Tuesday 7th March, 8pm
Dean Cogan was a native of Slane and his monumental Diocese of Meath, Ancient and Modern was published in Dublin in three volumes in 1862. It was reissued by Four Courts Press in 1993, edited by Alfred P. Smyth and including a fourth volume written by Professor Smyth entitled Faith, famine and fatherland in the nineteenth century Irish midlands: Perceptions of a priest and historian: Anthony Cogan, 1826-72. Dean Cogan’s work was the first complete history of an Irish Catholic diocese, and it remains a primary source of information for all historians, and especially for the nineteenth century period. As well as his historical work, Dean Cogan was a gifted and charismatic pastor who worked to improve the conditions of down-trodden farm labourers and the slum dwellers in Co. Meath. In his short life he witnessed mass evictions, abuse of landlord power, famine and disease. His historical work is an invaluable source, not only on church history but on all topics that touch on local and family history as well as the folklore of Meath, Westmeath and Offaly from the Shannon to the sea.
Mary McDonnell is a great-grand-niece of Dean Cogan. She is an artist and designer and she ran the Craft Studio Slane in the 1990’s, showcasing her own textiles and also work by leading Irish craftspeople. She was a founder member of Drogheda Quilters, and more recently has been involved in initiating various art groups who exhibit both locally and nationally: Indigo, Ceangailte and Alchemy. She has developed a keen interest in history, particularly in the local history of Co. Meath and she is secretary of Slane History and Archaeology Society.