Past Projects

History told through three centuries of wedding dresses

From restrictive bustles to bared bosoms and short hemlines, the wedding dress is a great communicator of society’s norms and class structures. A wedding dress exhibition taking place in Dunmanway.

Three Centuries of Weddings is the result of a collaboration between two West Cork-based women — one passionate about history, the other about fashion. History consultant Michelle O’Mahony and couturier/film costumier Gwen Mc Guirk have organised the event as a fundraiser for Dunmanway Historical Association (DHA)

Contemplating the visit in St. Finbarr’s Oratory - Gougane Barra with Kelly.
Contemplating the visit in St. Finbarr’s Oratory - Gougane Barra with Kelly.
Don Graves and Michelle O’Mahony at Gougane Barra, Cork.
Don Graves and Michelle O’Mahony at Gougane Barra, Cork.
Images by kind permission of Jeremy Lock -photographer
Presentation of Irish Slate coasters and gifts, commemorating the visit to Kinsale to the team accompanying Don to Ireland, courtesy of Gro Gifts.
Presentation of Irish Slate coasters and gifts, commemorating the visit to Kinsale to the team accompanying Don to Ireland, courtesy of Gro Gifts.

IWO JIMA- WW2 Veteran Don Graves

Don Graves is a fascinating 98th Year old US Veteran of the Iwo Jima conflict in the Pacific. OM History Consultant was delighted to assist with some pr and media advice in making his dream of a lifetime become a reality, in May 2023. Don had a lifelong desire to visit the land of his ancestors, to sing “Danny Boy” in an Irish Pub, and to have it sung to him on his birthday. His dream came through. I provided guidance on the Irish visit. However, it quickly became more personal as I gave Don and his team, a tour of Gougane Barra and I made some wonderful new friends. Don’s story needed to be told in Ireland. With Irish heritage stemming from his great-grandparents, one couldn’t but be moved by Don’s love of life, his enthusiasm for living and singing. Better still at 98 years of age he was making sure he was doing his bit in the media spotlight to ensure the veterans back home in USA were getting the care and attention worthy of a veteran. Don’s visit to Ireland originated from a comment he mentioned when interviewed by Jeremy Lock on Last Letters Podcast and which led to a fundraising effort to get Don and his team to Ireland. Don and the team had a fascinating week experiencing the spirit and generosity of the Irish in Kinsale, West Cork, Dublin and airport and embassy staff. Don was honoured to visit the US Embassy in Dublin and meet with Ambassador Cronin, the staff and marines there. I have no doubt that anyone who met Don will treasure the memories, stories and wonderful character that is Corporal Don Graves – survivor of Iwo Jima, one of the most vicious conflicts of the Second World War. Much thanks all those involved in realising Don’s dream!

Jeremiah MacCarthy’s pedigree 1784 by Sean O’Coileán (John Collins), last bard of gaelic in Munster, in the MacCarthy Glas archive repatriated to Cork city and county archives in Blackpool. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Daniel MacCarthy Glas Archive

I worked closely with the MacCarthy Family in Oregon to assess and cataloogue their family collection of documents. It was a historian’s treasure trove of manuscripts, letters, books and various items of correspondence from notable 19th century Irish scholars. Also in this collection were many photographic images documenting the life and times of Daniel MacCarthy Glas, 19th century author, novelist and man of history. This archive collection was fascinating to work with on so many levels and provided a timeline which documented 19th century European & Irish societies. I was delighted to be able to assist in its donation to the State at Cork City & County Archives. The return to Ireland of this collection was widely reported on newspapers and RTE News in 2017. I also assisted the School of History & local history society compile a three day itinerary of scholarship and tours based around the collection, this gathering event saw MacCarthys globally travel to attend this event.

Extract from Irish Examiner, May 2017

“Cork Archives were approached last summer to see if they would like to acquire it, and the rest as they say is history — or will be history ” said Michelle O’Mahony.

Andrew McCarthy

Provided genealogical assistance to Andrew McCarthy, Actor and Author regarding his ancestry and DNA for his chapter in Journeys Home and A Song for Ireland for National Geographic

Friends of Dunmanway Hospital Group

Principal Researcher and Designer for Historic Interpretation Signage for the Friends of Dunmanway Hospital Group commemorating the Famine Workhouse & the events of 1922 at Dunmanway Hospital. I facilitated the Group’s funding application, organisation of the official unveiling and associated PR for the Commemorative Event.

Togher Castle

Undertook historical research for the owners of Togher Castle for the conservation and preservation of the Castle in their efforts to secure funding to conduct a study. It was wonderful to be able to assist in the funding application process and assist John Cronin & Associates, who conducted the Study & Survey with historical research. This survey was funded through the Community Monuments Fund and Department of Local Government and Heritage. It is a privilege to work with custodians of historic monuments who wish to preserve heritage for future generations.

Peter Popham

Assisted renowned author, journalist, playwright and commentator Peter Popham with this ancestral quest and West Cork Heritage.

Themed Christmas Concert

Victorian Themed Christmas Concert in 2016 to raise funds for the local community. The event consisted of the concert, compilation of a CD recording of local artists and a DVD.  I facilitated all media publicity in relation to the event, CD and DVD.

Dunmanway Cultural & Visitor Centre

I collaborated with Dunmanway Cultural & Visitor Centre Ltd to upgrade and conserve the old Methodist Church in Dunmanway into the what is now a very modern Atkins Hall. Following conservation works it became a multifunction facility. I assisted with the historical research necessary to complete the heritage funding process and assisted the project management team with historical research. It is wonderful to see old buildings come to life housing art exhibitions, lectures and community events, while still retaining their heritage features in a modern context.

Centenary Commemoration

Assisted local community group with the Centenary Commemoration of the Murders of Rev. Canon Magner and Tadgh Crowley in 2020 in terms of historical content, monument rejuvenation and associated media publicity.