I have given numerous talks at historic sites over the years, particularly locations associated with conflict. Where I can, I always try to take opportunities to look beyond the military moment, explore the impact of these events on individuals and communities, and place them into the context of a wider family experience. On 11 May 2019 I was fortunate to take part in the 69th New York State Militia themed tour of Bull Run organised by Harry over at Bull Runnings. You can read more about that event here. At the iconic Henry Hill, I told the story of a mother of one of the 69th’s soldiers that day– a Famine survivor from Co. Kerry called Mary Madigan. I wanted to situate the loss of her son–mortally wounded within yards of where I was speaking–into the broader context of her life. Thanks to one of the participants, Carrie Pierce, there is a video of that portion, which you can watch below.
Carrie captured another brief video of one of my contributions to the day, filmed along the route of the 69th’s march towards the battlefield. In it I discuss Irish motivations for service. Thanks to Carrie for allowing me to share the videos!