Dublin City Library & Archive

Dublin at War

UniformsView 'Dublin at War' Image Gallery.

The period 1914 to 1918 was the last time Ireland was involved as a combatant in war on an international scale. Though we cannot say that Ireland has been a country at peace, during the past hundred years it has not suffered from the fear of invasion, the loss of thousands of young lives and the hardship of full-scale war.

At the time of the outbreak of World War I, nationalist Ireland was eagerly awaiting the introduction of Home Rule, while unionists were preparing to use all means within their power to prevent it. When the war began, Irishmen were called on to join the fight against the German Empire, placing national politics to one side for the duration of the war, with the promise of Home Rule at the end of it. At local level, Dublin, a city suffering great poverty, rife with disease and almost uninhabitable slums, had these major civic issues pushed into the background by the outbreak of war. Dublin was also a city with a tradition of having a strong military presence, and during the war years Dubliners bore witness to thousands of soldiers passing through their streets to embark for England for training or to return to the Front.  In terms of everyday life, the coming of war also resulted in food and fuel shortages and more restricted movement in terms of social life and entertainment.

Mount Street Club: A unique response to unemployment in Dublin

Exhibition Room at Dublin City Library and ArchiveA fascinating new exhibition about the Mount Street Club was launched on Monday 1 Dec at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, D2 and is now open to public until 23 December 2014.The exhibition was curated by Dominic and Sarah Perrem on behalf of the Mount Street Club Trust and it provides an illustrated chronology of the work of the  Club over an 80 year period.

The original items on display in glass cabinets are  from the archives of the Mount Street Club  held at Dublin City Library and Archive.  It also includes photographs from the Dublin City Photographic Collection  which highlight the poor living conditions of many Dubliners in 1930s-1960s and an RTÉ documentary about the history of the Club.

New WWI Resources at Dublin City Library & Archive

Royal Dublin Fusiliers badgeAncestry Library Edition is now available for consultation free of charge in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library & Archive. Among other items, this contains official records for the First World War, including: 

  • British Army World War I Service Records 1914-20
  • British Army World War I Pension Records 1914-20;
  • British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-20;
  • UK Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919

Explore Your Archive Story Box: Parnell Square

Explore Your Archive LogoThere is a goldmine of information and untold stories within the collections of Dublin City Archives.  This STORYBOX created for Explore Your Archive Week 2014 gives examples of how we can use a variety of different archival collections to uncover the history of a particular area or street across different centuries. The STORYBOX focuses on examples of archival sources which relate to Parnell Square (previously known as Rutland Square), one of Dublin’s finest Georgian Squares. The original items referred to below can be viewed by calling to Dublin City Library and Reading Room in person.

Please bring photographic id with you on your first visit so that we can issue you with a research card.

The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly and the 1913-14 Dublin lockout

Dublin 1913, Lepracaun Cartoon MonthlyView The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly and the 1913-1914 lockout Image Gallery

'Capital is the child of Labour. Therefore the nipper’s present paroxysm of filial piety in Dublin is not so astonishing.'
Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly, November 1913.

'Sometimes all we need to brighten our day is to rise a little higher. In wages.'
Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly, January 1914.

Browse and search The Lepracaun Cartoon Collection online.

The Dublin-based Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly was launched in May 1905 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, one of Ireland’s foremost cartoonists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Eclipsing in its lifespan all previous Irish comic periodicals, the Lepracaun would run for almost a decade. This meant that the publication was in a position to offer a vivid cartoon chronology of the great 1913-14 Dublin strike and lockout, although there would be no contribution from the Lepracaun’s founder and most prolific cartoonist, with the Cork-born Thomas Fitzpatrick having passed away in July 1912 at the age of 52. Read more about Thomas Fitzpatrick and The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly 1905-1915.

Favourite elephants at the Zoological Gardens Dublin

OS map 1843 showing Dublin ZooThe Dublin Zoological Garden was established by the Dublin Zoological Society, under the patronage of the Lord Lieutenant, and opened to the public on 1st September 1831. The site was in the Phoenix Park, near the Vice Regal Lodge, the Lord Lieutenant’s residence, now Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland.

New ‘Gateway’ to Archival Treasures Launched

Archivists at LaunchDublin City Archives is one of 30 prominent archival repositories who have contributed to www.iar.ie  Ireland’s only archive web portal. The website was re-launched on Wed 16 September 2014 by Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to mark the expansion of the website and the provision of access to hundreds of unique archival collections.  

The IAR portal enables visitors to access a free database of archival collections from archival repositories all over Ireland, north and south, many of which contain archives of relevance to the period 1912 to 1922, commonly referred to as the Decade of Centenaries.

1916: The Women Behind the Men

Margaret SkinniderView 1916: The Women behind the Men Image Gallery

For generations, the Easter Rising of 1916 was synonymous with the seven names: Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P. H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett. These were the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic: all men and all executed in the days after the Rising, which immortalised them as martyrs of the revolution. The sacrifice of these men was to perpetuate a certain mythology that overtook the actual events of the Easter Rising. The bravery, self-sacrifice and single-minded dedication to Irish independence of these men was, for a long time, all one needed to know about the Rising. Yet, as the centenary of the 1916 Rising approaches, interest has broadened to take in other historical perspectives of the Rising: Who were the other nine men who were executed for their role in the Rising, for example? Who were the rebels and soldiers killed in action during Easter week? What was the experience of those civilians who were killed (more than rebel and British soldiers combined)? And, most importantly for this study, what part was played by women in the Easter Rising and what can the families of those men who died as a result of 1916 tell us about the kind of people they actually were?

Dublin Heritage: The life history of a city

GPOWhen the Vikings founded the city in the ninth century in the area of the “black pool” (Dubh Linn in Irish) where Dublin Castle is today, they started what would later become the capital of Ireland and the largest city in the country. Dublin is a key to understanding Ireland; the history of this city helps us to better understand the history of the whole of the country, its development, its cultural features, its social composition and the political peculiarities in Ireland.

View Dublin Heritage: the life of the City image gallery

While we are walking through the streets of the city and we see the historical buildings and places, we realise the cultural wealth that this city has to offer. Nothing remains visible from the period before the Viking settlement except what you can see in the collections, exhibitions or museums in the city (the most important being the National Museum in Kildare Street). But it was with the Vikings, as we said before, that the city began its development. They ruled the city until 1014, when they were defeated by the Irish King Brian Boru in the famous Battle of Clontarf, near Dublin. Although they had lost their political supremacy, they remained in the city some more years with commerce as their principal activity. Then Ireland was invaded by the Anglo-Normans and in 1171, Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, and Strongbow conquered Dublin and expelled the Vikings from the city. The following year Dublin received a City Charter from King Henry II; it was the beginning of the English rule of Ireland. Then Dublin Castle, built in 1204 by direct order of King John of England, became the centre of English power.

The Yeats Sisters and the Cuala Press

YC001 Dawn SongView The Yeats Sisters and Cuala Press Image Gallery

At the same time as the Celtic Revival during the late 19th - early 20th centuries, the Arts & Crafts Movement was making its way across Europe. This movement saw an international increase in the making and purchasing of handmade things and included ‘cottage industries’ such as stained glass, woodworks, ceramics, tapestries, and more. The Yeats family, in particular, was greatly involved in several aspects of both the Celtic Revival and the Arts & Crafts Movement. While W.B. was making his mark in the literary world and Jack was working as an artist and illustrator, the Yeats sisters, Lily and Elizabeth, were running their own businesses.

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