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Archive for the ‘Dublin History’ Category

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.

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Iconic image of Republican Congress delegation partaking in commemoration. “Shankill Road Belfast Branch: Break The Connection With Capitalism.”

The Republican Congress occupies an important, though disputed, place in Irish left-wing memory. In existence from 1934 until 1936, the organisation emerged from a split within the ranks of the IRA, proclaiming boldly at its inception that “we believe that a Republic of a united Ireland will never be achieved except through a struggle which uproots capitalism on its way.”

Torn apart by internal ideological disagreement from the beginning, there is a certain romanticism attached to the Congress owing to its ability to organise some Belfast Protestant workers into its ranks and the fact some of its leading lights were killed on the battlefields of Spain (the Spanish Civil War remaining one of the few occasions in human history where history has very much been written by the defeated protagonists). Yet while much has been written on the anti-fascist activities of the Congress and its contribution to the ranks of the International Brigades, other aspects of its political activities are often overlooked. If Congress enjoyed success on any frontier, it was certainly in its abilities to organise in both Dublin slumdom and emerging suburbia with the emergence of Tenants Leagues, winning a number of victories over landlords and an embarrassed Dublin Corporation. Many of its tactics, from rent boycotts to the occupation of houses, would be adopted by later generations of housing activists.

A changing tenement landscape

The tenement landscape of 1930s Dublin is something we have previously examined on the website. In an irony of history, many of the tenements occupied what was once the splendor of a Georgian city. As Jim Larkin Jr. would recount, Dublin stood upon the Liffey as “a city of fine Georgian houses which had been slowly rotting away for a hundred years and which had become an ever growing cancer of horrible, inhuman, dirty, vermin infest tenements, unequaled by any modern city in Europe.”

The period witnessed some significant advances in public housing in the capital, thanks in no small part to the approach taken by Housing Architect Herbert George Simms, responsible for the construction of some 17,000 new dwellings in his time in office. New flat dwellings were constructed in the city, while suburban development pushed ahead. Taking Cabra as an example of growth, the population there increased from 5,326 in 1926 to 19,119 in 1936. Cabra on the northside and Crumlin/Drimnagh on the southside represented the most ambitious suburban developments of the still relatively new Free State. Fianna Fáil had made housing an election issue in 1923, referring to the out-going first government of the state as a “rich mans government” who had failed to provide for the working classes of Ireland’s urban centres.

Still, images like this one recently posted on the blog show how there was still much work to do. Right alongside the new developments of Simms and Dublin Corporation, tenements like those shown there in Mary’s Lane remained a reality for many. Conditions were poor in early Dublin Corporation inner-city housing schemes like Corporation Buildings, but they were worse still for those at the mercy of private landlords.

‘We, The People Of York Street’

From the very beginning of the Congress, its newspaper, Republican Congress, focused its attention on conditions in tenement Dublin. An edition of the paper in June 1934 reported on the refusal of residents of York Street to pay rents until conditions improved:

The slum dwellers of York Street have been the first section of the working-class to petition the people of Ireland to right the insufferable, shocking,inhuman conditions under which they live. Here is an appeal to the conscience of the Irish working-class that should strike a deep, momentous note of response. Terrible indignation should burn up in the breast of every worker at a system that condemns our brothers and sister to crawl to an unholy death in such cesspools of misery and abomination. Dublin landlords stand forth in this area as the most soulless, greedy, despicable exploiters of their class.

The paper called for the refusal of rents to be extended into other areas where housing was inadequate, insisting that “York Street is the first; where is the next? Extend the area! Broaden the struggle! Compel the Corporation to house the workers, whether they are able to pay or not. Houses first; talk of rent afterwards….Already it is done in English cities controlled by Labour Corporations.”

The paper encouraged tenement dwellers to “appear in your hundreds at the next Corporation meeting! Demand immediate action to clear these areas and transfer the tenants to Corporation houses and flats.” At the time, Alfie Byrne was Dublin’s Lord Mayor. Byrne had long enjoyed a strained relationship with the labour movement, stretching back to the days of Larkinism. The tenants marched onto the Mansion House, making their demands for “the  stopping of eviction proceedings now pending, and immediate steps by the Corporation to house the workers of the areas in suitable surroundings.” Byrne was in unfamiliar territory, the ever-popular politician now in a hostile crowd. While he met with a delegation from the York Street tenements, he emerged to an unfamiliar audience:

When the deputation appeared with Byrne on the Mansion House steps, the crowd refused to hear Alfie Byrne and shouted for Congress speakers. In response, Charlie Donnelly said that when the Congress led the tenants of Magee’s Court, York Street and Gloucester Place to the Mansion House did not give them the undertaking that the Lord Mayor would have any solution to their problem. The Congress had told them that the Corporation was a landlord Corporation, that it served the interests, not of the tenants, but of the landlords (cheers)

The landlords’ Corporation could not solve the workers’ housing problem because under the present system, houses were not built for workers’ use but for landlords’ profit (cheers).

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Charles Donnelly, a young Congress activist centrally involved in the Tenants Leagues.

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River House (1973-2018)

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Former motor tax office, Chancery Street (Aug 2018)

The removal of the motor tax office on Chancery Street has been a reminder of just how divisive the building is. River House has been empty for more than a decade, and in recent years there have been some anti-social problems around the complex. A Dublin City Councillor told the press that “from a local point of you, it has been a scourge, whether you’re talking about looking at it or otherwise. It has been a source of a lot of anti-social behaviour and criminality.” Its replacement, unsurprisingly at present, is to be a hotel. It seems everything is to be a hotel.

River House replaced the old motor tax office on Coleraine Street, which might better be described as a prefab. Few lamented its loss, and it was generally viewed as not fit for purpose. River House was completed in 1973, yet within a few short years there were demands for a second motor tax office on Dublin’s southside. Among various complaints were an absence of parking for members of the public around River House, it what was then still a thriving market district.

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Sunday Independent image of River House, 1973.

In recent times, River House has been repeatedly described as ugly in the press, The Sunday Times labeling it a “brutalist eyesore.” Frank McDonald, a champion of good architecture of all  different schools and styles in Dublin, described it as an “incoherent building” in his classic study The Destruction of Dublin.

I feel it has some redeeming features, but is lacking by comparison to other brutalist structures of the period, certainly it has none of the robust glory of more celebrated buildings. The work of Patrick J. Sheahan & Partners, it never won the same praise as buildings such as the magnificent Berkeley Library of Trinity College Dublin or Fitzwilton House, described by @brutalistdublin as a “cathedral to concrete”. While a chorus of voices called for Fitzwilton House to be saved, the removal of River House occurs with no real voice of opposition. The controversies around its construction, and the fact it served as the much hated motor tax office, perhaps never really endeared the structure to Dubliners.

Writing for Architecture Ireland in 2016 on the subject of Fitzwilton House, architect noted that:

Those who remember the damage caused to the fabric of the city by the construction of these buildings may find it difficult to shed a tear when these too are threatened but it is unfair to judge the quality of a building by the circumstances of its inception. We are in danger of stripping the city of the remnants of modernism in favour of a built environment that has more to do with maximizing ‘return on investment’ than it does with architecture. And these buildings in turn will be replaced by newer shinier replacements in a wasteful cycle of destruction and reconstruction.

Regardless of what one thinks of River House, perhaps we can all agree on opposition to the city becoming one giant hotel.

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Former motor tax office, Chancery Street (Aug 2018)

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What’s the news the newsboy yells?
What’s the news the paper tells?
A British retreat from the Dardanelles?
Says the Grand old Dame Britannia.

-From the contemporary song The Grand Old Dame Britannia.

In popular memory, the War of Independence is more synonymous with the hilly terrain of rural Ireland than Dublin’s urban landscape, despite a number of key events occurring in the capital, such as the burning of the Custom House and the drama of Bloody Sunday. In reality, ambushes were a feature of life in the capital too.

Nowhere was this truer than in the area of Aungier Street, Camden Street and Wexford Street. Essentially one long continuation linking the city centre at Dame Street to Portobello Barracks, it was a route frequently taken by British soldiers into the city.  Particularly dangerous was the area where Wexford Street once narrowed into Aungier Street, creating a bottleneck ideal for ambushing parties. It was British forces who christened the district ‘the Dardanelles’, drawing parallels to the First World War Gallipoli campaign.

The name remained in colloquial use in Dublin post-independence, and even survived road widening which transformed the appearance of Redmond’s Hill, removing the historic bottleneck. A writer in the Evening Herald in 1940 noted that some bus conductors did not believe in “scrapping the colloquial expression”, still intoning “we are at the Dardanelles.”

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Bartholomew’s 1909 Plan of Dublin showing the area that became known as the Dardamelles.

In recounting the historic layout of the area, Volunteer Sean Prendergast recalled that:

Certain thoroughfares in Dublin had become prominent in the military sense due to the number and intensity of street bombings. One of these was Redmond’s Hill and Wexford Street in the 3rd Battalion Area….a short narrow street that divided Aungier Street and Camden Street. Those streets were habitually used by British forces flying from the city to Portobello Barracks and vice versa. Several streets jutted from the north entrance of Redmond’s Hill, Digges Street, Bishop’s Street and Peter’s Row….The strange feature about Redmond’s Hill was that it was a bottleneck. Ambushing at this point was carried out with such recurring frequency as to cause it to be regarded and called the Dardanelles.

There were many living in the district for whom the Dardanelles meant only one thing, the far off battlefields of World War One. The high loss of life among the Irish in the Dardanelles campaign would make its presence felt at home in the aftermath of the Rising, with the Freeman’s Journal proclaiming the Dardanelles to be “where Irish troops were sacrificed by blunders.”

A number of major employers in the area had proactively contributed to the British war effort, in particular Guinness and Jacob’s. At the time the First World War broke out, the workforce of Guinness stood at 3,650 people, of whom more than 800 would serve in the war effort. The brewery paid half wages to the dependents of these men, while also committing to reemployment upon return from the war. From Jacob’s, almost 400 employees had enlisted in the British Army. The presence of many so-called ‘Separation Women’ in the vicinity was a source of annoyance to the Irish Volunteers during Easter Week, and Bill Stapleton recounted of the first day of the Rising:

This was a very hostile area. We were booed and frequently pelted with various articles throughout the day. We were openly insulted, particularly by the wives of British soldiers who were drawing separation allowance and who referred to their sons and husbands fighting for freedom in France. As dusk as falling, about 8 or 8 o’clock, we retreated from the barricades to our headquarters at Jacob’s factory, at the Bishop Street entrance, and while waiting to be admitted we were submitted to all sorts of indignities by some of the local people. It was difficult to preserve control due to the treatment we suffered from these people.

As Prendergast rightly recounted, Dublin was an unfavourable field for military action; the “mobility, speed and characteristics of the armoured cars…afforded a certain amount of protection for the British forces… Add to that the feature that they generally operated in populous areas on the main thoroughfares and you get a fair picture of the difficulties facing the IRA in pursuing action against them.”

 

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British forces leaving Portobello Barracks following its handing over in 1922 (Image Credit; Nationa lLibrary of Ireland)

As much as rifles and handguns, the IRA’s Third Battalion (for whom this area was pivotal) were dependent on a supply of grenades to lob into passing army vehicles. Throughout the guerilla war the IRA maintained a proactive GHQ, which included a Director of Chemicals, Director of Munitions and Director of Purchases, all tasked with different but important missions in arming the IRA. Clandestine grenade factories operated across the city, including one we previously looked at in Temple Bar. Michael Carroll, a Section Commander with the Third Battalion, recounted that the grenades were not always reliable, remembering an evening in Wexford Street when “an armoured turret car was passing along at medium speed, and James Harcourt lobbed a grenade into the open turret. A few seconds later the same grenade was thrown back on the roadway. It was a dud.”

In Carroll’s account of the district during the War of Independence, it was at a meeting on Stephen’s Day 1920 in a flat on Aungier Street that plans were discussed to carry out frequent ambushes in the locale, and “section leaders were told to inspect the area and to show the men quick exits after attack. All previous training in bomb throwing and rifle practice was of very little use at this period,as the whole method of street fighting now adopted changed completely.” The mission was simple: “It would not be possible for me to describe all the actions, as they were carried out in a hit and run manner. The main idea was to throw the grenade at the armed vehicle and get away as soon as possible.”

In a densely populated civilian area, there was always a risk to civilian life. Carroll recalled a gang of men outside a pub who were politely advised to move on before an attack near Wexford Street, but who refused to budge, only later to run away when the action began:

One Saturday evening we were tipped off that a lorry with British soldiers was moving along from Portobello Barracks direction, and some of the section were directed into Montague Street, also on the opposite side to Camden Row. Jimmy Keogh and I saw some young men loitering outside Sinnott’s public house and we quietly advised them to move away, explaining the reason.They refused to do so and gave out abuse, so we told them to stay where they were. Jim and I went across the street and stood at the corner of Montague Street. The vehicle was now approaching and Jim ordered me to cover him, while proceeding to throw the grenade….A couple of seconds later, a second grenade, thrown by Christy Murray, followed in, and both exploded inside, shaking the lorry from side to side as it sped down Wexford Street. Jim and I hurried to join the remainder o f the patrol in Montague Street. As we did so, the men who were loitering at the publichouse could be seen sprinting like hares along Camden Row. This was their last appearance at Sinnott’s exterior.

The British responded to the grenade attacks on armoured cars and other patrolling vehicles in a number of ways. Some British patrols began carrying republican prisoners, something that was done with notice in the hope of preventing attacks, though this was widely reported in the press and condemned across the political spectrum. Joseph McKenna notes in his history of guerilla warfare tactics in Ireland that when grenade attacks continued, “to prevent them from entering the vehicles, the British army trucks were covered in mesh. The IRA responded by attaching fishing hooks to the grenades, which would catch in the mesh and explode.”

Into the Civil War, both sides were conscious of the dangers posed by the district. Many in the Free State armed forces were former republicans, who had themselves partaken in ambushes on British forces in the War of Independence. In his history of the Civil War in Dublin, John Dorney notes that the new National Army found the Dardanelles a dilemma, one officer pondering: “Would it be worthwhile to put a small post on the Dardanelles. You remember how we often used it for ambushing cars in former times?” A republican ambush on Free State forces in January 1923 went disastrously wrong, wounding a number of innocent civilians. It was the sad end of ambushing days in the Dardanelles.

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Newspaper report of 6 January 1923.

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If there is anything more depressing than a study of Dublin’s slums in detail it is a study of Dublin’s slum-dwellers…They look like people who have no healthy interests, no fresh and natural desires, nothing that the wildest imagination could call dreams; people who go through life as a narrow, burdensome, unintelligible pilgrimage; they have lost the capacity of sympathy, understanding and hope.

-From William Patrick Ryan’s The Pope’s Green Island, 1912.

Today is the 70th anniversary of the death of Herbert George Simms, Dublin’s pioneering Housing Architect. We have previously examined Simms in this piece on housing in 1930s Dublin. Much can be taken today from the work of Simms, who was responsible for the construction of some 17,000 new working class dwellings in his time in office, ranging from beautiful Art Deco flat schemes in the inner-city to new suburban landscapes. Speaking to a housing inquiry in 1935, Simms outlined his belief that “you cannot re-house a population of 15,000 people, as in the Crumlin scheme, without providing for the other necessities and amenities of life.” Future decades and failed projects have proven those words correct.

The death of Simms in September 1948 was tragic, with the architect throwing himself in front of a train near Coal Quay Bridge. His suicide note, which was rather curiously reprinted in the Irish Press newspaper, said “I cannot stand it any longer, my brain is too tired to work any more. It has not had a rest for 20 years except when I am in heavy sleep. It is always on the go like a dynamo and still the work is being piled on to me.”

To mark the anniversary of his passing, today we post this stunning image from the collections of Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive. It shows a familiar Dublin landmark, in the form of St. Michan’s Church, but also the meeting of two ages of housing in the Irish capital. On our right, we see the construction of the Greek Street flats. These flats were described in the press as being of “the most modern type….to us they recall photographs of municipal flat schemes from Berlin,Moscow or Vienna.” On the otherside, the tenement slums of Mary’s Lane remain. The image appeared in the Evening Mail, and captures the beginning of the work of Herbert Simms for Dublin.

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Image Credit: Dublin City Public Libraries and Archives.

Simms will be honoured in October with the Simms120 conference, open to the public though registration is required:

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“The pirate buses used to go around to all different routes. Oh, they could go anywhere they liked. They weren’t confined to one route – a free-for-all! There was no bus stops, anybody could just put up their hand and stop you anywhere. Oh, they’d cut one another’s throats.” (George Doran in Dublin Street Life and Lore, Kevin C. Kearns)

Prior to the Dublin United Tramways (Omnibus Services) Act, 1925., Dublin’s streets were akin to the high seas with privateers commanding routes at will in their ships (buses) with names adorning their sides such as the Whiteline Bus Co., the Blueline and Excelsior Bus Company and the Old Contemptible Omnibus Company. The act empowered the Dublin United Tramways Company to ‘provide and maintain omnibus services in the city and county of Dublin’ and was to spell the end for the private (or as they became known, pirate) bus companies as one by one they dropped off or were consumed by DUTC. The act was in part a response to the marauding pirates who, free from regulation were a law onto themselves. Their presence was seen as an affront to the city’s traditional tramlines, and a perhaps a signal of the demise of her once famed tram system.

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“THE PIRATE BUS WILL LEAVE FOR DUBLIN AT 3 A.M. AFTER THE DANCE.”

The pirates had several tricks up their sleeves and at all times were on the make- their goal was to pick up as many customers as possible and free from the constraints of the electric lines required for lighting and moving the carriages used on the tramways, were better able to navigate Dublin’s streets. Because of this, the buses were known to slowly drive along lines, delaying trams and allowing their colleagues to race ahead and poach customers. In response, tram drivers would sandwich buses front and back and refuse to move until they had emptied.

The pirates were notorious for their ill behaviour- not just against the tram drivers but also among themselves. In the words of  tram driver William Condon, “Oh they were a desperate gang. They wore their own clothes, no uniforms. And they’d blow their horns at one another and hurling words and shaking their fists at one another. The attitude in the pirate business was, ‘I’ll do it my way,’ and rough language.” (Dublin Voices: An Oral Folk History, Kevin C. Kearns.)

The Old Contemptible Omnibus Company formed in 1924 and was owned by a Kathleen Gilbert of Clontarf. Its initial route ran from Eden Quay to Abbeyfield in Killester,  “primarily to serve the ex-servicemen’s housing estate built there in the aftermath of the first World War.” (Irish Times, April 4th 2016.) Their drivers tended to be veterans of the war and their fantastic name stems from military lore, with survivors of the British Expeditionary Force post WWI dubbing themselves “The Old Contemptibles” due to a dismissive quote by Emperor Wilhelm II.  Their routes would later expand to Philipsburgh Avenue, Howth and Dollymount using 26-seater and 32-seater buses manufactured by Guy Motors in Wolverhampton.

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An alleged Contemptible Omnibus in Fairview

The Old Contemptibles weren’t the only soldiers on the road, with the same article stating “after the end of the Civil War in 1923, some ex-servicemen used their demobilisation gratuities to buy a small bus, taking advantage of the lack of regulation to compete with each other and with the tramway company and railways.”

The Company was not averse to the ill feeling between the privateers and the DUTC, with both appearing in Dublin Circuit Court in April 1927 pursuing counter claims against each other for an accident that happened the previous October. Reading from the Court Notes, it appears a ‘Contemptible’ bus and a ‘DUTC’ bus were involved in a collision near Liberty Hall, as they both looked to be racing for the same spot on the road. “On behalf of the tramways company it was submitted that as their ‘bus emerged from the archway, the ‘Contemptible’ bus was obviously making for the same archway, and was only about 50 feet away. The tramway ‘bus came to a stop without any danger or trouble, but the other driver made no attempt to avoid it and crashed into it. The driver of the ‘Contemptible’ ‘bus was, it was stated, on his wrong side and was not going for the proper arch at all.” (Irish Times, April 8th 1927)

In time, the DUTC would vanquish Dublin’s pirates, little by little buying out the myriad of companies and it would be over 80 years until their descendants in Dublin Bus would relinquish control of their routes to privateers again.

 

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Newgate Prison from Robert Pool & John Cash. Views of the most remarkable public buildings, monuments and other edifices in the city of Dublin; 1780 (Dublin City Council)

Though a grim thought to us today, many eighteenth century Dubliners regarded public hangings as public spectacles. While some voices maintained that nothing of merit could come from “bringing unhappy wretches through a city, amid the sighs, and too often the commendation, pity and tears of the common people”, others reveled in the scenes and crowded streets.

I’m currently reading Brian Henry’s study Dublin Hanged: Crime, Law and Punishment in Eighteenth Century Dublin. Published 25 years ago this year, it is a masterclass examination of crime and responses to it in the Irish capital, drawing heavily from the eighteenth century press.  It’s interesting to note how punishments changed over the course of a century, and likewise how the attitude of Dubliners towards very public spectacles of death changed too.

By the end of the century, the authorities wished to put an end to the centuries-old spectacle of hanging processions in the city,  which essentially witnessed the condemned riding in a cart through the city – followed by family, friends, the generally curious and the more than occasional jeering spectator – towards the “fatal tree” in the vicinity of Stephen’s Green. These were, Henry notes, “well publicisied affairs and attracted huge numbers of people.”

By Janaury 1783, it was time for change, with the Lord Lieutenant ordering that future executions occur instead on the city’s northside outside of the Newgate Prison beside Green Street. The site of the prison is today occupied by St. Michan’s Park, where a monument commemorates John and Henry Sheares, two prominent United Irishmen. Following their betrayal by a paid informer, they were hanged outside the prison in 1798, walking to the gallows holding hands, comrades and brothers until the end. The inscription on the monument notes, “within this park once stood Newgate prison associated in dark and evil days with the doing to death of confessors of Irish liberty, who gave their lives to vindicate their country’s right to national independence.”

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Erin reflects in the playground of St. Michan’s Park.

Not all who went to the gallows of Newgate prison were “confessors of Irish liberty.” The first man to meet his end there was Patrick Lynch, hanged on 4 January 1783. Lynch was tried and sentenced only a day earlier for robbing one Mr. Dowling and firing two pistol shots at him in the process. Lynch was sentenced under the Chalking Act, under which those convicted “were to suffer death without benefit of the clergy, a medieval term which came to mean loss of regal recourse. In 1784 the Chalking Act was amended and those convicted under it were to have their bodies, after hanging to death, delivered to the surgeons in Dublin or the anatomists at Trinity College, Dublin for dissection or anatomisation.”

If the intention in moving hangings from the Stephen’s Green area to Newgate Prison was to prevent a public spectacle,  it was a colossal failure. The area in the vicinity of Green Street was a long established market district, beside the Ormond fruit and vegetable market and amidst a warren of streets occupied by small shops, making it a hive of activity. Warburton, Whitelaw and Walsh, in their classic history of Dublin, were scathing of conditions in the prison and its locality, noting that it was “environed by dirty streets,and in so low a situation as to render the construction of proper sewers to carry off its filth impracticable.” To them, it was quite simply “a disgrace to the metropolis.”

Less than 24 hours after his conviction, Lynch, a member of a sizeable criminal gang in the city who had been tried previously for several robberies and burglaries, appeared on the front steps of the prison. The executioner fixed a noose around his neck, attaching it to a mechanical apparatus on the first landing, then “Lynch was suddenly hoisted up in the air by a pullet affixed to the window just above the front door.” The Dublin Evening Post described the hanging apparatus thus:

A tremendous apparatus for the execution of criminals is fixed at the front of the New Gaol in the Little Green. It consists of a strong iron gibbet with four pulleys of the same metal, underneath which is a hanging scaffold on which the fated wretches are to come out from the centre window and on a signal the supporters of the scaffold are drawn from under it and the criminals remain suspended.

His body swung there from noon until four in the afternoon, witnessed by thousands of people. It was a grim spectacle, to such an extent that in its aftermath it was decided bodies should not be suspended for more than an hour at future hangings. The manner of hanging was brutish, Dubliners christening the “city crane” which so violently lifted men to their deaths. It was quickly replaced by a drop platform system, ensuring that the Newgate’s second victim met a quicker end.

Not long after Lynch’s death, reference was made in the press to troublesome young men who were “loose, idle and very profligate fellows…belonging to the gang of that heinous offender, Lynch, who was lately executed in that exemplary manner.” Patrick Lynch was the beginning of a tradition of death by hanging at the Newgate that would continue into the nineteenth century. The site gained a certain romanticism because of the death of prominent United Irishmen there. In 1898, nationalists marked the centenary of the United Irish rebellion by parading at the site of the prison and playing the ‘Marseillaise’ to the memory of those who had died for the ideals of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’. Yet most of those who were hanged at the prison were lowly criminals like Lynch, and there was no romanticism in their deaths before the Dublin crowds. The prison finally closed in 1863, and was demolished thirty years later.

 

 

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DFOH

The Dublin Festival of History begins next week, and will run right through into a brilliant weekend of talks in Dublin Castle. There are over 140 events taking place in Libraries across Dublin. Highlights include a talk from the team behind the marvelous Atlas of the Irish Revolution, songs from the struggle for Suffrage  and  Paddy Cullivan’s very funny yet very serious 10 Dark Secrets of 1798.

I have quite a few talks in the Festival. Please note that in the programme I am down for several walks, unfortunately I’ve broken my ankle (one of the few things in life that actually is as bad as it sounds), the 1918 walk from the Mansion House will go ahead in the very capable hands of Justine Murphy, while the Revolutionary Dublin tour is in the hands of Dr. Brian Hanley, author of The IRA 1926-1936, The Lost Revolution and a new study from Manchester University Press examining the impact of the conflict in the North of Ireland on southern society.

Catch me hobbling into the following libraries:

CABRA LIBRARY:

Tenements and Suburbia, 27 September, 6:30PM

Gaelic Sunday 1918, 4th October, 6:30PM.

DRUMCONDRA LIBRARY:

The Many Lives of Jackie Carey, 25th September, 6:30PM

FINGLAS LIBRARY:

Tenements and Suburbia, 24th September, 6:30PM.

30th Anniversary of Feel No Shame: An Interview with Christy Dignam, 26th September, 6:30PM (booked out)

The Life and Politics of Liam Mellows, 1 October 6:30PM.

ILAC LIBRARY (CENTRAL LIBRARY)

From The Plough to the Stars: James Connolly at 150, 28 September,1PM.

SWORDS CASTLE

1918: The Year Everything Changed, 29 September, 11:15AM.

 

 

 

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