The events listings for the Festival are up on the Heritage Week website. Do take a look and see what is on offer. Click here
There’s a wonderful range of favourites from previous years and some exciting new ventures. Some need to be booked, and booking opens on 1st August (botanical art workshops on 1st July). The Festival page in the menu above will have further information on the events, and the booking links.
Leaflets for the Ellen Hutchins Heritage Trail arrived last Friday, 18th May, at the Tourist Office in Bantry, and some of the people most closely involved in producing the Trail collected to be the first to see the leaflets and to listen to the audio guide tracks alongside them.
Neil Jackman and Roisin Burke of Abarta Heritage looking at the leaflets in the Bantry Tourist Office
The sun shone as we gathered for a photo outside the Tourist Office and then we headed to Spot 2 on the Trail, the beach by the airstrip, known to Ellen as “the shore under Blue Hill”.
Madeline Hutchins: Ellen Hutchins Festival, Eileen O’Shea: Bantry Development and Tourist Association, Roisin Burke: Abarta Heritage, Clare Heardman and Angela O’Donovan: Ellen Hutchins Festival, Breda Moriarty: Deep Maps Project UCC.
Listening to the audio guide introduction track
Madeline Hutchins, one of the authors of the Trail and Ellen’s great great grand niece, on the shore under Blue Hill, by the airstrip.
The Trail has nine stops, most of them reached by car, but then there is the opportunity to explore the area and some have significant circular walks from them, such as the Coorycommane Loop Walk from Coomhola Bridge. For each spot, the leaflet and the audio guide provide information on the place, the plants and an aspect of Ellen’s story.
See the Trail page from the menu above for the online version of the leaflet and links to the audio guide.
An essay on Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) Ireland’s First Female Botanist – Botany and Beauty, Landscape and Letters appears in the newly published Volume Three of the Journal of the Bantry Historical and Archaeological Society.
On Thursday May 10th at the West Lodge Hotel, Bantry, the Bantry Historical Society launched the new Journal, edited by Dr Colum Hourihane, and the occasion was also a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the local history society.
The Journal was launched by Mrs. Brigitte Wagner-Halswick, Managing Director of Rowa Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Bantry. She mentioned Ellen in her address, saying that she felt a sense of affiliation to Ellen as a woman who had experienced difficult circumstances.
In the foreword the editor says “the purpose of this collection is to celebrate the long life and history of the society”. The Ellen Hutchins Festival owes its own existence to the Bantry Historical society as it initiated the first Ellen Hutchins Festival in 2015, and has given the Festival continuing support, particularly through the involvement of Angela O’Donovan, now the society’s cathaoirleach, as one of the three Ellen Festival Team Leaders. The Festival is now annual, during Heritage Week in the Bantry area. This year’s dates are Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th August. See the Festival page in the menu above for information on events as they become confirmed.
The Journal is available to purchase from Bantry Bookshop, William St., Bantry, and also at SuperValu, Bantry. The Journal is priced at €15.
The Supercomputer Naming Competition has had its deadline for voting extended to 25th May.
Bantry Credit Union window with Jenny Dempsey, designer of the website and her daughter, Trinity
VOTE ELLEN bunting and information about the Supercomputer Naming Competition has appeared in two Bantry shop windows – the Bantry Credit Union and the Bantry Bookshop.
All Ellen’s plant hunting and her discoveries of new plants were done round Bantry Bay and its neighbouring mountains, so celebrating Ellen’s achievements is also a celebration of Bantry Bay and West Cork.
Team Ellen are encouraging local schools to enter the competition, find out about the six pioneering Irish scientists on the shortlist and then VOTE ELLEN!
The Ellen schools website is officially launched today, with content specifically developed as research resources for school students interested in entering the competition to name Ireland’s new Supercomputer.
- Interesting, engaging, and informative material
- separate pages for primary and secondary school students
- summaries of useful information, great photos and illustrations
- at secondary level, links to more research resources.
The timing is good. The launch is in an important week for women, between International Women’s Day and Mothering Sunday/ Mother’s Day. Ellen is a significant scientist at an international level in her very specialist field of botany – that of the non-flowering plants called cryptogams. Ellen was also a devoted carer for her elderly and ill mother, looking after her at Ballylickey for nearly ten years.
The Ellen Hutchins Festival team is delighted to launch this new Ellen schools website and thanks UCC Library for its contribution to the costs. You can access the site from here. Enjoy!
The Supercomputer Naming Competition has a deadline for voting of 12 noon on Friday 20th April. To enter the competition see nameourcomputer.ichec.ie.
A tribute, on International Women’s Day
Ellen Hutchins: pioneering young woman scientist
Botany is the scientific study of plants and Ellen Hutchins is rightly regarded as the first Irish female botanist. After schooling in Dublin, around 1805, she returned home to Ballylickey, County Cork and set about her systematic pursuit of the study of plants armed with some text books lent by Dr Whitley Stokes of Trinity College, Dublin. To put this era in perspective, it would be some 70 years before girls could sit secondary-school state examinations and a hundred years before women students gained access to Trinity College. Thus, long before women entered scientific professions this young lady was studying the plants of her native area, between Bantry and Glengarriff in West Cork and into County Kerry, firstly drawing specimens and then identifying them. She became an expert plant taxonomist, i.e. someone who classifies plants into species based on their characteristics, and specialised in very difficult groups such as mosses and liverworts. She also had a little boat which she used to collect sea plants around Bantry Bay. In an age when computers were unknown this young woman classified more than 1,000 species in her hand-written catalogue of Irish plants and made detailed drawings of many. Ellen died a month before her 30th birthday but has left a lasting legacy to science. Specimens collected by Ellen Hutchins are now in various collections around the world including Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Helsinki and New York. In a time when women did not publish in their own right, her many plant records, as well as water-colour illustrations, were included in the works of the leading botanists of the day. She had many species named in her honour including mosses and liverworts, lichens and marine algae as well as some flowering plants. Ellen Hutchins was born on St Patrick’s Day in 1785 and more than two centuries later International Women’s Day is held each year in the same month to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history. It is fitting that this young woman, working alone in what was then a very remote part of the country, should be celebrated among Irish pioneering scientists.
John Lucey MSc CBiol MIBiol MPhil is a biologist and historian living in Kilkenny.
A competition to name Ireland’s new national supercomputer has been launched and Ellen Hutchins is one of six names in the hat. ‘The competition looks to shine a light on a shortlist of six pioneering Irish scientists and to educate young students about their lives and achievements’, says the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) which is running the competition launched this week by Minister Richard Bruton, Minister for Education & Skills. School students are being encouraged to vote for a candidate accompanied by a short essay, poster or video to support their choice.
See above for launch of the schools website.
To enter the competition, visit nameourcomputer.ichec.ie.
The deadline for entries is 12:00pm Friday 20th April.
Photo Credits: ICHEC
Mad About Cork added the Ellen Hutchins electrical box street art image to their collection on 20th February 2018. Mad About Cork is a guerilla group in Cork City making positive changes in derelict and run-down urban spaces through street art, guerrilla gardening, & more.
The Ellen Hutchins electrical box is the latest in a series paying tribute to significant Cork people. It’s at the start of Clontarf Bridge, just outside the Clayton Hotel in the city centre.
Team Ellen, of the Ellen Hutchins Festival, and Abarta Heritage have been busy this winter completing work on an exciting project, the Ellen Hutchins Heritage Trail. The results of the hard work have paid off, and the Trail Leaflet and Audio Guide are now available free to anyone interested in following in Ellen’s footsteps and hearing her story partly in her own words.
The Trail takes you round, at your pace and times of your choosing, to nine significant sites to Ellen’s story, round the shores and islands of Bantry Bay and into its neighbouring woodlands, heathland and mountains. An episode of Ellen’s story is linked to each site, written in the leaflet and enhanced by the Audio Guide, which has actors reading extracts of letters as well telling more of Ellen’s story.
The project was made possible by funding from the Heritage Council and FLAG South (Fisheries Local Action Group).
See the Heritage Trail page in the menu above for links to both leaflet (online copy) and the Audio Guide.