local studies

The Capel Street Librarian and the 1916 Rising

Tommy GayA native of Dublin’s inner city, 'Tommy' Gay was educated at Synge Street CBS. His early life coincided with the political and cultural revival of the late nineteenth century and he became very active in a range of sporting and cultural organisations, including the GAA and the Gaelic League.  A keen sportsman, he was a member of the Croke Gaelic Club where he became an accomplished hurler and was also a founder member of the Dublin Camogie Club.

Right: Thomas E. Gay (1884-1953)

As Gay himself later explained it, these organisations ‘gave impetus and new life to the revolutionary movement’.  He started in the Corporation libraries as a library assistant at the then newly-opened Charleville Mall Library in line with the practice of recruiting 16 year old boys.  By April 1916 he was already a mature 32-year-old man, established in his career as Capel Street Head Librarian and engaged to be married.

Yeats and Dublin - its people and places

YeatsDid you know that W.B. Yeats was born in Dublin?
That his family were resident in Howth and Terenure during his teenage years?
That he lived for substantial periods of his life in Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares?
That his family and many of his closest friends were staunch Dubliners?
That his final home was in Rathfarnham?

View Yeats and Dublin: its People and Places image gallery

My Area in 1916, Mo Cheantar agus 1916

My Area in 1916This new publication looks at 1916 in central Dublin, an area which formed the backbone of the 1916 Rising. We know that many of the men and women who fought in the 1916 Rising were from the north inner-city area with 287 of those who fought in the GPO alone hailing from this part of the city. The book is a collaboration between six secondary schools in the Dublin Central area and was coordinated by project historian Donal Fallon and Dublin City Public Libraries. It draws on original research by students on the 1916 Rising in their area.

Image: Book cover showing Margaret Skinnider by Shauna Delahunty, Mount Carmel

Certificate in Local Studies

Cert in Local StudiesPlease Note: The Lord Mayor's certificate course in Local Studies is now full. Places are still available on the Lord Mayor's certificate course in Oral History (27 August 2016)

The Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Local Studies will be offered at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, D2 on Tuesday evenings from September 2016 until April 2017. The course consists of 85 hours part time and will equip participants with skills in researching local history and in the preparation of a dissertation. The closing date for course applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 2 September 2016. (fully booked).  Dublin City Council offers two Bursaries for candidates taking the Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Local Studies, and closing date for bursary applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 26 August 2016.  For printed course brochure please email cityarchives@dublincity.ie.


Certificate in Oral History

Certificate in Oral HistoryThe Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Oral History will be offered at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 on Monday evenings from September 2016 until April 2017. The course consists of 70 hours part time and the course will equip participants with skills in the preparation and conduct of oral history projects, including best practice in the collection and archiving of oral history interviews. 

The closing date for course applications is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 16 September 2016.

Happy Birthday Ha'penny Bridge!

The Ha'penny BridgeOn Thursday 19 May 2016 the Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin's most iconic bridge will be 200 years old.  The building of a bridge at this site was first proposed by John Claudius Beresford, Lord Mayor of Dublin (1814-15) and William Walsh, ferry owner and alderman of the city. Walsh was granted a 100 year lease on the bridge. When the bridge opened Walsh retired his ferries and began charging a ha'penny toll to cross, the same cost as he'd previously charged for ferry passage across the Liffey.  The beautiful elliptical shaped ha'penny bridge was designed and built by John Windsor at the Coalbrookdale Foundry, Shropshire.  The bridge which is crossed by an estimated 30,000 people every day, was completely restored in 2001. The excellent Bridges of Dublin website has lots more to read about the history, the design and engineering of the bridge.

Carnegie's Gift

Rathmines LibraryWhile researching the development of public libraries in Ireland for another project, I discovered a connection between this evolution and my home through the Carnegie Grants. I am from Pennsylvania, the same state in America where Andrew Carnegie operated his iron and steel works. Carnegie had worked his way up from a factory job to amass a fortune at the head of the American steel industry. Because of his humble roots, he was determined to give back some of that fortune. In Ireland, his charitable work had a tremendous impact on the Library Movement. Eighty proposed libraries received grants, of which sixty six were actually built. In Co. Dublin, grant money funded the creation of twenty one public libraries including the Pearse Street (then Great Brunswick Street), Charleville Mall, and Pembroke libraries that are now a part of the Dublin City Library network.

Dublin Burning: the Easter Rising and its consequences

Sackville Street in ruinsAs part of Dublin Remembers 1916, Dr Brian Hanley presented a lecture series which examined in detail the lead up to the Rising, what really happened over those momentous days and its impact on future generations.
Image: Corner of Sackville Street (O'Connell Street) and Eden Quay. Postcard from the Birth of the Republic Collection at Dublin City Library & Archive.

Dr Brian Hanley is a historian and author. His publications include The IRA : a documentary history 1916-2005 (2015), The lost revolution : the story of the official IRA and the workers' party (2009) and A Guide to Irish Military Heritage (2004).

Monica Roberts' 1916 Diary

Monica RobertsOver Easter weekend we tweeted quotes from Monica Roberts' 1916 Diary, which provides a unique eyewitness account of the Rising including details of how it impacted on daily life (view tweets below).  Monica Roberts was a young woman living in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin. She set up a voluntary organization, ‘The Band of Helpers to the Soldiers’ to provide gifts for Irish troops at the front, particularly those serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Flying Corps. The Monica Roberts Collection is fully digitised and searchable online at Digital Repository Ireland

Elsie McDermid's Easter 1916 Letter

Elsie McDermidOver Easter Weekend 2016 we tweeted quotes from Elsie McDermid's 1916 letter to coincide with the 1916 centenary (view the tweets below). Elsie McDermid's letter to her mother provides a unique eye-witness account to the 1916 Rising. Elsie McDermid was a popular English opera singer who visited Dublin to perform in Gilbert and Sullivan shows at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. However, the performances were cancelled as a result of the dramatic outbreak of the Rising on Monday 24th April 1916.

Read more about Elsie McDermid's letter and read the letter in its entirety.