local studies

"Doing their Bit": Irish Women and the First World War

Irish SuffragettesThis fab exhibition, on display in Charleville Mall Library from 1 July  to 10 August, tells a multitude of Irish women’s stories during the First World War from Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses to munitions workers, home front volunteers, anti-enlistment activists and separation women. It draws on the archival records of the Royal Dublin Fusilers Association Archive and is curated by Dublin City Library and Archive and funded by Dublin City Council Decade of Commemoration.

The North Strand Bombing, 1941

North Strand bombingDespite declaring neutrality when the conflict broke out in September 1939, Ireland came under aerial attack several times during the Second World War. Most of the incidents happened in 1940-41, while the Luftwaffe was attacking British cities and trying to degrade their air defences.

Father O'Flanagan's Suppressed Speech 1918

SpeechThis flyer is an extract from a speech given by Fr. Michael O’Flanagan to 10,000 people at Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan on Sunday May 26, 1918. O’Flanagan mentions the arrest of De Valera, the suppression of Arthur Griffith’s newspaper, and the ‘poison-gas of lies’ spun by ‘the Little Welsh spider’ (Prime Minister David Lloyd George) against the Irish people in the ‘German Plot’.

Kate Middleton Curtis

Kate Middleton CurtisIt is fitting on International Nurses Day 2018 to remember one of the most notable figures in Irish nursing before and during the First World War. Katherine Elizabeth Middleton Curtis was born in London in 1860 and married to the noted Engineer and Merchant William Charles Middleton Curtis. Moving to Ireland, she became a member of the Blackrock Nursing Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade in Dublin and was a regular contributor to the Irish Times on nursing and medical matters. Always an innovator, Kate was involved in various public initiatives to raise public awareness of hygiene and health; she ran first aid courses for women from 1911 and was also involved in Kingstown ‘Health Week’, held in April 1913. Kate was one of the best-known members of St John Ambulance and noted in her diary on 20 October 1914 that she was also ‘the oldest ambulance lady in Ireland.’

Watkins’ Brewery and Ardee Street

Ardee StreetThis photograph from the collections of Dublin City Library and Archive shows the distinctive building and carriage arch of the former Watkins' Brewery on Ardee Street, facing up Cork Street Dublin.  This brewery dates from the early 18th century, and was producing beer long before their near neighbour in the same trade at St. James’s Gate.  There has, however,  been a brewery on this site since the time of the Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr in nearby Thomas Court.  Subsequently the site came into the possession of the Earl of Meath’s, from whom Meath Street, Earl Street and even Brabazon Street (Brabazon is their surname) all take their name.  The Earls of Meath also held the title Baron Ardee, hence the name of the street.

Women and Wartime Propaganda

German AtrocitiesAs illustrated in the ‘Doing their Bit: Irish women and the First World War’ exhibition, women played a central role in the British wartime propaganda campaign, which aimed to both engage the public with the war effort and to persuade volunteers to join the forces. News of German atrocities against Belgian and French civilians were widely reported in the press, with the treatment of women often being emphasised, as this example from the Freeman’s Journal in December 1914 shows.

Suffragist City

SuffragistIn February 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed and women who were over 30 years of age, owned property, or were married to a rate-payer were finally allowed to participate fully in the democratic process. Although women were still not on equal terms with men (who could vote from the age of 21 years), the breakthrough had been made.

Eleven months later, the voters of Dublin elected Constance Markievicz, the first woman to win a seat at Westminster.

View Suffragist City Image Gallery.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Le FanuThe official name of the Ballyfermot Dublin City Council park, known to the locals as The Lawns,  is Le Fanu Park and a nearby road also carries the same unique name.  

But who was Le Fanu, and why is his unusual name used in Ballyfermot?

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (24 August, 1814 – 7 February, 1873) was a newspaper publisher and writer who is best remembered for his classic ghost stories.  Born at 45 Lower Dominick Street in Dublin, his family were a mix of Huguenot, English and Irish ancestry.  His great-uncle was the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 

Women’s Voices 1914-1918

Nora Guilfoyle2018 marks the 100th anniversary of World War 1 Armistice. From working in munitions factories, V.A.D. nursing, supporting the war effort through charitable works, and leading the anti-conscription movement, World War 1 led to a multitude of different experiences for Irish women. Here we read from some archival sources from Dublin City Library and Archive to highlight four Irish women whose lives were impacted by the First World War in very different ways.

The four women featured are Anna Haslam, Nora Guilfoyle (pictured right), Monica Roberts and Maeve Cavanagh.

The Conscription Crisis

Conscription CrisisThe Conscription Crisis – After Russia’s withdrawal from the First World War, Germany started an offensive on the western front in March 1918. The British Government subsequently introduced the Military Services Act in April 1918, extending conscription to every Irish male between the ages of 18 and 50. Most strands of Irish life vigorously opposed conscription, leading to a retreat from the British authorities some months later.

Na Fianna article by Countess Markieviecz – January 1916 Digital.libraries.dublincity.ie

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