local studies

Tim Healy first Governor General of Ireland

On December 6, 1922, the Irish Free State came formally into existence after the Free State Act gave effect to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It was exactly one year after the signing of the Treaty. Under the Free State Act, the Governor General would be the King’s representative in Ireland. The first holder of the post was former Irish Parliamentary Party MP Timothy Healy, who was sworn in at his home in Chapelizod.

Weavers and The Liberties

weaverThe Dublin City Library and Archive holds a beautiful image of the old Weaver’s Hall on The Coombe Dublin, a  building still fondly remembered by older citizens in the area. The image shows a dignified guild hall, with a statue of King George II by Van Nost holding shuttles and other implements used in the weaving process set in an alcove above the main entrance. 

Although the Weaver’s Hall is long gone, there is still a lot of evidence of this once major industry that existed in this area over a 1,000 year timespan. The most obvious are various placenames.

Liam Ó Briain’s Insurrection Memories 1916

speaker at podiumLast May, I was delighted to attend the Dublin launch of a book entitled 'Essays by an Irish Rebel: revolution, politics and culture' by Liam Ó Briain.  A very enjoyable read, the book features twenty-five essays by the Dublin academic and revolutionary Liam Ó Briain (1888-1974), all of which were published in Irish from 1934 to 1968, as well as three appreciations of the author.

All have now been edited and translated into English by Eoin Ó Dochartaigh, a retired doctor from Galway who graduated from University College Galway (now NUI Galway) and knew Ó Briain as a family friend.

When Dublin telephonists challenged the government

It is frequently claimed that the EU gave us equality, and certainly it has helped to have Equal Pay and Equal Treatment Directives, but it was frequently women workers who forced the government to implement the improvements in their employment conditions to which new legislation entitled them. If laborious industrial relations procedures did not deliver for them, the women were quite prepared to take to the streets to insist that they be treated fairly.

History Document of the Month: Lepracaun Cartoon Collection

Cover of Lepracaun CartoonBritain faced similar issues ruling Ireland and India: both had to be held to maintain British international credibility and independence movements in both were driven in large part by religion.

Séamus Ennis, Final Years

Larkin statueThis year marks the centenary of the birth of Séamus Ennis, the renowned musician, singer, folklorist and broadcaster who left behind, to quote from one obituary, “a priceless heritage of Irish tradition to the nation”. Inspired by on-going centenary events taking place across Dublin and at the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, this blog briefly examines Ennis’s final years and death.

Womens National Health Association HIR Blog

Monica's BabyclubThis photograph (larger image below) from the Dublin City Library and Archive shows groups of women with their babies and young children outside St Monica’s Babies Club in St. Augustine Street, close to John’s Lane Church in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties.  This club, - one of about 170 set up throughout Ireland - opened in 1909 and aimed to educate mothers in the overall care of their infants by holding classes and appropriate lecture series on the premises.

Dora Maguire Historian In Residence Blog

Black and White portrait of DoraThis week I have had the great pleasure of visiting Massachusetts and presenting a paper at the annual national meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies held in Boston. It was my second time attending such a gathering, having also presented a paper on Dublin poet Maeve Cavanagh MacDowell two years ago, when ACIS met in Kansas City, Missouri. This time around I spoke about the life of Dora Maguire, another woman who happened to be profiled in R. M. Fox’s 1935 book of essays Rebel Irishwomen.

Collinstown Aerodrome Raid 1919

Old Photo of Dublin AirportThe Soloheadbeg Ambush in January 1919 did not lead to a wide scale conflict immediately. For much of 1919, the Irish Volunteers embarked on a mainly defensive campaign, primarily searching for arms. As a result, some skirmishes broke out leading to some deaths.

Grangegorman HIR Blog

Henrietta Entrance Kings InnLast month I was in the King’s Inns building for the launch of a remarkable short film. Trish McAdams directed and wrote Confinement for the Grangegorman Development Agency, who asked her to create a public art project. The film’s 30-minute running time evokes three hundred years of the history of the King’s Inns, Henrietta Street and the Grangegorman Asylum. The story is told through the imagined voice of Tony Rudenko, an artist who lived in Henrietta Street until his death in 2014, who was also a friend of the director.

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