Dublin City Library & Archive

News from Nelson: First Cat

SmokeyDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

When I was an Admiral in the Navy I was famous for my attention to detail.  Before we embarked on a campaign, I reviewed the manifest for each of the ships, to make sure that nothing had been overlooked. And sometimes there was: the appointment of a Ship’s Cat – many of my captains did not realise how important this was.  So I would send out a message to the local cat community saying: Ship’s Cat needed – adventurous lifestyle guaranteed – lots of delicious vitels – Champion Mousers only need apply – Pussycats not required.  This produced lots of applicants, enough to provision every ship in the fleet.

Private Daniel Fay and "The Three Dubs"

Daniel Fay in 1914The Private Daniel Fay collection is part of the extended Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Collection and concerns the life of three brave soldiers from 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Their story is one that exemplifies the experience of soldiers in the First World War. One man died in combat, one man was committed to an asylum, and one man returned to his old life.

Image: RDFA/111/02 – Daniel Fay in 1914, sitting in full dress uniform.

Daniel Fay was born in 1987 in Dublin City. He worked as a grocer’s porter on Mountjoy Street until 1908 when he joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Daniel Fay served with the 2nd Battalion, nicknamed “the Old Toughs”. In 1910 he married Mary Moore in the Pro Cathedral.  Serving with him in 2nd Battalion were his two brothers-in-law, James Joseph Moore and Bartholomew “Bartle” Moore. Daniel served with 2nd Battalion until his discharge due to injury in the summer of 1918.

The Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection

Orchestra of St Cecila logoThe Dublin City Public Library and Archive has recently acquired the Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection, deposited by manager/artistic director Lindsay Armstrong after his retirement and the dissolution of the company at the end of 2014. The collection comprises Armstrong’s comprehensive administrative records.  It documents the detailed practicalities of managing an orchestra and putting on independent concerts. The collection includes concert programmes, posters, flyers, correspondence, programme notes, recordings, soloists and conductor’ biographies and  administrative documents. Access to the collection provides unparalleled insight into the processes involved in professional orchestra and event management from the turn of the twenty-first century through recession times in Dublin. Find out more and view some items from the Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection...

Dublin City Library & Archive formally accepted the donation with a reception on Tuesday 22 November 2016.

News from Nelson: Ships Ahoy!

Nelson's headDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

My regular correspondent has asked if I can write about any ships in Dublin City Library & Archive.  As I am the greatest naval general who ever lived (Modest Man Me!) I am only too happy to oblige.

Tucked in among the thousands of books and millions of documents, there are not just one, but two splendid ships.  The first was made in 1230 as part of the Dublin City Seal and is only 95mm in diameter.  It is an image of a medieval ship, known as a cog, at sea and under full sail.  (A cog was built of oak and had one square sail – it was a very popular type of sailing vessel in the 12th and 13th centuries).

Private Patrick Dolan Collection

Private Patrick DolanThe collection of Private Patrick Dolan comes to the Dublin City Library and Archive as a continuation of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association collection. Patrick Dolan joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in July 1908. He served in British colonies in India before being sent on the dreaded Gallipoli campaign. He was wounded while in Gallipoli and was discharged in early 1916. The Private Patrick Dolan Collection highlights the opportunity to travel that existed within the British Army and the horrors and futility of the Gallipoli campaign.

Photo: Detail of photo RDFA/103/11 showing Private Dolan

Dublin Remembers: Stories from the Somme

Somme Exhib launch“Dublin Remembers: Stories from the Somme” exhibition was formerly launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr on Friday 21 October 2016.

The Battle of the Somme was a key Allied offensive during World War I.  It began on 1 July 1916 and when it ended 141 days later over one million men had been killed or injured. This included the loss of over 3,500 Irish born soldiers serving in the 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions.

Image: Declan Kettle, grand nephew of Tom Kettle; Dublin City Librarian Margaret Hayes and Senior Archivist Ellen Murphy pictured at the exhibition launch.

The 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme has been marked by a wide range of official and unofficial events throughout Ireland, demonstrating the increased awareness of the significance of the Somme to the people of the whole island of Ireland.  Dublin City Council is committed to making a meaningful and appropriate contribution to the commemorations, complementing but not competing with the national commemorations.

News from Nelson: Rear-Admiral!

Bang BangDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

One of my regular correspondents has been in touch with me lately.  Concerned that I am doing too much, he suggested that I appoint a Rear-Admiral to assist me in my work.  After much deliberation, I have appointed Bang-Bang’s Key to this prestigious position.

Mr. Key is highly-experienced as – like me – he was an icon of 1950s Dublin.  He began life as a simple church key, made of brass, locking and unlocking the door.  And then the Key was acquired by Thomas Dudley and his life was changed forever from pious recollection to one of high adventure.  Together they wandered the streets of Dublin, with the Key pointing at passers-by and his owner calling out ‘Bang-Bang’!   Everyone pretended to be shot, injured and killed.  It actually was a game of ‘Cowboys and Indians’ - as in the pictures - with Bang-Bang as the hero and his Key as his gun, his Colt 45 which was known as the Peacemaker. 

Dublin Guild Merchant Roll (1190-1265)

Guild Merchant RollThe Dublin Guild Merchant Roll is a unique survivor in western Europe, both for its early date and for the insight it gives into the society of a medieval city.  The Roll consists of forty-three parchment membranes inscribed with the names of those admitted annually to the merchant guild of Dublin with, for the early years, a record of fines paid on entry. 

The guild members numbered some 8,400 men (and three women) and came primarily from settlements in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland but also from towns throughout western Europe.  It is perhaps surprising to find the names of merchants from the far reaches of Scandinavia; from Cologne in modern Germany; from Antwerp in present-day Belgium; from Amiens, Bordeaux and Paris in France; from Cordova in Spain; and from Lucca, Florence and Rome in Italy.  These merchants came to Dublin to ply their trade in a city which had, within the previous twenty-five years, been captured and was now a Norman colony.  Many of them were craftsmen with a range of occupations including essential providers such as bakers, butchers, cooks and coopers while also featuring military men such as archers, armourers and knights.  None of them could practise their trade unless they had registered with the Guild Merchant and paid the capitation fee which was usually nine shillings.

Culture Night 2016 in Pearse Street Library

Culture NightDublin City Library and Archive was delighted to open its doors to the public on Culture Night, Friday, 16th September. Visitors enjoyed a mixed programme of live music, poetry, drama and exhibitions.

The schedule for the evening was:-

6.00pm - Poetry  Readings with Iggy McGovern and Catherine Ann Cullen
6.45pm - World Dance Music arranged for two Spanish Guitars with  Luke Tobin & Gerard Boyle
7.45pm - Poetry  Readings with Ronan Browne
8.00pm - Traditional Irish Music and Song with Síle Denvir and Valerie Casey, members of Líadan.

View the photo slideshow of the night below.

The Queen's Theatre

The Queen's TheatreDuring Heritage Week we were fortunate to host award winning writer Cecil Allen's entertaining talk about the colourful history of The Queen's Theatre. In this recording, you can relive the drama of this famous theatre, meet some of the key figures who wrote and performed plays there and hear about the lively audiences who flocked there in their thousands. 

The Queen’s Theatre, located in Pearse Street was originally built in 1829 as the Adelphi Theatre. From its earliest days the theatre celebrated Ireland’s heroes and her historical characters. Figures such as St Patrick, Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet were some of the subjects portrayed in her plays.  The Queen's was known as the home of Irish melodrama, and was associated with key figures of Irish melodrama, including Dion Boucicault, Ira Allen, P.J. Bourke, the first man to sing the Irish National Anthem. In this talk, we are privileged to gain a unique insight into playwright, actor and producer Ira Allen, Cecil Allen's grandfather. An influential  player on the Irish theatre scene, Ira played St Patrick in the popular and innovative, 'Aimsir Padraig / In the days of St Patrick' (1919), notable for being the first bilingual Irish/English silent film.