Lecture Series at the Celtic Fringe Festival

Saturday, 20th of September: Lecture Series

This year we were delighted to have three speakers at our annual lecture series at the Celtic Fringe Festival. Grange and Armada Development Association are very grateful for their input into a series of lecture and valuable contribution.

Dr Mark Gardiner is a Senior Lecturer in medieval archaeology at Queen’s University Belfast, where he has worked since 1996. He was previously the Deputy Director of the archaeology unit at University College London. He has served as President of the Society for Medieval Archaeology and before that as Editor of the Archaeological Journal. He has a long-standing interest in ships and trade, and has excavated an early medieval trading site at West Hythe in Kent (England) and a late medieval warehouse at Ardglass in Co. Down. In recent years he has been working on trading systems between 1400 and 1700 in the North Atlantic in a project with the University of Vienna, surveying sites in Iceland and Shetland, and has excavated a Hanseatic site at Avaldsnes in Norway.

Dr Gardiner’s paper Harbours, trade and Irish lords in the north-west in the sixteenth century gave us an interesting insight into all aspects of trade in the 16th century. The paper also examined whether the economy of Gaelic Ireland operated on a commercial basis and whether we should expect to find towns in the north and north-west in the sixteenth century.


Dr Douglas McElvogue is a recognised maritime archaeologist of 25 years’ experience. Born in Dumfries, Scotland and raised in Shetland, Douglas comes from a maritime family. Having spent his youth playing and working on the sea, it was a natural progression to diving and working under the sea. A graduate of St Andrews University and University Wales, Bangor his career developed to include Project Manager of the Llyn Peris Boat interpretation and display project at Electric Mountain Visitor Centre Snowdonia, and Senior Research Fellow and Archaeologist at the Mary Rose Trust. He was also the licensed archaeologist for the Streedagh Armada Wrecks. Douglas’s current research includes the wrecks of Samuel Pepys Navy, the Stirling Castle (1703), Warship Anne, and the Mary, as well as the wrecks of the Dutch East India Company.

Dr McElvogue presented us paper Crowned Eagles and Bishops: new research from the Spanish Armada wrecks (1588) La Juliana and La Lavia. This paper introduced the historical background to the Spanish Armada and its outcome with specific reference to the Streedagh wrecks. The finds from the armada wrecks have been put into context and the latest research on the ordnance recovered from two of the Streedagh wrecks La Lavia and La Juliana was presented.


Dr Nessa O’Connor is an Assistant Keeper at National Museum of Ireland. Her area of expertise is Heritage Law and Underwater Archaeology.
Dr O’Connor’s paper The Streedagh Armada Story – A National Museum Perspective has been filled by various elements of conservator’s work. She also discussed the legal aspect and shared with us her experience giving plenty of practical information.


A panel discussion was moderated by Dr John Pender (Sligo IT). Breaks in the lectures were filled by eminent flutist Robert Tobin. Robert raised the whole event to an art. His talent and virtuosity and a well-chosen repertoire added refinement and elegance.

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