local studies

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.

#onthisday 1829 Architect Francis Johnston Died

Chapel RoyalOn March 14th, 1829, the death occurred of Francis Johnston, architect. He was born in 1760 at Armagh. In 1782 he was articled to Samuel Sprout, architect to the Wide Streets Commission. Among the buildings from his designs in Dublin were Nelson's Pillar (1808), Richmond Bridewell (1811), Royal Hibernian Academy (1824), St. George's Church, Hardwicke Place, the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle (1814) and the General Post Office. By 1811 he was chief architect to the Board of Works. He lived at 64 Eccles Street, Dublin.

Right: The Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle, built in 1814. Architect: Francis Johnston

How to Scan and Digitize Glass Plate Photographs

ScanningTechnology is an ever-changing form for the collection and communication of information. What happens, however, when the form of equipment is no longer the current practice of collecting information? What happens when the method is out dated and showing its age? At Dublin City Library and Archive, the staff work hard to preserve the documented history of Ireland even in its less prevalent forms. Numerous images were generously donated from Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority. These images came in many forms from positive printed images to film negatives and negative glass plate images (see image below). (Click images to view larger versions)

#onthisday 1966. Nelson's Pillar Destroyed

Neslon's headOn Tuesday, 8th March 1966, 161 years after the Battle of Trafalgar, at precisely 1:32am, a bomb exploded in O'Connell Street in the heart of Dublin and the statue of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson was destroyed. The badly damaged monument had to be entirely removed as a result of the extensive damage. The head of Nelson was recovered, badly damaged but intact, and found a permanent home in the Reading Room of the Dublin City Library and Archive on Pearse Street, where he keeps an eye on the readers researching the history of his native city.

Through the Looking Glass: Tourism in Dublin, 1950 - 1990

Failte Ireland imageThese photographs tell a part of the story of tourism in Dublin, offering an insight into how the city has been seen from both the inside and out. The timeline created by these images allows for an interesting comparison between then and now.

View Through the Looking Glass: Tourism in Dublin, 1950-1990 Image Gallery

The bustling streets of Temple Bar, so familiar today, are not a feature of these images, and it is interesting to compare today’s O’Connell Street, Trinity College and other tourist hotspots with the comparatively quiet scenes of years gone by. Food/hospitality, sports and events tourism, all which characterise much of today’s tourist marketing, are absent from these early images.

W & R Jacobs Archives at Dublin City Library and Archive

JacobsOn Monday 22nd February 2016, a special tea party is being hosted by an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh at the Mansion House to mark the transfer by Valeo Foods of the archives of W & R Jacobs and the transfer of the Appleyard Collection by Douglas Appleyard to Dublin City Council.

The archives of W & R Jacob and Company, consisting of over 330 boxes, were acquired by Dublin City Library and Archive in 2012. Following a major cataloguing project they will now be opened for public access in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library and Archive at 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

Birth of the Republic

Irish RepublicAs a history student it is invaluable to gain experience working with and handling original materials and documents. I am in the fortunate position of being an intern in 2016 when there is a massive appetite among the general public for images, documents, accounts and evidence from a century ago. It is not just historians and academics that are looking into the past but people researching their family trees and examining what went on in their local areas.

Therefore to be involved, in a small way, in helping to put together what images and information will be disseminated online in a collection about the 'Birth of the Republic' has been a real thrill. The centenary of the Easter Rising this year means different things to different people but as we begin to commemorate 1916-1923, we enter a period of anniversaries that led to the Republic we have today.