Dublin City Library & Archive

The Shamrock – An Seamróg: Ireland’s national symbol

NS-07 Caleb Threlkeld's ShamrockThis weekend many people around the world will be wearing the Shamrock, a tiny plant symbolising the Irish nation. Taoiseach Enda Kenny will present a bowl of Shamrock to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, today. One of the earliest published accounts, Caleb Threlkeld’s treatise on native Irish plants, Synopsis Stirpium Hibernicarum, published in 1726, refers to our national symbol the Shamrock under its botanical name Trifolium Pratense, (White flowered meadow trefoil). There has been much debate about the exact origin of the Shamrock, many people considering it a form of clover. See Charles Nelson's book on the subject. Threlkeld notes its identification by Gerard in his Herbal of 1597. He gives its Irish name Seamar-oge, and refers to people wearing it in their hats on 17th March, St Patrick’s Day. As a clergyman, Rev. Dr. Threlkeld shows his disapproval of the way the people celebrated the day by "wetting the Shamrock".

The illustrations of John Tenniel

Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice in WonderlandSir John Tenniel died just one hundred years ago, on 25 February 1914, aged 94 (see The Irish Times, Friday 27 February 1914, p.7). Tenniel was chief political cartoonist with Punch, the satirical weekly magazine, but he is best known to generations of children as the creator of the pale blonde Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. He was born on 28 February 1820 in Bayswater in London. He was invited to join Punch by its founding editor, Mark Lemon, at Christmas 1850 and worked there until his retirement in 1901. He was knighted by Queen Victoria for artistic achievements in 1893.

The Capuchin Annual in Dublin

The Capuchin Annual 1940Dublin, in the turbulent early decades of the Irish Free State, was home to an extraordinary number and variety of literary and cultural periodicals. Some, such as Klaxon (1924) and To-morrow (1924), had a very limited editorial remit and managed to survive for only one or two issues; others, such as The Dublin Magazine (1923-1958) survived for twenty years and more. The Bell (1940-1954) is probably the most well known and well researched of the Dublin periodicals, but published research on the other periodicals has been limited.

Yet, consider this: one of these Dublin periodicals had a readership of 25,000 worldwide and was published for 47 years. The periodical in question was The Capuchin Annual. It was, wrote Patrick Kavanagh, an ‘amazing phenomenon of modern political Catholic Ireland’.

What Reading Room staff are reading

The Morville YearWorking in the busy Reading Room leaves little time for reading, so when the long dark evenings before and after the winter solstice close in I always have a little pile of treasures waiting to be read. A real discovery for me this year were the books by Katherine Swift about her garden at Morville.

Assassination: read all about it!

JF KennedyOn Friday 22 November 1963 at 12.30 pm local time John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, was shot in the streets of Dallas, Texas. Three shots rang out as he rode, with his wife Jacqueline, in an open-topped limousine. He was rushed to Parkland Hospital where he died of his wounds. The news of the assassination reverberated around the world. In Ireland the shock was numbing as only five months had passed since his official visit to Ireland, where people had given him a rapturous welcome. Experience the immediacy of the moment by logging on to www.irishtimes.com/search and www.irishnewsarchive.com for free access to newspaper coverage at your local branch library.

Living History: politics of the USA from the 1950s to the 1970s

Vincent Lavery

Vincent Lavery is a retired secondary school teacher who taught U.S. Government and Economics in the States. He is an active member of the United States of America Democratic Party. He worked with Senator Robert F Kennedy's campaign for president in 1968.  He was a County Chairman in Central California and a delegate to the 1968 Convention in Chicago. He worked for Senator Kennedy for sixteen months. He promoted concerts in California during the 1960s and he turned down the opportunity to manage The Doors and Jim Morrison. He has coedited four books on soccer and football and coached soccer at several levels ranging from under 16 to adult.

Anne Frank [+ You} - An Exhibition

Anne Frank + You ExhibitionThe Anne Frank Trust UK and the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, in association with Dublin City Public Libraries, proudly present the touring exhibition "Anne Frank [+ You}".

The exhibition, based on the ‘The Diary of a Young Girl' tells the story of a young Jewish girl and her family hiding in occupied Amsterdam during World War II. It will be on display in the Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, from 23rd October until 11th December 2013.

This exhibition is free and is suitable for adults and children from 6th class and up.

Dublin City Archaeological Archive Formally Opened

Dublin City Archaeological ArchiveThe Dublin City Archaeological Archive [DCAA], first launched in July 2008, was last night formally opened to the public by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Oisín Quinn. The DCAA originated as an action of the Dublin City Council Heritage Plan 2002-2006 and is managed jointly by Dublin City Archaeology, Dublin City Archives and Dublin City Council’s Heritage Office. The DCAA’s remit is to preserve records arising from archaeological investigations conducted in Dublin City by archaeologists working in the private sector, with special reference to excavations carried out before 2004.

The Romance of Air Travel

Dublin airportWhere has the romance gone? There was a time when it was a great adventure to fly, it was very glamorous, you dressed the part, and your luggage did not cause major grief. The role of air hostess was a top job for attractive young women. The Flying Boat Museum at Foynes, Co. Limerick, the excitement of the early days of passenger flight. 

Newspapers as historical research tools

The Dublin IntelligenceFrom the oldest cave paintings found in Chauvet, France, via Egyptian hieroglyphs to ancient Rome’s 'Acta  Diurna' government announcements carved in metal or stone and hung in public places, to 2nd and 3rd century A.D. Chinese  ‘Tipao’ or 'news sheets' and on  to 8th Century A.D. Chinese ‘Kaiyuan Za Bo' handwritten on silk and read aloud by government officials, until Johannes Gutenberg perfected ‘movable type' printing in the 15th century and instigated the ‘Printing Revolution', the need to document and reflect the world around us has long been an aspiration of all human societies.