William Bence Jones’ legacy has been very much defined by the three year period form 1879-82, during which he was regularly referred to as a ‘rack-renting, exterminating landlord’. While this was a highly emotive and turbulent period in Irish history, a judgement based on such a narrow timespan and focused on one event cannot be considered definitive, unless some cognisance is taken of the rest of the man’s life. The research behind this lecture will endeavour to redress this imbalance through an objective examination of William Bence Jones – the man, from his birth in Beccles, Suffolk in 1812 to his death in London in 1882. Special attention will be given to original research and genealogical influences that shaped and informed his thinking like race, ancestry, religion, class, culture and political outlook. The presentation will show that Bence-Jones’ life was an action filled journey that will captivate and enthral the audience and often surprise and disturb them before reaching its final conclusion.

Michael O’Mahony is a Clonakilty based genealogist and local historian who specialises in family research and local historic events. He often conducts research in collaboration with other members of Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage, with the most recent being a project to mark the bi-centenary of the building of the Church of Ireland church in Clonakilty town. Here Michael teamed up with Diarmuid Kingston in researching the history of the graveyard and the families buried there over the past two hundred years. The results were delivered as an illustrated presentation as part of the bi-centenary celebrations. Michael and Diarmuid have also conducted extensive research on the ancient cemeteries at Kilgarriffe and Ballintmeple and more recently at the burial ground in Darrara.. Michael’s interest in William Bence Jones was prompted by Liam O’Regan’s articles on the Land War in The Southern Star Centenary supplement published in 1989. 

Please note that this lecture will be at the earlier time of 8pm.