In 1845 life in the Castlecomer Coalfields was racked by economic recession and grinding poverty. When the potato crop, the staple diet of millions across Ireland, failed disaster struck. In the following years around one million Irish people died and over one million emigrated.
In Castlecomer the fate of thousands lay in the hands on one man – Charles Wandesforde – the mine owner and local landlord. His decisions were controversial but it not easy to decide whether they were good bad. One thing is for certain life in the coalfield would never be the same again.
The Great Famine in Castlecomer – Secret Societies Communism and Coal.
For three centuries the town of Castlecomer in North Co. Kilkenny staged one of the most fascinating but forgotten struggles in Irish history. Miners who worked in some of the most harsh working conditions constantly struggled against the mine owner. … read more
I haven’t joined a metal band but this show is different from the usual fare and explores three very different topics. The Black Death section takes you through the medieval equivalent of the Battle of Stalingrad – The Siege of … read more
By 1190 the Normans were utterly dominant throughout much of Ireland. As undisputed masters they set about tranforming their lands into societies modelled on their homelands in Wales and England. Gaelic Society was destroyed. This podcast looks at what exactly … read more
In this episode the Normans push far into the North and North west. There they come up against one of the greatest powers in medieval Ireland – the kingdom of Tyrone and its ruling families – the O’Neills and their … read more
Over recent days controversy has emerged over film footage of the Queen of England with her arms raised in a Nazi salute. That this has caused outrage seems ridiculous. She was aged no older than seven years of age. It … read more
The Kingdom of Connacht in the west of Ireland represented one of the greatest obstacles to the Norman domination of Ireland. The ruling family, the O’Connors had resisted Norman intrusion into their kingdom on several occasions. However in the 1190s … read more
Fans of Game of Thrones will be familiar with the painkiller ‘Milk of the Poppy’ a powerful drug in the fantasy series. Some of the show is based on medieval history and strange as it may sound medieval opium based … read more
Part XX sees us enter the 1190s and the Norman Invasion enters what might be called end game. In this decade they begin to advance in to the far west of the island. The Gaelic Irish response is at times … read more
This Saturday, I am organising a unique day trip which will take you on journey deep into our medieval past. This day promises to be unforgettable. There are still some tickets remaining (€60 per person or €50 for groups of … read more