Thomond historical society leader retraces his father’s steps

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

NEWCASTLE West solicitor John Cussen has been appointed president of the Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society, one of the oldest societies in the country.

NEWCASTLE West solicitor John Cussen has been appointed president of the Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society, one of the oldest societies in the country.

Mr Cussen, 69, said it’s a “great honour” to lead the society which was founded in 1892.

Leading the society has been a family affair for the Cussen family, who have been in the legal profession in west Limerick for 112 years when the firm was started by his grand-father. His late father Robert J. Cussen was also president of the society.

“History rubbed off,” said Mr Cussen, in relation to his family’s interest in historical matters and the society.

“We hope to make a positive contribution to the city. We don’t just want to be negative, but we would encourage the preservation of Georgian buildings in the ‘old cit’y. The city centre is in decline, but with the possibility of progress at the Opera Centre site we would like to see that sensitively preserved and developed,” he said. Mr Cussen is also a member of the Georgian Society and chairman of the historical society in Newcastle West. He succeeds Cian O’Carroll as president of the society for a term of three years, while well-known local historian Tony Browne has become deputy president, succeeding Randel Hodkinson. Mr Browne has been a member of the committee since 1983, when he was one of the youngest members to join.

The Thomond Archaeological Society has recently produced a 150-page publication, the ‘North Munster Antiquarian Journal’, which includes articles on the Bronze Age landscape of Aughinish. The society meets every month in Mary Immaculate College, where their organised lectures are also held. It counts over 500 members and they are always looking to attract young people with an interest in history. Annual membership is priced at €30. The society also organise day trips around the country, and trips abroad, including a trip to north Portugal in the coming months.

Mr Browne added: “You don’t have to be an academic to join. We try to make everyone feel welcome.”