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Posts Tagged ‘history’

I took a swing by the aforementioned Cromwell’s Quarters earlier to get a snap of the recently replaced sign. Whether the old sign was swiped or merely kept in storage while building work was going on next to the lane, who knows, but its not there if you take a look on Google Maps…

Yup, Cromwell's Quarters!

I also came across this map from 1885, seven years before the name changed to Cromwell’s Quarters on the excellent rootschat forum which marks the steps as “Murdering Lane.” Granted, you do have to squint, but there it is between Bowe Lane and the South Dublin Union.

Just beside Bowe Bridge is... Murdering Lane! Kudos to shanew147 for the upload.

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“The old guard and the new”, this is a classic Fianna Fail election leaflet encouraging the public to get behind two 1916 veterans (Oscar Traynor and Harry Colley), “stand by De Valera” and to put faith in two newer faces, Eugene Timmons and Charles Haughey. It is a most unusual piece, from the Dublin North East constituency.

Traynor is a well-known figure in Irish political history, in command at the Metropole Hotel during the 1916 Rising. Unusually, he was a soccer-man, and had toured Europe with Belfast Celtic in 1912. The image below is taken from a piece on his time at that club over on the excellent Belfast Celtic historical site.

Traynor (Goalkeeper) with the rest of the Belfast Celtic team in 1912.

Harry Colley had also taken part in the Rising, and the leaflet notes that he was “..left for dead at a Dublin street barricade” during the rebellion.

Ultimately, Charles Haughey would fail to win a seat in 1954, obtaining 1,812 votes. When Haughey did obtain a seat three years later in 1957, it was at the expense of Colley. The rest, as they say, is history.

Click to expand and read:

(more…)

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It’s a good question for a pub quiz- How many bridges span the Liffey from Heuston Station to where Dublin meets the sea? No doubt you’ll get a plethora of answers, but you’ll rarely get the right one. You can guarantee people will forget that two bridges traverse the water at Heuston, they’ll forget about the little Rory O’Moore Bridge that has more history than most of them, or the DART Loopline at Butt Bridge. They might even forget the ugly abomination that is the East Link, the last connection between Northside and Southside before Dublin Bay separates the two…

Perhaps Dublin's best known bridge, The Ha'Penny Bridge.

The correct answer, if you want to know, is seventeen, starting at Sean Heuston Bridge and working all the way along the river to the Eastlink Bridge at Dublin Port. I’m not going to cover them all in this piece; I won’t be covering the bridges we all know, like O’Connell Bridge or the Ha’penny Bridge for that matter. What I will do is take a look at some of the ones to the west of O’Connell Bridge; ones I find interesting mainly due to who they’re named after or because of their historical importance.

-Sean Heuston Bridge (ex-King’s Bridge, Sarsfield Bridge) 1829

The first incarnation of the bridge was built in 1828/ 9 and named Kings Bridge to commemorate a visit by George IV to Dublin in 1821.  After the declaration of the Free State  in 1922, it was renamed Sarsfield Bridge, in memory of Patrick Sarsfield, leader of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1641. (I’ll talk about the 1641 Rebellion later.) In 1941 the bridge was again re-named, this time after Sean Heuston, a member of Na Fianna h-Éireann who played a prominent role in the Easter Rising of 1916.

At 19 years of age, Seán Heuston was Captain of a twenty three strong company of men, mostly Fianna h-Éireann members around his own age, who were directed by James Connolly to take “The  Mendicity (Institute on Ushers Island) at all costs”. Their goal was to prevent British re-inforcements coming into the city from The Curragh Camp and the West. They held out until Wednesday afternoon, until they were scattered by the 10th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. One of the more striking stories of the Rebellion (or one of countless stories to tell of that week) is that of the Liutenant of the 10th Battalion, Lieutenant Gerald Aloysius Neilan who was shot and killed by a sniper from the Mendicity, while his brother Anthony Neilan took part in the Rising on the Rebel side. He was one of two Liutenants killed in Dublin that day, with another nine members of the 10th Batt. killed at the Mendicity,  as per a report to Prime Minister Asquith by General Sir John Maxwell.  Seán Houston was captured with 22 other men and executed by firing squad on May 8, 1916 in Kilmainham Jail on the charge that he “… did take part in an armed rebellion and in the waging of wars against His Majesty the king such act of being of such a nature as to be calculated to be prejudicial to the defence of the Realm and being done with the intention and for the purpose of assisting the enemy.”

 Kingsbridge Station was later renamed Heuston Station in his honour.

Nothing like this anymore of course, theres more silt than water under it, and the LUAS runs across it!

The Bridge itself was reconstructed in 2003 and now carries the LUAS from Tallaght to the Point.

– Rory O’Moore Bridge, (ex- Victoria & Albert Bridge, Queen Victoria Bridge) Watling Street to Ellis Street, 1859 (Previous structures: 1670, 1704)

“Oh lives there the traitor who’d shrink from the strife, who would add to the length of his forfeited life. And his country, his kindred, his faith would abjure; No we’ll strike for old Ireland and Rory O’Moore.” (more…)

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Field-Marshal Earl Roberts on his Charger 'Vonolel', from the Tate Collection.

Many people walking the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham will pass a small grave without noticing, and yet this grave is perhaps the most unusual grave in Dublin itself. In the grounds of the Hospital, one finds the final resting place of ‘Vonolel’, twenty-nine years old on passing, but a veteran of conflict.

“When the Queen awarded medals to her officers and men who has taken part in the Afghan campaign and in the expedition to Kandahar, she did not forget Vonolel. Lord Roberts hung round the animals neck the Kabul medal, with four clasps, and the bronze Kandahar star. The gallant horse wore these medals on that day in June when the nation celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee”

So read The Irish Times of October 21, 1899.

Much more information on the horse can be gathered from an earlier piece however, dating from January of the same year, when Vonolel was still living. In it, it was noted that Vonolel had come to England “having been practically all over the world with his master”. He was described as “..a type of the highest class of Arab charger” and it was noted that “he traces his descent from the best blood of the desert” It was also noted that his medals were only worn on special occasions!

The grave of Vonolel, in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

It was 1877 when Vonolel was purchased from a horse dealer in Bombay, at the age of four. He was named after a great Lushai chief. He would become closely associated with Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, a man with family links to the city of Waterford. It is perhaps with the Battle of Kandahar, the last serious engagement of the Anglo-Afghan war, that Roberts (and by extension Vonolel) is most closely associated. For victory in the Battle of Kandahar, Roberts received the thanks of Parliament.

Vonolel was retired to the Curragh in Kildare, and his grave notes that he passed away while at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, in June 1899. Roberts was said to be heartbroken, and Vonolel was buried in the rose gardens of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. His military exploits are acknowledged, as is his character.

Included on the headstone are the lines:

There are men both good and wise
Who hold that in a future state
Dumb creatures we have cherished here below
Shall give us joyous greeting when
We pass the golden gate
Is it folly that I hope it may be so?

Why not stop by the grave of Vonolel the next time you find yourself in Kilmainham, and see for yourself what must surely be one of Dublin’s most unusual graves.

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Trinity College Dublin c.1900

I recently began reading a work titled The Good Old IRA, which was issued by the ‘Sinn Féin Publicity Department’ in November 1985. It lists ‘Tan War operations’ which injured or in some cases killed civilians in an attempt to highlight the hypocrisy of those who honoured the republicans of old while attacking their contemporaries.

The works introduction slates Labour Party leader and “Free State deputy-premier” Dick Spring for example, noting that he was

tongue-tied in attempting to explain the differences between the IRA gun-runner Roger Casement (in whose honour he was unveiling a statue at Ballyheigue, County Kerry) and those IRA gun-runners on the Marita Anne who had been arrested by his government’s forces off the Kerry coast 24 hours previously.

One incident detailed in particular, from 1921, stood out for me. It is listed on page 56 of the work.

Not Cricket

One woman spectator, Miss Kate Wright, a student of Trinity College, was killed and another wounded in an attack by armed civilians on military officers playing in a cricket match at Trinity College Dublin on June 3rd. A man fired shots on to the field of play from the railings at Nassau Street from which the pitch was visible.

The Irish Times reported on the day following the shooting that

The occasion was one of festivity and enjoyment in the College Park. A cricket match in connection with Warriors’ Day was in progress. The teams were the Gentlemen of Ireland versus the Military of Ireland. The general belief is that the latter were the objects of the murderous attack which resulted so tragically

From the contemporary newspaper reports, we can establish quite a lot about Miss Wright. Aged only 21 (based on an Irish Independent report of the inquiry into her death),Kathleen Alexanderson Wright was engaged to be married to a young man who was also a student at the Dublin university. His name was Mr. Geo Herbert Ardall, and he was a native of Sligo. He was studying Science at the University, and was with Kathleen enjoying the cricket match, on what was said to be a lovely summers day in Dublin.

From the following days Irish Independent.

Kathleen was the daughter of the Rev. E.A Wright of All Saints Clapham Park in London, and the Irish Independent of June 4 1921 noted that he had “before going to England filled curacies in Cahir and Seapatrick”, both in county Down. At the time of the shooting she was living on Pembroke Road in Rathmines, but before hand had lived in digs at Trinity.

The Irish Independent reported how he told the inquiry into his fiance’s death that

When the shots were fired he pulled Miss Wright down on the ground as quickly as he could. She was moaning, but he was not certain she was hit until a few moments afterwards when he saw blood on the front of her blouse. Three doctors attended her, and one told him that the case was absolutely hopeless. He did not hear her make any remark. He accompanied her to hospital, where he was told she was dead

The Irish Times report into the inquiry noted that

Another witness stated that he was in the cricket pavilion, and heard someone remark that shots were being fired outside in the park. He went out immediately, and ran to where a crowd was collecting inside the park railings opposite the Kildare Street Club. A few of his friends told him what had happened and said that the shots came through the railings (…) When witness arrived at where the girl was lying on the ground the crowd who are usually gathered in Nassau Street outside the railings to watch the game had all cleared off.

Perhaps the most surreal details about the shooting come from the statement issued by Dublin Castle in the immediate aftermath of the event. The official reported noted that another female was wounded during the shootings, and provided great insight into the initial reaction of those on the green.

As soon as the shooting began,the players, realising what was happening, threw themselves flat on the field. A regimental band, which was on the field at the time, threw down their instruments and also lay prone. The spectators were not so quick to realise what was happening until a number of shots had been fired and persons were hit.

The attackers made good their escape.

Nobody was ever tried for the shooting of Miss Kathleen Wright, and little was written about her after her body returned home. Her story is just one of many told in The Good Old IRA, with other tragic events unfolding on the streets of Dublin over the course of the War of Independence.

I’ll no doubt think of her and her story next time I wander through Trinity College.

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This plaque, marking the old home of the Medical School of ‘The Catholic University of Ireland’, illustrates perfectly to me the fact one can literally walk past history every day and not notice. The plaque is located at the side entrance to Urban Outfitters on Cecilia Street, Temple Bar.

The Irish Times of May 30 1930 noted that

The building was originally a theatre, in fact, the principal one in Dublin during the mid-eighteenth century, and, curiously enough, was once used in 1754 for an exhibition of anatomical waxworks, now preserved in Trinity College

Catholic University of Ireland

So, there you go. Always look up, and always look closely.

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The banner outside Liberty Hall, 1917

The text below is taken from the Bureau of Military History Witness Statement provided by Miss Rose Hackett, a member of the Irish Citizen Army. Rosie had been involved in the Jacob’s biscuit factory strike which took place near the end of August in 1910, ending in success for the workers. She was also involved in a later strike at Jacob’s when in September 1913 three workers were sacked for refusing to remove their trade union badges. During the Rising Rosie was positioned at Stephen’s Green under Commandant Michael Mallin.

Document No. W.S 546

“On the occasion of the first anniversary of Connolly’s death, the Transport people decided that he would be honoured. A big poster was put up on the Hall, with the words: “James Connolly Murdered, May 12th, 1916”.

It was no length of time up on the Hall, when it was taken down by the police, including Johnny Barton and Dunne. We were very vexed over it, as we thought it should have been defended. It was barely an hour or so up, and we wanted everybody to know it was Connolly’s anniversary. Miss Molony called us together- Jinny Shanahan, Brigid Davis and myself. Miss Molony printed another script. Getting up on the roof, she put it high up, across the top parapet. We were on top of the roof for the rest of the time it was there. We barricaded the windows. I remember there was a ton of coal in one place, and it was shoved against the door in cause they would get in. Nails were put in.

Police were mobilised from everywhere, and more than four hundred of them marched across from the Store Street direction and made a square outside Liberty Hall. Thousands of people were watching from the Quay on the far side of the river. It took the police a good hour or more before they got in, and the script was there until six in the evening, before they got it down.

I always felt that it was worth it, to see all the trouble the police had in getting it down. No one was arrested.

Of course, if it took four hundred policemen to take four women, what would the newspapers say? We enjoyed it at the time- all the trouble they were put to. They just took the script away and we never heard any more. It was Miss Molony’s doings.

Historically, Liberty Hall is the most important building that we have in the city. Yet, it is not thought of at all by most people. More things happened there, in connection with the Rising, than in any other place. It really started from there.

Signed: Rose Hackett,
26/5/51.

Irish Citizen Army outside Liberty Hall, 1917.

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