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News and Events in Irish History

  • We welcome communication from readers. We particularly encourage individuals, groups, historical societies, publishers to send us news and information (including press releases) about forthcoming events, publications, lectures, presentations in any way related to Irish History. Feel free to contact us.

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  • Irish Military Seminar 2018, Co. Kildare News > Irish Military Seminar 2018 – 8-9 June Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare – The second Irish Military Seminar takes place 8-9 June at Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare. The full programme of events has been announced: FRIDAY (Free) 17.00 – 17.45 pm: The Glen of Imaal Disaster, 1941 – Terence O'Reilly 17.50 pm: Readings from the Leb – Martin Malone 18.35 pm: Reception in foyer of Riverbank Arts Centre 19.00 pm: Opening of the Seminar by Mayor of Co. Kildare, Cllr. Martin Miley 19.15 pm: Book Launch by Col. Desmond Travers (Retd.), Witness to War Crimes by Colm Doyle, with Conor Graham, Merrion Press 20.00 pm: Who Fears to Speak of '22 ...
    Posted 20 May 2018, 07:49 by Irish History
  • Why Did They Lie? by Jack Kiernan | Irish Civil War 1922-23 News > Why Did They Lie? by Jack Kiernan – The Irish Civil War, The Truth, Where and When it all Began – posted 25 Apr 2018, 12:22On this day (25 April) in 1922, gun battles took place on the streets of the Irish midlands town of Mullingar that a new book by author Jack Kiernan contends, mark the beginning of the Irish Civil War (1922-23). His recently published Why Did They Lie? uncovers shadowy events that took place, shedding important light on the very origins of that conflict, where and when it all began. He also offers an assessment that challenges certain assumptions about the course of events, the personalities and leadership dynamics involved in a conflict that itself ...
    Posted 19 May 2018, 14:18 by Oscar Duggan
  • John Toland (1670-1722) | Important Centenaries Coming Up News > John Toland (1670-1722) – important centenaries coming up – posted 14 Mar 2017 A new website dedicated to the life and work of the philosopher, John Toland (b. 1670), was launched last Sunday, 11 March (the anniversary of his death in 1722). John Toland was an Irish-born rationalist philosopher and freethinker of the early Enlightenment period. He made important contributions to the various fields of philosophy – in what today would be regarded as both the natural and social sciences. "If you would know more of him, search his writings," he wrote in a self-penned epitaph that appeared following his death. The purpose of of this web-based project, say the organisers, is to serve as a free, online ...
    Posted 15 Mar 2018, 09:00 by Oscar Duggan
  • Inaugural Roger Casement Summer School, 24-25 August 2017 News > Roger Casement Summer School – 24-25 August, dlr Lexicon, Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire – posted 31 Jul 2017, 23:17 The inaugural Roger Casement Summer School/Féile Ruairí MacEasmain will be held in the dlr Lexicon, Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire, from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th of August, 2017. The twin themes of the school are Roger Casement and His Times and Present Day Human Rights Issues, with speakers form Ireland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Peru, together with films and evenings of song, music and poetry. Roger Casement (1864-1916) was born and brought up as a child in Dún Laoghaire, and the dlr 1916 Committee, which had organised a series of lectures to commemorate the centenary ...
    Posted 14 Mar 2018, 15:31 by Irish History
  • St. George Smith Piperstown History News > Piperstown House, Drogheda – history now online – Posted 25 Jun 2017, 00:11 Henry St George Smith (1813-1899), High Sheriff of Louth, built Piperstown House, Drogheda in 1842 (52 rooms – one for every week). Generations of the family occupied the house for 150 years. Brian and Jean Smith still live on the 365 acre estate (an acre for every day of the year), with their family, Paul, Robert and Victoria, where they run Piperstown Equestrian Centre: an impressive indoor and outdoor riding school, livery and cross country course. These historical documents were compiled and typed by Brian’s mother, Jennifer Ann Smith (1935-2007) and gifted to Brian so that future generations of the family would have a better ...
    Posted 9 Jul 2017, 01:38 by Irish History
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 7. View more »

Irish Military Seminar 2018, Co. Kildare

posted 19 May 2018, 14:33 by Oscar Duggan   [ updated 20 May 2018, 07:49 by Irish History ]

Irish Military Seminar 2018
– 8-9 June Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare –

The second Irish Military Seminar takes place 8-9 June at Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare. The full programme of events has been announced:

FRIDAY (Free)

Irish Military Seminar 2018 poster
17.00 – 17.45 pm: The Glen of Imaal Disaster, 1941 – Terence O'Reilly
17.50 pm: Readings from the Leb – Martin Malone
18.35 pm: Reception in foyer of Riverbank Arts Centre
19.00 pm: Opening of the Seminar by Mayor of Co. Kildare, Cllr. Martin Miley
19.15 pm: Book Launch by Col. Desmond Travers (Retd.), Witness to War Crimes by Colm Doyle, with Conor Graham, Merrion Press
20.00 pm: Who Fears to Speak of '22? The politics of Commemoration. The practicalities and challenges of commemoration history; a panel discussion and public forum with historians and the local media.

SATURDAY (Admin Fee €5)

8.45 – 9.15 am: Registration – Tea & Coffee
9.20 – 9.25 am: Welcome
9.30 – 10.15 am: Zulu. The Defence of Rorke's Drift – Dan Harvey
10.20 – 11.05 am: What Did The Women Do Anyway? The Role of Women in the Struggle for Irish Freedom 1918-1923 – Liz Gillis
11.05 – 11.30 am: Tea/Coffee Break
11.35 a.m. – 12.20 pm: Recovering the voices of the Union Irish: The forgotten letters of Ireland’s American Civil War dead – Damian Shiels
12.25 – 13.10 pm: Oliver Cromwell and the conquest of Ireland: His greatest failure? – Professor Micheál Ó Siochrú
13.10 – 14.25 pm: LUNCH (at own expense)
14.30 – 15.15 pm: Granuaile – Grace O’Malley: Ireland's Pirate Queen (1530-1603). The life and times of an iconic pioneer and feminist – Anne Chambers
15.20 – 16.05 pm: The significance of Irish involvement in World War I: A review – Neil Richardson
16.30 p.m. Close of seminar

The Saturday night programme will feature a performance of The Birth of a Nation concert, which was last performed in Lexington, Kentucky as part of the Twinning anniversary there in October.

20.00 pm: Saturday, 9 June: Birth of a Nation a musical extravaganza set against the backdrop of Irish history up to the founding of the modern Irish State; featuring songs and music from the period. A marvellous, sometimes whimsical, but often tragic journey, guaranteed to move and entertain. Script by Mario Corrigan. Paul Linehan, Tenor; Ann Cullen, Piano and Violin, and Liam Quinlivan, Narrator. Admission €10.

Songs include:
The West’s Asleep; The Minstrel Boy; Boolavogue; Danny Boy; A Nation Once Again; Óró ‘Sé do bheatha ‘bhaile; The Foggy Dew

Seminar Admission (booking)

Friday – Free; Saturday – €5.00. Includes complimentary tea and coffee break. Lunch at own expense. Booking essential via Riverbank Arts Centre Box Office.
e-Mail: boxoffice@riverbank.ie
Tel: 00353 (0)45 448327

Why Did They Lie? by Jack Kiernan | Irish Civil War 1922-23

posted 25 Apr 2018, 04:22 by Oscar Duggan   [ updated 19 May 2018, 14:18 ]

Why Did They Lie? by Jack Kiernan
– The Irish Civil War, The Truth, Where and When it all Began –

posted 25 Apr 2018, 12:22
On this day (25 April) in 1922, gun battles took place on the streets of the Irish midlands town of Mullingar that a new book by author Jack Kiernan contends, mark the beginning of the Irish Civil War (1922-23). His recently published Why Did They Lie? uncovers shadowy events that took place, shedding important light on the very origins of that conflict, where and when it all began.
Why Did They Lie? by Jack Kiernan

He also offers an assessment that challenges certain assumptions about the course of events, the personalities and leadership dynamics involved in a conflict that itself took place against the backdrop of a very turbulent period of Irish history.

Most people, with any knowledge of Irish history, know that hostilities in the Irish Civil War commenced with the move by the Provisional Government to take the Four Courts in Dublin (held by anti-Treaty forces), towards the end of June 1922. Most people would be wrong, however! That is the view of Jack Kiernan, who sets out to investigate the roots of a tragic and bitter conflict, that proceeded apace with the emergence of independent Irish statehood.

Growing up in an Irish Midlands town, Kiernan remembers being told by his teachers that "if anything of importance happened in Mullingar, it would have been recorded."

Bullet holes remnants in the walls of prominent local buildings seemed to give lie to these bland assertions, as did the recollections of older neighbours, alluding to "the shooting of unarmed prisoners during the Civil War."

What he only discovered, much later, was that events of, not just local but national significance had taken place in the town where he grew up. What's more, they had been recorded, only to be buried deep within the archives – almost as if they had been deliberately covered up!

The evidence that he reveals here, confirms that open hostilities between pro- and anti-treaty forces were already in place throughout the country early in 1922 and prior to the events in Dublin. Furthermore, gun battles took place in the town of Mullingar during the month of April 1922, resulting in deaths (the first casualties of the Irish Civil War). Evidence also suggests that British forces, though officially withdrawn, may have fired the first shots.

The events of the Irish Civil War (1922-1923) have cast a long shadow over Irish life. This book sheds important light on a dark chapter in Irish history; a contribution towards the debate that surely must accompany the centenaries of these events, which are now just around the corner.

Why Did They Lie? by Jack Kiernan is published by The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, as well as from certain bookshops. For further information, visit the author's website.

John Toland (1670-1722) | Important Centenaries Coming Up

posted 14 Mar 2018, 15:41 by Irish History   [ updated 15 Mar 2018, 09:00 by Oscar Duggan ]

John Toland (1670-1722)
– important centenaries coming up –

posted 14 Mar 2017
John Toland (1670-1722)
A new website dedicated to the life and work of the philosopher, John Toland (b. 1670), was launched last Sunday, 11 March (the anniversary of his death in 1722).

John Toland was an Irish-born rationalist philosopher and freethinker of the early Enlightenment period. He made important contributions to the various fields of philosophy – in what today would be regarded as both the natural and social sciences. "If you would know more of him, search his writings," he wrote in a self-penned epitaph that appeared following his death.

The purpose of of this web-based project, say the organisers, is to serve as a free, online resource and repository of knowledge pertaining to Toland, his writings, the times in which he lived and to the social movement that he, along with others, spearheaded and represented, with particular reference to the enduring legacy and effect.

There is a lot that has been said about John Toland and probably a lot more that could be said. This web-based project will serve the purpose of ensuring that nothing that should be said will go unsaid. This is also why we are making the material posted to this website freely available and open to anyone who may wish to contribute. Furthermore, we invite those who may wish to contribute to get in touch with us.
John Toland plaque, Ardagh, Co. Donegal

The unveiling of the website on the anniversary of Toland's death is not coincidental. In fact, the date has been deliberately chosen with an eye to the impending 350th anniversary of Toland's birth, which will be observed on 30 November 2020 and the 300th anniversary of his death falling less than two years later, in 2022.

We particularly encourage anyone who has an interest in these anniversaries to get in touch with us, to ensure that they are properly observed and accorded the respect that they are due. We will do our best (without fear or favour) to publicise events that are taking place, using networks and channels of communication within our reach.

John Toland (1670-1722) website is owned and managed by The Manuscript Publisher, an Irish-based publishing services provider who have published, or otherwise made available, several works by or relating to John Toland, including J.N. Duggan's short biography Ireland's Forgotten Philosopher, Scholar ... and Heretic.

They go on to specify however that "this is not intended as an advertisement or an endorsement. Furthermore, we welcome correspondence from authors, publishers, educationalists, historical societies, groups and individuals who might see some aspect of their own interest or remit reflected in this initiative."

Anyone with an interest in this web project is invited to keep in touch. If you would know more about it, visit the website.

John Toland (1670-1722) web project

Inaugural Roger Casement Summer School, 24-25 August 2017

posted 31 Jul 2017, 15:17 by Irish History   [ updated 14 Mar 2018, 15:31 ]

Roger Casement Summer School
– 24-25 August, dlr Lexicon, Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire –

posted 31 Jul 2017, 23:17
Roger Casement Summer School 2017
The inaugural Roger Casement Summer School/Féile Ruairí MacEasmain will be held in the dlr Lexicon, Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire, from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th of August, 2017.

The twin themes of the school are Roger Casement and His Times and Present Day Human Rights Issues, with speakers form Ireland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Peru, together with films and evenings of song, music and poetry.

Roger Casement (1864-1916) was born and brought up as a child in Dún Laoghaire, and the dlr 1916 Committee, which had organised a series of lectures to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising of 1916, decided to seek to continue the link with 1916 by organising a school in honour of Casement.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is sponsoring the school. A statue to Casement is to be erected in Dún Laoghaire next year.

Further information about the summer school is available online, including from the website of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council as well as on Facebook. The programme of events is also available to download.

St. George Smith Piperstown History

posted 24 Jun 2017, 15:14 by Irish History   [ updated 9 Jul 2017, 01:38 ]

Piperstown House, Drogheda
– history now online –

Posted 25 Jun 2017, 00:11
Piperstown House, Drogheda
Henry St George Smith (1813-1899), High Sheriff of Louth, built Piperstown House, Drogheda in 1842 (52 rooms – one for every week). Generations of the family occupied the house for 150 years. Brian and Jean Smith still live on the 365 acre estate (an acre for every day of the year), with their family, Paul, Robert and Victoria, where they run Piperstown Equestrian Centre: an impressive indoor and outdoor riding school, livery and cross country course.

These historical documents were compiled and typed by Brian’s mother, Jennifer Ann Smith (1935-2007) and gifted to Brian so that future generations of the family would have a better understanding of their fascinating history and ancestors.

The documents have now been made available online, for members of the public who may also be interested in this extensive catalogue of family history – see St. George Smith Piperstown History. Included are a family tree and genealogy, photos and facsimiles.

In addition, "extensive reels of 8mm and 16mm film footage (home movies) of the St George Smith family at home at Piperstown over the years, have been archived and stored safely at Piperstown by Brian Smith, which is currently being converted to digital format and will be uploaded upon completion."

Piperstown House


Find Piperstown Equestrian Centre on Facebook. Follow on Twitter.

Down the Decades by Mattie Lennon

posted 10 Apr 2016, 05:13 by Irish History   [ updated 2 Mar 2018, 15:35 by Oscar Duggan ]

Down the Decades
by Mattie Lennon
- a history of CIÉ captured and stored on DVD -

Posted 10/04/2016
Surprised by joy-impatient as the wind
I wished to share the transport-Oh! With whom
But thee ...
- Wordsworth

Patrick Kavanagh said that no one could write a comprehensive account of Irish life who ignored the Gaelic Athletic Association. Likewise, any attempt to chronicle events of the last seventy years would be far from complete if Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) was omitted.
Down the Decades - staff newsletters of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) from 1950s on

Almost every family in Ireland has or had somebody working in CIÉ, the semi-State body that was founded in 1945. From 1950, it brought out an in-house magazine. The Link ran from 1950 and was replaced by Nuacht in the 1990s. The last Nuacht rolled off the presses in 2003.

Thanks to a few dedicated employees, most of these publications have been rescued from the jaws of obscurity and now, they are about to share the transport publications (which include more than fifteen thousand photographs) with all on DVD.

The first edition of The Link, dated 24 November 1950, published a letter from the CIÉ Chairman:

Dear Mr. Editor,
On the occasion of the first issue of The Link, I want to offer you my best wishes for the success of the paper.
I feel sure that you and your colleagues who contribute, or otherwise help, will do everything that can be done to make The Link a staff paper which will, as its name suggests, bind together the members of our staff in all grades and in all places throughout the country.
I ask every CIÉ man to become a regular reader and in this way, co-operate with you in developing a spirit of unity and good fellowship in our organisation.
Yours sincerely
T.C. Courtney

The Editor, Frank Finn, thanked all contributors for, “ ... articles, notes, news stories and pictures, which have helped me to fill this issue."

The first issue carried articles on subjects as diverse as Charles Bianconi, the pioneer of public transport in Ireland; "The Goats of Westport”; new loading gear for loading cattle onto aircraft and an advertisement from Cotts of Kilcock, "Ireland’s biggest Mail-Order store".

In June 1951, the CIÉ lost property department had a "lost go-car" on its hands and in the Small Ads section of May 11, 1952, you could have purchased a beautiful 3-plate electric cooker for £17 10 shillings. Decades of "Gleanings from the garages", "Capital News", "Notes from the provinces", "Greetings from Christmas travellers" and accounts of funny happenings within the company are all there.

When Nuacht came on stream, it was soon published in full colour and had the effect of bringing employees with a literary bent, who were shy about their scribblings, 'out of the closet'. There is now in existence, the CIÉ Writers’ Group, which brought out a collection of short-stories, poems, essays and articles entitled, There’s Love and There’s Sex and There’s the 46A (2005) with a foreword by Professor Brendan Kennelly, who described the contributors as "... writers, ... keen listeners, sharp observers, constantly in touch with the foibles of humanity and, most striking of all, they are gifted storytellers."

Five years later, they published a second collection, It Happens Between Stops. American crime-writer, Lawrence Block (who was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994 ), wrote the following about it:

"The quantity and quality of work produced by this group, taken from a workforce of a few thousand people, would do credit to a city of many millions."

If you worked for CIÉ and did anything newsworthy, from 'missing a free' to acting as midwife on a crowded bus, there is a good chance that you are in there somewhere. If there was a picture of, or an article about, you or yours in any of these magazines, now is your chance to re-capture the past.

Down the Decades with The Link and Nuacht is available on DVD for €10 (including postage) from:

John Cassidy,
CIE Writers’ Group,
Dublin Bus Central,
Broadstone,
Dublin 7
ciewriters@gmail.com

Ireland: Birth of a Nation

posted 24 Feb 2015, 15:02 by Irish History   [ updated 31 Jul 2017, 15:16 ]

Ireland: Birth of a Nation
rare film footage of Ireland's Independence struggle

Posted 24/02/2015 23:03
These stills are from a 30-minute film, Ireland: Birth of a Nation, which "traces the key events that led to the Easter Rising, the Rebellion itself, and the subsequent War of Independence and Civil War."

Ireland: Birth of a Nation


The film includes some of the oldest film footage ever shot in Ireland and many of the key personalities of this period are captured on camera. We witness Padraig Pearse delivering his famous oration over the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa, in a segment that also contains the only known footage of James Connolly. Other historical figures of the period include Roger Casement and Michael Collins.

The film premièred last year at the Royal College of Physicians, close to St. Stephen's Green, a historic area of Dublin that featured prominently in the events of Easter Week. Indeed, footage from 1897 of O'Connell Street and St. Stephen's Green have been unearthed in putting together this film.


"With the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising approaching in 2016, this film is a must see for anyone with even the remotest interest in Irish History." according to the film's website.


Ireland: Birth of a Nation will be available for school showings until March. See the film's website for more details.


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