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To Remember Spain.

Next week, a series of lectures will take place in Dublin to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and to highlight the Irish dimensions of the conflict. Over a number of nights, some of the leading historians on the Irish dimensions of the Spanish Civil War, such as David […]

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James Spain was a 22-year-old Dubliner and member of the anti-Treaty IRA when he was shot dead by the Free State Army in November 1922. The killing took place in the area then known as Tenters Field off Donore Avenue, only minutes away from where Spain grew up. There is no plaque or monument to […]

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Snap of Eoin O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade returning from Spain after a pretty disastrous and embarassing campaign which only lasted six months. Getting drunk regularly and, in their first action, coming under friendly fire from an allied Falangist unit from the Canary Islands, it is likely that Franco was glad to see the back of the […]

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This year marks the 75th anniversary of the civil war in Spain. I’ve long been fascinated by the conflict, as most ‘lefties’ are I suppose, not least the international elements of the conflict. For many in Ireland, the war would be seen not a foreign war to observe from a distance, but a struggle between […]

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At night we lie in filthy beds Scratching our aching lousy heads. Broken by the thought of rent For a room in a stinking tenement. -excerpt from ‘The Workless’ in Republican Congress, 30 June 1934. The Republican Congress occupies an important, though disputed, place in Irish left-wing memory. In existence from 1934 until 1936, the […]

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Gabriel Lee is the only member of Eoin O’Duffy’s Pro-Franco ‘Irish Brigade’ to be commemorated with a public memorial in Ireland. A small plaque in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral marks the fact that he died fighting with the Fascist forces in Spain in 1937. This is in stark contrast to the 20+ plaques and memorials across the […]

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The idea of hundreds of people laying siege to a bookshop or a political party office is a strange one that we might not associate with Dublin, but it has happened here on more than one occasion. Yesterday was the centenary of the birth of Michael O’Riordan, a remarkable figure in Irish political history. Born […]

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Whether cricket or Marxism is your bag, C.L.R James is a towering figure in each world. They are, I concede, two worlds that tend not to meet. His 1963 memoir Beyond a Boundary, which he himself described as “neither cricket reminiscences nor autobiography”, is widely regarded as one of the finest books ever written on […]

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23 years after the birth of the Free State, a writer in the journal Studies complained that slumdom remained, and that the city was still home to “conditions which are often quite unsuitable for cattle,much less human beings.” To Professor T.W.T Dillon, things were still dire and not getting better: …the pattern of dirt, decay […]

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In Ireland, there is a tendency to view the 1930s in an overwhelmingly negative light, not least when it comes to culture. Yet in spite of sometimes suffocating conservative attitudes and a censorship regime that presented real obstacles to creativity, remarkable talents did find some space in Irish life. Celebrated names like Liam O’Flaherty, Harry […]

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On a spring evening in 1942 in the North Dublin suburb of Clontarf, a tragic shooting led to the deaths of Una Ennis (aged 19) and her boyfriend John Prendergast (aged 30). Nearly seventy-five years later, here is the story retold for the first time online. We understand this is a sensitive topic for the two families concerned and […]

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I’m currently reading John Cooney’s  biography of John Charles McQuaid, a figure who loomed large over every aspect of Irish life in his time. The much-feared Archbishop of Dublin intervened in everything from Association Football to issues of cinema, but one of the strangest tales in the book concerns the visit of Orson Welles to […]

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