Black Death Biography #1. John Clyn

Finding a place to start any book is difficult. It’s like looking for that one thread to unravel a knot. Luckily, when it comes to the Black Death, there is an obvious thread for me to begin with – a man called John Clyn, who grew up only a few kilometres from my hometown, Castlecomer.… Read more »

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Accounts of the plague – Voices from a Medieval Apocalypse.

In the summer of 1348 the medieval world was changed forever by a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. Never before or since has humanity experienced anything like the events that unfolded as the Black Death swept through Northern Europe. Within a year, between 30 and 50% of the population had died. As the plague advanced across… Read more »

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Ballymoon Castle – This didn’t end well….

Of the hundreds of ruinous castles across Ireland, Ballymoon is among the most unusual and mysterious. Situated in the upper Barrow Valley outside Bagnelstown, Ballymoon was never completed but abandoned at midpoint in construction. What happened is unknown but given it was started during a chaotic period in Irish history the scraps of evidence we… Read more »

Friends in high places – Dublin’s medieval oligarchs

I spent several hours in the national archives today waiting for a lost file to be found. The tantilisingly named file that I felt was worth the wait, proved to be just that – tantilisingly named, it’s contents were remarkably boring. However with time to kill waiting for the file to be found I whiled… Read more »

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Dark truths and open secrets – who knew what about Ireland’s child abuse scandals?

Over the last few weeks Ireland has been rocked by yet another child abuse scandal. Newspaper headlines around the world have reported in disbelief details of how society in Ireland treated unmarried mothers and their children in so called “Mother and Child homes”. Child mortality rates reached over 50% in some of these institutions. While… Read more »

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Knives and ball games in a ‘Land of War’ – Is this the origins of Irish soccer?

While football has a long history, it has changed a lot over the centuries. In the medieval period as supporters waited for flares to be invented they had a more hands on approach to the sport, resulting in a slightly less than a beautiful game. In what may be the earliest reference to a game… Read more »

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Cordes-sur-Ciel – A medieval town in pictures.

When I visited Cordes-sur-Ciel last January I was blown away by this incredible medieval French town. On first appearance it seems nothing has changed in the last seven centuries. Despite the fact people continue to live within its walls, Cordes-sur-Ciel is probably the closest thing you will get to a medieval town in the 21st century.… Read more »

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We must stop claiming that ‘we never knew’ about child abuse.

I wrote this piece for originally about two years ago, but given the current revelations about ‘mother and child’ homes I think it has some relevance. As Ireland tries to deal with this scandal, an important aspect of this will be acknowledging many were aware the abuse was on-going and would not or could… Read more »

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Dublin Walking Tour.

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#ff6600″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#ff6600″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#ff6600″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” title=”Meet your medieval ancestors “] Much has changed in Dublin over the past 700 years. Long gone are the dark narrow, winding medieval lanes and alleys. The wide modern city streets are clean while the… Read more »

The Boston College Controversy in Pictures.

In the last two weeks the history of 1972 has been brought back centre stage when the prominent Irish politician and leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams was arrested in relation to the murder of Jean McConville. This has had huge implications for history, as much of the case against Adams appears to have originated… Read more »

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The IRA, the Boston College Tapes and who tells the past?

1972 was one of the darkest yet defining years in modern Irish history. Nearly five hundred people were killed in the conflict known as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Events of that year like Bloody Sunday, Bloody Friday and Operation Motorman would shape Ireland for decades to come. In many ways one death has been… Read more »

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