local studies

Séamus Ennis HIR Blog

Historians in ResidenceThis 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.

National Shell Factory

Shell FactoryThe National Shell Factory in Parkgate Street  was set up during the First World War following lobbying by various business and engineering interests, who came together in 1915 to form the Dublin Armaments Committee. The site of the factory was chosen by Captain Fairbairn Dowie, who had been seconded from the London Scottish Regiment to take charge of the operation. The factory had been a woolen mill prior to the war.

Statue of King William III

Dublin supported James II at the Battle of the Boyne, but following his defeat by William III, a protestant ascendancy resumed control of the city and began to forge links with the new and successful monarchy.  This process intensified after the death of Mary II in 1695 left William III as sole monarch. Dublin Corporation added William’s arms to the City Sword  in 1697 and in the following year, the king presented a chain of office to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, carrying the monarch’s bust on a medallion, which is in use to this day.

Labour movement and the revolutionary decade

Damaged Liberty Hall 1916The 1966 Irish history syllabus for secondary schools was consistent with the focus of the 50th anniversary celebrations. It highlighted the role of advanced nationalists and downplayed and even deliberately obscured the role of individuals and groups who might possibly undermine the conservative hegemony of the Irish state. These included the organised labour movement and several women’s organisations, who were described essentially as auxiliaries to the independence struggle.

Local Historian Honoured

Cathy Scuffil with her medalWe are delighted to announce that Cathy Scuffil, Historian in Residence with Dublin City Council (South Central area) has been awarded a silver medal by the Old Dublin Society for her paper on the South Circular Road on the eve of the First World War.  Professor Frank Barry from Trinity College Dublin presented the medal to Cathy on 21st June and praised her research which she undertook initially for an MA in Local History from Maynooth University.  Cathy brings her knowledge and love of history to groups and schools all over the Crumlin, Ballyfermot, Dolphin’s Barn, Walkinstown, Kimmage and Dublin 8 areas of the city.

"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.

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