of Mayo Through the Ages-An Overview’ by Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, a leading Irish scholar and historian. The final session of the conference is a Hedge School Open Forum, chaired by Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland. Booking and full particulars can be obtained from (087-6412785 or 087-2424579)
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s latest book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at, or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press ( and is available from and It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).