This was the first article that I genuinely struggled to write. I’d had a long, busy day, and I was hosting one of my PubhD events and writing an article was the last thing I wanted to do when I got home. One of the things about having the list now, is that I don’t read it properly now, I just skim over it and very little jumps out at me – I’ve become so what inured to it. So my other half just pointed to one of the museums that I was hovering over, and said just do that one. So I tackled Number Twenty Nine – Georgian House Museum, which was a slightly more interesting than a lot of standard museums. It also dates from a pretty controversial period in Dublin city planning, as the ESB refurbished this Georgian building at the same time that they demolished part of what had been the longest unbroken stretch of Georgian buildings in Dublin. This article was a mercifully short on to do on an evening with zero Wiki motivation.
Thursday was a busy day for Wikimedia Community Ireland as we hosted an editathon with WITS in the Science Gallery, to improve and expand the articles relating to Irish Women in STEM. It ran for four hours in the afternoon, and as I was the official facilitator, I was busy helping new editors, so there was no time for me to do any editing! It was a fantastic afternoon though, we had eight participants, and numerous articles were improved. However, another long day thinking and talking about editing did mean that my editing yen was low. Hence another simple, straight-forward museum article, this time a little quirkier though – Cork Butter Museum! Who knew that Cork was once the largest exporter of butter in the world? Well I do, now. Little added bonus in this museum being the same age as me, and even though Cork people don’t need to be given any extra bragging rights on anything, I quite enjoyed adding this little museological gem. Although, I think some of my translations of museum names into Irish are probably highly suspect, this one might be a prime example.
Seeing as I hadn’t been able to add anything to the Irish Women in STEM content during the editathon, I thought that I would make up for it by adding Dr Carmel Humphries. She was a specialist in non-biting midges and the first female professor of zoology and head of department in Ireland. She was a highly educated and regarded woman, and was a definite conspicuous oversight in coverage of not only Irish scientists, but also entomologists. I do find that I make quite a number of spelling and grammatical errors whilst writing up articles for the first time. I usually have to give myself a day, and then go back using Visual Editor to copy edit and tidy up – that’s if no one else has picked up on my mistakes yet! I also got to experiment with using an image from the UCD digital archives, they are all licensed under Creative Commons, so I was able to add an image of Humphries from their website. I hope that I attributed it correctly, again time will tell on that one! It was refreshing to see an archive embrace CC licensing, as many figures like this can be very challenging to find a reproducible image for.
The next article came as a direct result of the County Carlow Military Museum. Whilst researching that article, I came across a number of references to a soldier from Tullow called Michael Keogh, with the dubious epitaph of being the man who saved Hitler. A supporter, and supposed recruiter, for Roger Casement, Keogh was a member of the ill-fated Irish Brigade during WWI. He went from being an Irish POW to a member of the German army, being one of only a handful of people to receive medals from both sides of the conflict. It was during his service in the German army that he claims to have saved Hitler from being killed by a mob after a right-wing political meeting. This claim is not really contested, but some of his other claims in his memoirs have been contested by historians since their publication in the last number of years. That and some of the theories that the government were trying to suppress his story when he died in the 1960s, when his memoirs disappeared from his hospital room just days before he died. Although I am far from being a military historian, and military history holds very little interest to me, I thought the story deserved coverage, and of course the old Carlow bias got an airing again.
The next person had a very short entry in Praeger’s Some Irish Naturalists, so I was not holding out hope of finding much on Fanny Currey, but boy was I wrong! Like many of the female or “lady” botanical artists and horticulturist, I assumed that coverage would be thin on the ground for Currey but she has been featured in the Dictionary of Irish Biography and beyond! This article, much like Keogh, was a bit more of a slog to write, but far more entertaining if you have the time to give to it! She even has had some of her work accessioned into the National Gallery of Ireland, so she was a very interesting woman to write about. A bit like Evelyn Booth, she was a bit of a hunting, shooting, fishing type, as well as a water-colourist and cultivator of bulbs, but I tried not to hold that against her 😉 One glaring omission that Currey’s article has thrown up, is the lack of an article for Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland. It might be a bit of an undertaking, but I think it deserves an article as much as any of the other societies included on Wikipedia. Plus it will make this visualisation I’m planning more interesting – I hope!