local studies

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.

1916 Rising Elsie McDermid Letter

Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, St John Ambulance and 1916

W&R Jacob & Co.Jacob's Biscuit Factory on Bishop Street was one of the sites occupied by the Irish Volunteers during Easter Week, 1916, and has acquired iconic status within Irish history.   The Jacob's Biscuit Factory Archive has recently being catalogued and opened to public access in the Dublin City Library and Archive.  In conjunction with the Business Information Centre the exhibition "W&R Jacob and Easter Rising" will be open to the public from 13 April, with a talk by Dr Séamas Ó Maithiú on 21 April.

Right: Sketch of Bishop Street Factory, c.1900s, Jacobs Biscuit Factory Archive (DCLA) (View larger image)

Alfie Byrne MP

Citizens in ConflictCitizens in Conflict #8. In 1916 the Dublin Harbour constituency was represented at Westminster by Alfred (Alfie) Byrne MP.  Dublin Harbour contained Mountjoy Ward, North Dock Ward, Rotunda Ward, (except a portion in the College Green constituency) and the portion of South Dock ward north of a line drawn along the centre of Great Brunswick Street. It also included the portion of Trinity Ward lying north of a line drawn along the centre of Great Brunswick street and the towns of Ringsend and Irishtown as well as sections of Beggar’s Bush. About 8,000 men had the vote in the constituency.

The British Army in Easter Week

Citizens in ConflictCitizens in Conflict #7. On paper there were nearly 3,000 British troops in Dublin on Easter Monday. But in reality the authorities were not prepared for immediate action. On Easter Sunday, only 400 British troops in Dublin were in ‘immediate readiness’ for action; 100 at each main barracks and a guard of six at Dublin Castle. Many officers were at the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, while the commander of forces in Ireland, Major-General Friend, in London. His deputy Colonel H.V. Cowan, had a total of 2,385 men available, including those at races or on a day’s leave.

Apart from 6th Cavalry Reserve regiment at Marlborough Barracks, every unit in the city was part of an Irish regiment. The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment was at Richmond Barracks, the 10th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers at the Royal Barracks, 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Portobello Barracks. It was the 5th Royal Irish Lancers from Marlborough Barracks shot at in O’Connell Street.

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