This 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.Whereas the likes of Maud Gonne and Countess Markievicz became legends in their own lifetimes, Dora Maguire (1889-1931) was perhaps the most obscure of Fox’s dozen ‘Rebel Irishwomen’. A friend of the author, she died aged forty-one in February 1931 after years of ill-health. During my paper I spoke about Maguire’s upbringing in England and the north of Ireland, time spent in Blackburn and London during the First World War (when she worked as a nurse and developed suppressed diphtheria and tuberculosis), decision to move to Ireland around the time of the War of Independence, and employment at St. Ultan’s Children’s Hospital in Ranelagh during the 1920s.I then focused at length on her arrest in 1925 over an incident at the Princess Cinema in Rathmines. Evolving into an ardent republican during her adulthood, Maguire was indignant at the time about the screening across Dublin of short films concerning the Prince of Wales’ recent dominion tour of South Africa. Entering the “Prinner” – as the Princess Cinema was known to locals – on 6th August 1925 with an inkpot hidden on her person, Maguire stood up and hurled her makeshift missile over the heads of the theatre orchestra as soon as the offending picture was shown, causing considerable damage to the screen and generating newspaper headlines.Surviving foyer plaque from the Princess Cinema, the scene of Dora Maguire's arrest in August 1925. Known locally as "The Prinner", the cinema closed its doors in 1960 and was demolished in 1982 (Photograph courtesy of Carol Dunne, Dublin City Libraries).This incident is the focus of The Spirit of Dora Maguire, an historical comic strip by Dublin artist Aidan J Collins. Some artwork from this creation, which came about in 2018 following a talk I gave in Dublin on Maguire’s life the previous year, can be seen below:Blueprint still from an animated video by Aidan J Collins. This is based on one of the panels from his 2018 historical comic strip The Spirit of Dora Maguire (Courtesy of Aidan J Collins).On Monday 20th May 2019 I will be teaming up with Maeve Casserly (Historian in Residence, South East Area) for a joint talk about Dora Maguire and St. Ultan’s Children’s Hospital at Rathmines Public Library. The event starts at 6:30pm and all are welcome to attend.Dr. James Curry, Historian in Residence, North West Area.Dublin City Council Historians in Residence are available to meet groups and schools, give talks, walks etc, run history book clubs and advise on historical research.
History Document of the Month: Rally round the banner boys!
Gerald Crofts (1888–1934) was one of a small group of musicians and lyricists who made a huge contribution to the Irish independence movement in the early 20th century. He came from Capel Street originally, where his family had a shop and he was a popular singer. His brother Joseph was a composer who arranged the words and music for this marching song, which was dedicated to Crofts.Gerald had joined the Irish Volunteers in 1914 and he was a close friend of some of the leaders of the Rising. He was imprisoned in Dartmoor and Lewes prisons in England and suffered poor health for the rest of his life. Crofts continued his republican activities after his release from prison although he was curtailed in what he could do by a problem with his hands, which meant he could not hold weapons. Family papers suggest that he was involved in intelligence work with Michael Collins. In the later years of his life he was well known for singing his friend Constance Markiewicz’s anthem 'A Battle Hymn’ (dedicated to the Irish Citizen Army) at political gatherings and concerts. He died on 14th November 1934. History Document of the MonthEvery month the Dublin City Council Historians in Residence will be highlighting a document from Dublin City Public Libraries and Archives Digital Repository. An image of the selected document will be on display in branch libraries during the month.Historians in Residence are available to meet groups and schools, give talks, walks etc, run history book clubs and advise on historical research.
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.But these expressions of loyalty were not sufficiently public for the City Assembly, which early in 1700 decided to erect a statue of the king, to be placed on a pedestal in the old Corn Market. From the inception of this project, the Assembly was aware that the statue could become a focus for protest by Jacobite supporters, and decreed that it should “be defended with iron banisters”.  Two Dublin merchants, Henry Glegg and John Moore, who were on business in London, were asked to commission the sculptor Grinling Gibbons to execute an equestrian statue of the king in copper or mixed metal and a contract was signed on 9 April 1700. In fact, the statue was executed in lead. Gibbons was to be paid £800 sterling in four instalments: £200 on signing the contract, the same again two months later, a further £200 when the statue was shipped off, and the final £200 when the statue had arrived and was in position. The Assembly then decided that the statue should be placed, not in the Corn Market, but in a more prominent location, in College green. It was also agreed that the stones of St. Paul’s gate in the city walls, which had been demolished by alderman George Blackall, should be used to make a pedestal for the statue. The statue was unveiled on 1 July 1701, which was the 11th anniversary of the Boyne (following the Julian calendar in use at the time). The lord justices, who were guests of honour, were “entertained by publicly running out some wine” – presumably so they could have the fun of watching the populace scramble for a drink. The event became a yearly one, with a parade around the statue, and volleys of muskets fired in the air. Some security was afforded to the statue when the city Plumber, Alexander Erwin, was paid £13-0s-9d for “fastening the iron work around the king’s statue” and this afforded adequate protection to the monument for the best part of ten years. This honeymoon period ended in 1710. The City Assembly was informed that on Sunday 25 June “some persons disaffected to the late happy revolution, did offer great indignities to his late majesty, king William of glorious memory, by breaking and defacing some part of his statue erected on College Green”.  In fact, his sword and truncheon were broken off. The lord mayor, Sir John Eccles, believing that the attack was fuelled by drink, ordered that a “strict inquiry be made in the several public houses what guests were [there] at unseasonable hours” on the evening of 25 June. The authorities at Dublin castle offered £100 for information and the city offered a further reward of £50, which was claimed by a local man, Richard Markham. The guilty parties were Trinity students who were expelled from the college. But attacks on the statue continued. In October 1714 a truncheon, which was in the king’s hand, was broken off and removed and in 1715, the year of the first Jacobite revolt in Scotland, the Corporation decided to build a watch house beside the statue and post a couple of sentinels there.Protestant sentiment continued in Dublin throughout the 18th century. The position of William III’s statue outside the Parliament House, made it a focus of the Volunteer rallies which took place in College Green in the 1770s. The Lord Mayor’s Coach, which was commissioned by the Corporation and built in Dublin by William Whitton, was carved with unionist symbols, including orange lilies to honour William III. The Coach was first unveiled on 4 November 1791, when it led a procession to mark the Birthday of William III – a procession which took place each year thereafter. Equally, there was a Catholic reaction, and in 1798 the sword was removed and an attempt was made to saw off the kingly head. In 1805, supporters of Catholic Emancipation covered the horse with a mixture of tar and grease, while in 1837 the figure was blown completely off the horse.  It is said that Surgeon-General Sir Richard Crampton, who was a tremendous snob, was at a dinner party in St. Stephen’s Green when a distraught man came to the door looking for him and saying: ‘You must come quickly Sir – a most distinguished gentleman has fallen off his horse in College Green!’ Whereupon Sir Richard rushed off – to find king William’s statue prone on the ground! On this occasion the statue was repaired by John Smyth, whose father was the more famous sculptor Edward Smyth.(Plinth of King William's Statue)The statue of William III continued to excite controversy well into the 19th century. In 1842, city architect Hugh Byrne recommended that the cut stone base and iron railing around the statue were so defective that they should be removed and replaced and the finance committee was instructed to do so.  In spite of these precautions, the statue continued to suffer physical attacks necessitating repairs, which were conscientiously carried out: in 1843 alone, such repairs cost the City Council more than £73. But after the Home Rule Party seized control of Dublin City Council in 1880, this careful attention was not applied to the city’s statues and in 1888 they were reported as being dirty, with William III’s statue also being dangerous.  A report about the statue in the following year, found that it was indeed dangerous, with the horse in particular having sustained several cracks with a likelihood of it falling into the street and causing injury. The City Engineer recommended that the statue should be repaired – at a modest cost of £35 – and that a new site should be found for it at Foster Place, away from traffic. It was also suggested that a plaque should be added recording that the monument had been restored by the Corporation of Dublin during the Mayoralty of the Right Hon. Thomas Sexton. However, although the repairs were carried out, the statue remained in College Green. Even though the City Council members were largely nationalist, there was no suggestion that the statue should be removed altogether and a proposal from John Erskine of Belfast, offering to purchase it, met with the abrupt rejoinder ‘The Statue is not for sale’.  Anc. Rec. Dublin, VI, p. 232. Ibid. Surviving works by Gibbons in Ireland include a monument in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin to Narcissus Marsh, archbishop of Armagh, and two in Kinsale, Co. Cork to the Southwell family. See Edward McParland, ‘A monument by Grinling Gibbons’ in Irish Arts Review (Yearbook, 1994), pp 108-9. Anc. Rec. Dublin, VI, p. 235. Ibid., VI, pp 237, 239. Anc. Rec. Dublin., VI, 248-9. The lord justices were Henry Moore, 3rd earl of Drogheda; Narcissus Marsh, archbishop of Dublin; and Hugh Montgomery, 2nd earl of Mountalexander. T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin, F.J. Byrne, A New History of Ireland, IX, (Oxford, 1984), p. 491. Anc. Rec. Dublin, VI, 256.  Ibid. VI, pp 416-7. Ibid., VI, pp 416-7. DCA, MR/36: Dublin City Treasurer’s Account Book, 1651-1717, fol. 622b. Markham was paid £50 ‘for discovering the Persons that did Deface the Statue of King William’ but their names are not given. Anc. Rec. Dublin VI, pp 540-1. This pattern of attacks on the statue of William III lasted throughout its history. It was finally blown up by the old I.R.A. on 11 November 1928, the 10th anniversary of Armistice Day. Dublin City Council disposed of the shattered pedestal in 1929, as it was judged to be a hazard to traffic. Cliona Cussen, ‘Public Sculpture: a cautionary tale, or Ni Neart go baint da cheile’ in Sculptors Society of Ireland, vol. 10, no. 4, 1989. Frederick O’Dwyer, Lost Dublin, (Dublin, 1981), p. 27. City Council manuscript minutes, vol. 11, pp 185-6. Ibid., vol. 12, p. 146. Dublin City Council minutes, 1888, item 180 Dublin Corporation Reports, 1889, vol. 3, pp 61-2. Dublin City Council minutes, 1889, items 257, 281
The conferring ceremony for graduates of the Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Oral History, and the Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Local Studies, 2013-2014, took place in the Dublin City Library & Archive on Wednesday, 10th December, 2014. Above: Photo from the conferring ceremony. Click to view larger version.The Lord Mayor's Certificate in Oral History, and the Lord Mayor's Certificate in Local Studies, are two courses run by Dublin City Archives and offered to the public as part of Dublin City Council's commitment to life long learning.The courses are designed to appeal to anyone with an active interest in history and who wants to learn how to engage with a variety of different research methods and sources.The 2014-15 courses commenced in the Dublin City Library & Archive in September 2014 and continues until April 2015..Ann- Louise Mullhall, one of the participants on the Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Oral History in 2013-2014 has kindly provided us with a review of the course:"I attended this programme because I heard Ellen Murphy, Senior Archivist, Dublin City Library & Archive talk about an oral history project she had been involved with on the North Strand Bombings. I am presently researching a book on the history of the Coombe Hospital and thought oral history could be a useful research method in my search for evidence.The 28 week course was divided up into 4 sections: In the first section An Introduction to Oral History, we learnt that oral history was not a new branch of history but a new technique a means of bringing into play new sources of evidence to be evaluated alongside written sources and materials. We were introduced to the key concepts, theories and methodologies in oral history. One of the objectives of the course was to equip us students with the essential skills in interviewing techniques and encouraging engagement with ethical research issues. We had some interesting discussions in the class around the ethical issues. Each class was illustrated with references to core texts, helpful Irish and International websites of interest and suggested readings. We were sent copies of the PowerPoint presentations from each class which was useful. We had presentations from researchers who were involved in the oral history projects done in East Wall, Dublin and of family memories of the 1913 Dublin Lock Out. They gave us tips on avoiding pitfalls and great encouragement with their enthusiasm for this method.The second section Irish History Sources and Methods, introduced us to documentary and other sources for the study of Irish History. We also looked at developing our oral history research proposal and putting our learning into action by preparing to do our own oral history piece. One of the strengths of this course is the assistance and encouragement you get from the course tutors Dr. Catherine O’Connor and Dr. Mary McCarthy, as well as from fellow course participants. We got the necessary guidance in academic writing.The third section was Oral Heritage and Memory: Private and Public. It was very interesting to learn about the Irish Folklore project. We were given samples of the evidence that had been collected about life in Ireland in the 1930’s. When we were exploring issues relating to public history and commemoration course, participants gave presentations on commemorations they were involved with. We also learnt about the ‘ Decade of commemorations’ and looked at websites that illustrate each historical event. We went on a most interesting and informative field trip to Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum where we did the Military history tour with Conor our guide. It was fascinating to visit the graves of soldiers who fought in wars and risings, of chaplains who ministered to them, of women who fought alongside their men, of politicians who tried to negotiate the peace. We then visited the Museum to view the Irish Volunteers exhibition and finished off the visit with a meal and discussion on what we had seen and learnt.The final section was the Seminar Module which provided assistance in the design and development of our own oral history research project. Both tutors gave us plenty of guidance with our projects. This also provided us with opportunity to learn from our fellow students. We all got assistance from the staff in Dublin City Library and Archive Reading Room with information retrieval for background information for our projects.A most interesting programme!"Further information available from [email protected]
JSTOR is a comprehensive online resource that spans a variety of topics. Access to The Ireland Collection – JSTOR can be accessed at Dublin City Public Libraries free of charge. The Ireland Collection is an interdisciplinary collection of journals and other materials. The Collection contains titles and resources across the arts, humanities, and sciences in disciplines such as music, art, history, literature, archaeology, mathematics, and biology. Materials span from the 1780s to the present.Find out more about this and other research materials available at Dublin City Public Libraries. Whether you want to satisfy your curiosities, increase your content knowledge or for personal research the information is at your fingertips. For example you can find a copy of every Dublin Historical Record article ever written since 1834. Students can access further information to assist their studies. Researchers who may not have access to journal databases will find a wealth of information available."JSTOR (short for Journal Storage) is an online system for archiving academic journals, founded in 1995. It provides its member institutions full-text searches of digitised back issues of several hundred well-known journals, dating back to 1665. Membership in JSTOR is held by 7,000 institutions in 159 countries. JSTOR was originally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but is now an independent, self-sustaining not-for-profit organization with offices in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In January 2009, it was announced that JSTOR would merge with Ithaka, a non-profit organization founded in 2003 and "dedicated to helping the academic community take full advantage of rapidly advancing information and networking technologies." (Wikipedia)JSTOR is an example of information storage and access that is required to protect the masses of information available. It was a solution for libraries to deal with the growing level of print journals that were in circulation. In the 2003 copy of JSTOR News (Issue 2 No. 7) Michael P. Spinella of JSTOR writes “Though there is not yet a complete tally at the time of this writing, it is believed that many thousands of artefacts, works of art, ancient manuscripts, and historic letters housed by the Iraqi National Museum and National Library have been destroyed or stolen. These works encompass some 2000 years of history and culture. We should take a moment to contemplate the enormity of these losses. Beyond this, we must act to guard against such tragedies in the future. The situation underscores the urgency of preserving history in as many places and forms as possible. Digitization cannot replicate the experience of an original work; nevertheless, digital copies are preferable to the calamity of total loss. In my first few months at JSTOR, I have encountered many people who share an awareness of the need to protect intellectual and cultural histories. JSTOR staff members demonstrate this commitment through their work to ensure the continued accessibility of the literature entrusted to us.”