The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.
Thomas H. Huxley
Note: this is an expired list retained for information purposes only.
RENMORE BARRACKS HISTORY SOCIETY - PROGRAM 2010 - 2011
The Widening Gap – Infantry Weapons & Tactics from Napoleon to WW1
23rd Sept 2010
In any given period the tactics adopted by infantry are based around the capabilities of the main infantry weapons of the day. Where this is not the case; disaster ensues.
This is the central thesis of this talk, that a gap begin to emerge after the Napoleonic period, a gap between what weapons were capable of, and the tactics adopted to deploy those weapons. This widening gulf was left unaddressed, and led directly to the senseless slaughter of the Great War.This talk will look at how infantry weapons evolved from the humble musket of Napoleon’s era, to the water-cooled, belt fed machine gun of the trenches, and look at how in each case infantry were sent to face these vastly different weapons using essentially the same tactics. The talk will begin by looking at the weapons and tactics of the Napoleonic era, showing how the uniforms and tactics adopted, though they may seem ridiculous to us today, actually made sense in the context of the infantry weapons being used. The talk will then move on to look at developments during the Crimean war, the US Civil war and other conflicts, arguing that while the period saw a sustained improvement in the capabilities of infantry weapons, the tactics remained largely the same. The widening gap reached its greatest point at the outbreak of World War One, which saw troops sent in using tactics still largely unchanged from the time of Napoleon, but facing weapons of much greater lethality. This gap, which had been left unaddressed for one hundred years, was largely responsible for the scale of the slaugher of the Great War.
Mapping Ireland -A History of the Ordinance Survey and the mapping of Ireland
25th Nov 2010
Padraig Higgins is a cartographer and keen student of the history of map-making. In this talk he will look at the origins and evolution of the Ordinance Survey Department, and look at its greatest challenge and achievement; the mapping of the entire country.Padraig will consider the challenges faced in this task, and the methods and equipment adopted to overcome them. He will show how the process that led from the primitive and inaccurate medieval maps, to the OS maps known and loved by every hill-walker and rambler in the country, was far from a simple one.
‘The Greatest Idea Ever’ Evolution – A Layperson’s Overview.
20th Jan 2011
150 years after it was first published, study after study, experiment after experiment, discovery after discovery have each in their turn confirmed the accuracy of Darwin’s original idea. The theory now forms the bedrock of almost all biology, and much of chemistry, geology and other disciplines.
But this is an idea under attack. In the US 40% want the teaching of evolution banned, and similar movements are afoot in Europe. Knowledge is the best defence against ignorance, and so this talk sets out to offer a non-specialist but thorough overview of the theory of evolution, because as one noted biologist remarked; the strange thing about the theory of evolution is that everyone thinks they understand it, but very few actually do.
Rebellion! - The 1916 Easter Rising.
10th March 2011
The Easter Rising of 1916 is a pivotal moment in Irish History, as significant to the Irish as the Battle of Britain is to the English, the revolutionary War is to Americans, or The Great Patriotic Struggle is to Russians. It is a major part in the story we tell of who we are.
Willie Henry has written about and studied the Rising in various forms and forums, from books examining the leaders of the Rising, to newspaper articles to a documentary series. In this talk he distills these different sources to provide a comprehensive and thorough overview of what has become the defining moment in recent Irish history.
28th April 2011
From its inauspicious debut at the Battle of Arras, when most of the tanks deployed broke down, to the present day, where it forms the centerpiece of every modern army, the tank has undergone a fascinating evolution.
This talk will chart the evolution both of the tank itself, but also of the tactics adopted to use it. It will concentrate on the period from 1915 to 1945, when both machine and tactics underwent their most profound period of change, and look in particular at the Battle of France in 1940, regarded by many as the apotheosis of tank tactics.
There is a cover charge of €5 for non-members.
Places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance.