Images from The Land War

We are used to watching news in real time through television  and social media. It was in the 19th century that the antecedent of the modern news industry emerged through newspapers and magazines. Although photographs were around since the Crimean War in 1850’s the hand drawn sketch dominated the print media. The last post I… Read more »

5 Great Film Clips from Irish History

Imagine how our understanding of the Norman invasion of Ireland might change if we had footage of Strongbow entering Dublin in 1170 or what we might think of Brian Boru if we had footage of his burial at Armagh in 1014. These comparisons highlight the role that film footage will play as we construct the… Read more »

Saints, Scholars and Pagans? The impact of Paganism on Medieval Irish Christianity

In the film adaptation of “The Field”, the parish priest proclaims Christianity to be a “thin veneer” over Irish people, in a derogatory reference both the people  and pre-Christian Paganism alike. This idea of Christianity being a thin veneer runs contrary to the notion of medieval Ireland being an “island of saints and scholars” but… Read more »

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Grangegorman Military Cemetery

Grangegorman military cemetery is almost completely unknown in Dublin. Situated close to McKee Barracks on Blackhorse Avenue, its anonymity is more to do with those buried there than its location. The issue of Irishmen serving in the British Army has been highly controversial since 1916. This cemetery was forgotten after independence in a country forged… Read more »

Broadstone Station – A forgotten history of Dublin.

In the 19th century Broadstone was one of the most well known areas of Dublin, however very few people even know where it is today. From 1817 this area was home to one of the major transport hubs in 19th century Dublin, containing a major railway station and a canal harbour. This area rose and… Read more »

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Photo essay: St Peter’s Church, Phibsboro – A history of Irish Catholicism in stone.

As the 18th century drew to a close the catholic church in Ireland was optimistic about its future. It had survived a century of repression emerging relatively intact and as the century drew to a close full catholic emancipation was on the horizon. Through the following century the Catholic Church in Ireland enjoyed a meteoric… Read more »

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5 Controversial Dublin Monuments

5.The Time in the Slime (the river Liffey) In the late 1990’s as Ireland’s economy grew rapidly, the government (rather than build schools and hospitals) decided Dublin needed a clock in the river Liffey to count down hours to the millennium. Officially called “The Millennium Clock”, it was dubbed “The time in the slime”. It… Read more »

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Photo Essay: A brief history of Medieval Kilkenny in Pictures

Kilkenny more than any other  Irish city has a distinctively medieval feel about it. Its small streets wind around several medieval buildings whilst its skyline is still dominated by a 13th century castle and cathedral. Through some of these buildings we can reconstruct the major events of the city’s past from witch trials to the… Read more »

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A history of bah humbug. When Christmas was cancelled…..

A world without Christmas may seem inconceivable, however Christmas wasn’t always the festive public holiday it is today.  Its popularity has wax and waned over the centuries being celebrated to varying degrees in different places and periods. In England in the late medieval era it was first officially declared a public holiday by royal decree… Read more »

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Dublin in photos: the difference a century makes.

In 1961 the Evening Standard Newspaper celebrated its centential with a special supplement looking at Dublin over the previous hundred years (1861 – 1961). This supplment contained these fascinating early photos of Dublin before and after Independence in 1921. The change in Dublin’s streetscape is dramatic, illustrating what the city was like when it had… Read more »

The 1641 Depositions: your window into 17th Century Ireland…..

Last week the depositions collected in the aftermath of the 1641 rebellion were published online. The depositions, which are free to access, amount to what were witness statements of survivors, collected by government officials. These are an incredible insight into Ireland in the 17th century and  how people at the time perceived what was happening… Read more »

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Remains of a 17th Century child found in Dublin.

This find by archaeologist Franc Myles in May Lane Smithfield, Dublin deeply personalises the past, highlighting what must have been a tragedy in a now long forgotten family’s life. Following on from the find of other human remains on Friday on the same site, the remains of this child was excavated over the weekend. Speaking… Read more »