Dublin City Library & Archive

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.

Maps of the Terenure and Crumlin Estates 1879

Shaw estate mapA collection of eight Ordnance Survey maps, donated to Dublin City Library and Archive, constitute a wonderful addition to local and family history for the Terenure Crumlin area in the late 19th century. The maps are folded and bound into one volume, bound in half leather with gilt lettering on the top cover: Maps of the Terenure & Crumlin Estates, Co. Dublin, the property of Sir Robert Shaw, Bart. 1879.

View Maps of Terenure & Crumlin Estates, 1879

The volume belonged to the estate of Sir Robert Shaw, Baronet, and the maps cover his property in the area: Crumlin, Roundtown (Terenure), Tonguefield, Rathfarnham, Rathgar, Roebuck, Kimmage, Wilkinstown (Walkinstown), Greenhills, Whitehall and Limekiln Farm.

Can I have your autograph please?

MS 161-37Autograph books were a popular way to collect the signatures and other messages from well-renowned poets and artists in Ireland during the 20th Century. Jill Noone, Teresa Kelly, and Mary Ryan were among those who kept autograph books. All three books contain notes, poems, playbills, drawings, and autographs from a number of local performers and high-profile individuals and are now housed at Dublin City Library and Archive. Taken together, these autograph books highlight the growing importance and popularity of the arts and local, Irish figures.

Image: Painting of flowers from Teresa Kelly's autograph book (Ms-161-37)

Jill Noone’s autograph book (Ms 129), dated 1922-1925 contains the signatures of a number of different individuals, many of whom left poems and stories along with their signatures.  Miss Noone herself was a contralto in the Sligo Philharmonic Society Chorus, and her autograph book features a signed programme.

Certificate in Local Studies

Cert in Local StudiesPlease Note: The Lord Mayor's certificate course in Local Studies is now full. Places are still available on the Lord Mayor's certificate course in Oral History (27 August 2016)

The Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Local Studies will be offered at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, D2 on Tuesday evenings from September 2016 until April 2017. The course consists of 85 hours part time and will equip participants with skills in researching local history and in the preparation of a dissertation. The closing date for course applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 2 September 2016. (fully booked).  Dublin City Council offers two Bursaries for candidates taking the Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Local Studies, and closing date for bursary applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 26 August 2016.  For printed course brochure please email cityarchives@dublincity.ie.


WSC Map Conservation Project 2016

Heritage Council LogoDublin City Archives is delighted to announce that we have received a €4,000 grant from the Heritage Council of Ireland under the Heritage Management Project Scheme 2016 to conserve 23 Wide Street Commission Maps.

The maps date from the eighteenth century and document the work of the Wide Street Commissioners in moulding the development of Georgian Dublin. It includes maps relating to Sackville street (present day O’Connell street), College Green, and Dame street. The maps are historically significant, not only from a local and national perspective, but also because they reflect the European Age of Enlightenment and the Commissioners constant attempts to improve the city by the rational application of scientific and aesthetic principals.

Certificate in Oral History

Certificate in Oral HistoryThe Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Oral History will be offered at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 on Monday evenings from September 2016 until April 2017. The course consists of 70 hours part time and the course will equip participants with skills in the preparation and conduct of oral history projects, including best practice in the collection and archiving of oral history interviews. 

The closing date for course applications is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 16 September 2016.