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Henry Campbell (Town Clerk of Dublin, 1893-1920)

Henry CampbellHenry Campbell was Private Secretary to Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Home Rule Party and supported him during ‘The Split’ arising from the controversy over the divorce of Mrs Kitty O’Shea. A native of Kilcoo, Co. Down, where he was born in 1856, Campbell was Home Rule MP for South Fermanagh in 1885 and 1886-92.  But when Parnell died suddenly in 1891, Campbell unexpectedly found himself without a job. He therefore applied for the post of Town Clerk of Dublin, which was the most senior post in Dublin Corporation.  Defeating seven other candidates, he was appointed on 24 May 1893 and, conscious that he did not have a background in local government, he said that he would leave no stone unturned to become a ‘capable and efficient servant in as short a time as possible.’

Drimnagh Castle, Dublin

Drimnagh CastleHidden from view by the more recent school buildings that share the name, Drimnagh Castle is a Norman Castle Keep located on the now named Long Mile Road, Drimnagh, Dublin.  The Castle was once home to the great Anglo-Norman Barnewall – also called deBarnwall or deBerneval -  family all of whom were descended from Hugh de Barnewall, who came to Ireland in 1212.  The influence of this family lasted over 400 years, and by 1395, when Reginald Barnewall held lands in Ballyfermot, Terenure, parts of Finglas as well as Drimnagh.

Drimnagh Castle, 1996. Dublin City Council Photographic Collection.

Sheaves of Revolt: Maeve and Ernest Kavanagh

Sheaves of RevoltDuring the First World War, an estimated 200,000 Irish joined the British forces, a fact that did not sit well with the republican movement. Some dismissed the volunteers as mercenaries or misfits, while others took a more considered view. Maeve Kavanagh, born in South Frederick Street in 1878, was a noted republican poet and she often used her pen to take aim at men who volunteered for the British army. In her 1914 collection of poetry Sheaves of Revolt, she described the brutality and horror of war and its aftermath to dissuade Irishmen from volunteering:

So hurry up and take the ‘bob’
The Butcher cannot wait,
The German guns are talking,
At a most terrific rate.
And if you should crawl back,
Minus arm or minus leg,
You’ll get leave to roam your city
To sell matches – or to beg.

Severe Weather Notice

Snow on bicyclesPlease note, severe weather is impacting adversely on library opening hours.

All library branches will close on Wednesday 28th of February, at 3:00.  We are unable to provide a mobile library service.  Our apologies for inconvenience.

Don't forget you can access our collection of eBooks, eAudiobooks, Digital Magazines and databases this May weekend.

Plus explore Dublin's history through our digital repository with its vast collection of old photos, maps and ephemera

Please check the Libraries' Twitter account - @dubcilib - for updates regarding opening hours before attempting to visit your library.

Ireland and The Russian Revolutions (Podcast)

Russian RevolutionLast October Dublin City Archives marked the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917 with a series of lunchtime talks at Dublin City Hall. The talks curated by Francis Devine examined Ireland's political and cultural reaction to the Revolution.  Here you can listen back to two talks from the series. In the first, Donal Fallon examines witness statements from the Bureau of Military History, contemporary newspapers and ephemera to ascertain what the revolution meant to the Irish Left, the Trade Union movement, Sinn Féin and asks who were the Irish Bolsheviks? Then you can listen back to Dr Brian Hanley as he considers how initial support for the Russian Revolution changed to violent opposition to Communism in Ireland.

Organised by Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street Dublin 2. Courtesy of

A history book club

book club loveI love books; reading books; buying or borrowing books; thinking about what I’ll read next, and of course, talking about books . I think I’ve been part of at least one book club (if not two or three) for the last ten years. Whether its friends, colleagues, my local library or part of an independent bookshop (shout out to Bob in the Gutter Bookshop for the excellent book clubs he runs!), being in a book club has always seemed like a great way to share an experience that can be so personal and make it communal.

As a Historian-in-Residence working with Dublin City Council and through Dublin City Libraries it made perfect sense to me to bring the two together… History + Libraries = a new History book club! But would the book club format work for history books? With fiction, the standard genre for any book club, it’s all about your opinion. Did you like the book, the characters, the plot, the style of writing…etc. You don’t have to be an expert on the subject of the book to discuss it. Whereas with a history book club would people feel that had to already be familiar with the historical content of the book before giving their opinion on it? There is such a huge interest in history in Dublin; in local, Irish and international history, I thought I’d take a chance. So began two new History book clubs in Terenure and Pembroke Libraries. So far they’ve been going great!

Rialto Bridge

Rialto BridgeEvery day, thousands of people travel on the Red Line Luas from Tallaght or City West on their journeys to the city centre.  What many may not realise is that the Luas follows the former Main Line of the Grand Canal – now filled in as a Linear Park from Davitt Road to the Basin Lane end of St. James’s Hospital.  Enroute, the Luas passes under the former canal bridge at Rialto, the only remaining on the former Main Line from Griffith bridge to the old harbour at James' Street.  Known today as Rialto Bridge, the proper name is Harcourt Bridge, called after the  Chairman of the Grand Canal Company, the First Earl of Harcourt.

Photo: Rialto Bridge, filling in of the Grand Canal. Dublin City Council Photographic Collection, (view larger image)

Cabra’s Liam Whelan

Liam WhelanThis month marks the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Cabra’s Liam Whelan, an integral part of Matt Busby’s famous Manchester United side.

Whelan, born in 1934, began his footballing days with Home Farm F.C, a Dublin institution founded in 1928. He was raised in Cabra, then a totally new suburb on the northside of Dublin, as the city began to tackle its housing crisis. He was among the first generation of youngsters to partake in street football in a new suburb so full of hope for Dublin’s working class. In signing for United in 1953, he followed in a long tradition of Dubliners which including the great Johnny Carey, who amassed more than 400 appearances for the club between 1936 and 1953. Irish newspapers closely followed the escapades of Irish players in the English league, both on and off the pitch, and there was delight during the years of ‘The Emergency’ in Ireland when Carey returned to domestic football, playing two matches as a guest for Shamrock Rovers.

Meet the Historians in Residence

HistoriansDublin City Council has a team of part-time Historians in Residence working with communities across the city. This public history project began in Spring 2017 under the auspices of the Decade of Commemorations designation within the Council, and the historians work in the five administrative areas of Dublin City  to make history and historical sources accessible and enjoyable for all.

Pictured l-r: Donal Fallon, Maeve Casserly, Cathy Scuffil, Bernard Kelly, Cormac Mooore (view larger photo)

Dublin City Council Historians in Residence are working on all sorts of history events throughout the city including talks, walks, tours, discussions, history book clubs,  blogs, exhibitions and more. They are:

Dolphins Barn: Creative Digital Animation Series

Creative Digital Animation title In April and May of 2017 Dolphin's Barn Library hosted a series of workshops where young historians learned how to combine research, storytelling, drawing and digital animation to tell a tale from Irish history.

Expert facilitators included historian Conor Kostick and author and illustrator Alan Nolan.

The result is this exciting video set in Dublin 1920. In it Tadhg undertakes a dangerous mission to deliver a message to Countess Markievicz. On the way he evades policemen, befriends Victoria Jacobs and is shot at by the 'Black and Tans'!

The project was supported by the UNESCO City of Literature office.