Trinity exhibition honours West Cork botanist

Ellen Hutchins: Letters, specimens and drawings of seaweed in the exhibition at Trinity.

Posted on: 7th March, 2017

Category: Headlines

Contributor: West Cork People

Ellen Hutchins of Ballylickey (1785 – 1815), Ireland’s first female botanist, is being celebrated by an exhibition in Trinity College Dublin, hosted by the Botany Department there. Spectacular seaweed specimens, collected by Ellen in Bantry Bay over 200 years ago, are being displayed for the first time, alongside letters written by Ellen to botanist James Townsend Mackay of Trinity. Some of the letters still contain tiny scraps of seaweeds that Ellen folded into pieces of paper inside them. There are also some wonderful full size specimens that have kept their colour incredibly well; it takes real skill to layout a specimen carefully, as was discovered by participants of the Seaweed Event on Whiddy Island during the 2016 Ellen Hutchins Festival.

The Hutchins family has also lent Trinity letters that Ellen wrote to her brothers about her study of plants. Transcripts of the letters are available that tell the story of Ellen, a remarkable young woman who in just eight years of botanising, before her early death aged 29, discovered many new species of seaweeds, lichens, mosses and liverworts.

Trinity College Dublin played an important part in Ellen’s botanical studies, although it was a time long before women were able to attend universities. Dr Whitley Stokes, Professor of Medicine of Trinity and a family friend, suggested to Ellen that she take up the study of botany (his interest) as a healthy outdoor occupation, one that also provided indoor activity with identifying, preserving and drawing the plants found. James Townsend Mackay, in charge of the Trinity Botanic Garden, visited Ellen in Ballylickey in 1805 and suggested that she study seaweeds. Ellen sent her specimens to Mackay and he posted them onto the relevant botanists, making Ellen part of the specialist botanical community studying non flowering plants, known as cryptogams.

The Trinity exhibition has been put together by the Ellen Hutchins Festival, with the Botany Department of Trinity, for the staff and students of the School of Natural Sciences. Included are information panels telling Ellen’s story and prints of some of her beautifully detailed and accurate drawings of seaweeds. The exhibition is relevant to all those interested in West Cork people, heritage, the history of women in science, botany and botanical art.

There are free public Open Sessions on the last Thursday of each month (March 30 and April 27), 5pm to 6.30pm, when members of the Ellen Hutchins Festival team will be on hand.  See the website for more information and directions to find the old Anatomy Building where the exhibition is being held. www.ellenhutchins.com.

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Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
email bandonwalledtown@gmail.com
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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