City Hall Waterford, Friday 9th September 2022 | Lismore Heritage Centre Saturday 10th September 2022
Theme: Science and Colonialism

Boyle’s father Richard was the most successful colonial adventurer in 16th /17thCentury Ireland. Income from lands in Ireland help fund Boyle’s scientific programme. Boyle also had interests in certain colonial enterprises. In the succeeding centuries there has been an interrelationship between science and colonialism. It is timely to examine these issues and we will consider the Boyle family, Boyle’s own interests, the relationship between science and colonialism and the part Irish people played in colonial ventures. As is our custom, in light of the past, we look at current and future issues.

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Weekend Tickets (Friday & Saturday)

Friday Only

Saturday Only

We have an excellent line up of speakers including:

Friday 9 September, City Hall Waterford

10:00 – 12:00

Dr David Edwards, Dept of History, UCC : The rise of the Boyle family in Ireland, 1588-1643 

Dr Edwards is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, while studying there he developed an abiding interest in the medieval period. When arriving at UCC in 1993, Dr Edwards was able to merge the two areas and could pursue his research interests, which by then had begun to explore continuities between late medieval and early modern Ireland in order the better to identify and measure some of the profound political and social, religious and cultural changes that occurred during the 1500s and early 1600s.

Dr Colin Rynne, Dept of Archaeology, UCC: Technological change and technology transfer on the Munster estates of Richard Boyle 1st earl of Cork, c. 1602-1643

Dr Colin Rynne BA, PhD is a graduate of UCC. He has published many books including: The archaeology of Cork city and harbour (1993), At the sign of the cow: the Cork Butter Market 1769-1924 (1998); The industrial archaeology of Cork city and its environs (1999). He was also an editor of the multi-disciplinary volume titled The Heritage of Ireland (2000) and Plantation Ireland settlement and material culture, c. 1550-c.1700 (2009). His research interests include medieval agriculture, medieval and post-medieval iron working in Ireland and Irish industrial archaeology. His currently working on and IRC project, with Dr David Edwards of the Department of History, UCC, mapping the seventeenth-century colonial landscapes of Richard Boyle, Ist earl of Cork.

12:30 – 1:30

Eoin Gill, Calmast, South East Technological University: Colonialism, The Case Against Robert Boyle

Eoin Gill is co-director of Calmast STEM Outreach Centre at South East Technological University. He has been the coordinator of Maths Week since its foundation in 2006. He is a chartered engineer and a member of the European Maths Society’s committee for Raising Public Awareness of Maths. Eoin co-founded Maths Week Ireland – the leading such festival in the world – that attracts annual participation of around 400,000 across the island of Ireland and the Robert Boyle Summer School, founded in 2012, which is Ireland’s first annual gathering for adults exploring science in our culture.

3:00 – 5:00

Dr Sherra Murphy, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire: Colonialism and Dublin’s Natural History Museum

Dr Sherra Murphy is Senior Lecturer in Critical and Cultural Studies, teaching visual and material culture at IADT Dun Laoghaire.  Her work on the formation of the Natural History Museum Dublin as an interlocking set of historical, scientific, social, and visual frameworks was published as ‘The First National Museum’: Dublin’s Natural History Museum in the mid-nineteenth century in October 2021. The book was shortlisted for the 2022 Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize.  

Dr. Sherra Murphy

Rachel Hand, Cambridge Ethnographic collection: Science and colonialism seen in the NMI collection

Rachel Hand is the Collections Manager for the Anthropology collections in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Her role seeks to balance the needs of the collections themselves with demands for access for exhibition and research by communities of origin, artists, academics and institutions. She continues to research the ethnographic collection at the National Museum of Ireland where she worked to catalogue the Ethnographic Collection from 2003 to 2006. She has published on Irish collecting within the British Empire and the early Cook-Voyage material from Trinity College, Dublin. Her monograph on the National Museum of Ireland’s Ethnographic Collection Entangled Histories: How the Irish Collected the World is in press, along with a chapter in Fintan Cullen (ed.) Visual Histories of Ireland. She is also contributing an essay on Western Australian material in Irish museums for the Collecting the West project, which looks at how museum collections create Western Australia.

The entangled collection and display histories of the Ethnographic Collection in the National Museum of Ireland highlights the complexities of Ireland’s participation in the British Empire. These dislocated fragments of cultural heritage were assembled by military and colonial officers, scientific expeditions, explorers and surveyors as well as missionaries and migrants. They were presented to the early museum of Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Dublin Society and later transferred to the new Dublin Museum of Science and Art in 1877. The Museum continued to collect ethnographic material and a large gallery was devoted to its display as examples of Primitive Art. After Independence these collection histories became an uncomfortable reminder of Irish engagement with Empire. As the National Museum attempts to decolonise its collections by restituting looted material from the Benin Empire, these difficult histories can help explore Irish and Indigenous responses to Empire encompassing both engagement and resistance.

Saturday 10 September, Lismore Heritage Centre

10:30 – 12:30

Donald Brady, Historian and former Waterford County Librarian: John Palliser: 19th Century British Imperial Expansion from the Comeraghs to the Rockies

Donald Brady was born in Cavan and obtained his B.A. in History and English at Maynooth. He served as director of the West Waterford Heritage Week in 1991 and 1992. He was the co-ordinator of Waterford County Council’s Famine Commemoration Programme and served on the National Committee charged with the protection of the Woodstown Viking Settlement. In June 2022 his work, W.E.D. Allen & Other Essays, his 12th book was published.

Donald Brady

Dr Matthew Jebb, Director National Botanic Gardens: Exploration in the territory of others

Matthew Jebb is director of the National Botanic Gardens. Matthew undertook his primary degree and D.Phil at Oxford University. His doctoral studies looked at the taxonomy and tuber morphology of the rubiaceous ant-plants. Following a 5 year appointment as Director of the Christensen Research Institute at Madang, Papua New Guinea, Matthew took up a 2 year post-doc position at Trinity College Dublin. This work worked involved preparation of a revision of the Araliaceae for the Flora of Thailand project. Matthew has revised the family Nepenthaceae for Flora Malesiana.

Dr. Matthew Jebb

12:30 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 – 4:00

Dr Emma Dunne, Palaeontology. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU): How Palaeontology’s Past Shapes Our Understanding of the History of Life on Earth

Fossils are fundamental to our understanding of the history of life on Earth. However, fossils have been unevenly and incompletely sampled from across the globe, resulting in biased, or skewed, estimates of biodiversity through geological time. Paleontological research has largely focused on preservational and geological factors that create these biases, but recently anthropogenic and historical factors have been receiving more attention. In this talk, we will explore how the legacy of colonialism and socio-economic factors, such as wealth, education and political stability, impact the global distribution of fossils, as well as how extractive research practices (‘parachute science’) in palaeontology can shape our understanding of ancient life and how it evolved, while focusing on what steps are being taken to ensure that future research is more equitable than in the past.

Dr. Emma Dunne


Emma is an Assistant Professor in palaeobiology at Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg in Erlangen, Germany. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, she began her career as a zoologist studying living animals, before moving to the UK, and later Germany, to focus her research on fossilised critters. Her current research investigates how various environmental, physical, and historical factors drive patterns of deep-time biodiversity. She is particularly interested in how past climate change influenced the evolutionary patterns of extinct vertebrates (such as dinosaurs and pterosaurs), but she is especially passionate about ethical issues and the legacy of colonialism in paleontological research.

Dr. Gozibert Kamugisha, University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Tanzania. Co-Founder of Young Scientists Tanzania: Young scientists, building the future in Africa.

Dr. Gozibert Kamugisha has been a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) since 2006; specialising in sociology and in particular medical sociology. Kamugisha has worked on establishing Young Scientists Tanzania since 2009 when first introduced to the idea by Joseph Clowry. He later studied at Maynooth University in 2010 and gained firsthand knowledge about all aspects of the Young Scientist project in Ireland and Science for Development. While in Ireland, Kamugisha worked with students presenting projects for the Irish exhibition and witnessed the transformational power of the project. He has been a strong advocate in highlighting the Young Scientist’s ability to create a much needed science culture in secondary schools in Tanzania. As Co-founder of Young Scientists Tanzania, he says his proudest moment was seeing the highly successful staging of the the first ever Young Scientists Tanzania exhibition at the Mnazi Moja grounds on November 2011.

Dr. Gozibert Kamugisha

Visit to Lismore Castle Gardens

Friday – City Hall Waterford, The Mall, Co. Waterford
Saturday – Lismore Heritage Centre, West Street, Lismore, Co. Waterford

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