Calendar of Saints' Days for December

Calendar of Saints DayDecember's manuscript of the month is the Calendar of Saints' Days for December.

During the Middle Ages, time-keeping was more complex than ours. Alongside the Julian calendar, with its twelve months, dates and days of the week, the year was also marked by saints’ days, which had their own very different calendar. For example, it was usual to write that an event occurred on the eve of the feast-day of St. John the Baptist, rather than on the 23rd June or – as in this calendar for December – nine lessons were recited on completion of the octave of St. Andrew (from 30 November to 7 December inclusive).

News from Nelson: Christmas Spirit

Nelson's HeadDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

I was sitting on my plinth one day, thinking about sailing through the eternal universe (as you do) when who walked into the Reading Room but the author John Banville.  Well John was delighted to see me and ambled over for a chat, as we are old friends.  He asked me if I ever wore a hat and I said no  – I am much too tough for that, unlike that fake Nelson in Trafalgar Square – my legion of fans will know that I am the first and the best Nelson. 

A letter from the Western Front

Robert DownieNovember's Manuscript of the Month is a letter from the Western Front celebrating Robert Downie, “a Victoria Cross Hero”, 1916. The letter is part of the Monica Roberts Collection, one of the most important World War 1 collections of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association and Archive held at Dublin City Library and Archive.

Photo: Robert Downie VC, 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers

At the outbreak of World War 1, Monica Roberts from Stillorgan, Dublin set up “Band of Helpers for Soldiers” which sent care packages to Irishmen serving in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and Royal Flying Corps at the Western Front to boost their moral. Each package was accompanied by a letter, and many of the men wrote back to Monica and a correspondence and friendship ensued.  Over 700 of the letters received by Monica have been digitised and transcribed, and can be viewed at providing a remarkable insight into life in the trenches and the reality of warfare.

The Orchestra of St Cecilia Collection: 1995 – 2014

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.

Conserving Wide Street Commission Maps 1757-1849

WSC MapListen to Liz D’Arcy talk about conserving the Wide Street Commission Maps. Hear how she painstakingly removed sellotape, cleaned, repaired and strengthened these important maps.   Liz D'Arcy, Paperworks, Studio for Paper Conservation is qualified with an MA in Conservation of Fine Art on Paper. Liz is an accredited member of the 'Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic works in Ireland' (I.C.H.A.W.I) and a member of the 'Irish Professional Conservators and Restorers Association' (I.P.C.R.A).

Between 1757- 1851, the Wide Street Commission had a major impact on the development of the city, transforming it from a medieval city to the Dublin we know today.  Its function was to provide “Wide and Convenient Streets” for Dublin and it had extensive powers to acquire property by compulsory purchase, develop new streets, demolish buildings and impose design standards on building lots which were sold to developers. Dublin City Archives hold the Wide Street Commission Archives, which comprises maps, minute books and drawings.

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

Restoring a Georgian Dublin Residence

No. 19 North Great George's StreetListen to Harold Clarke's charming account of restoring the beautiful Georgian building, no. 19 North Great George's Street.  When Harold first viewed the house it was suffering from 180 years of dereliction but he recognised its beauty and bought it just three days later.

In this illustrated talk, Harold outlines the challenges he faced during his faithful restoration of the house, its long history,  and the delightful features he uncovered, most particularly its beautiful decorative plasterwork. The before and after photographs offer a fascinating insight into this most successful restoration process. I'm sure you will agree the results are splendid, from the beauty of the friezes and plasterwork in the drawing room and dining room, to the library room with its ceiling painted in the Dublin colours, the 100 stepped staircase, the entrance hall and the garden room.

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.