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25 October: our weekly historical miscellany

Lots of really interesting things to read and watch this week….

A major Cork-related Decade of Centenaries anniversary falls today – 100 years since the death in Brixton Prison, on hunger strike, of Cork Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney. There have been lots of articles on the subject in the last few days, but two of the most interesting looked at the impact on MacSwiney’s family. Firstly Ronan McGreevy in the Irish Times on MacSwiney’s widow Muriel and daughter Máire and on RTE History, a profile of his sister, Mary. Depicted below in an image from the National Library of Ireland, Mary MacSwiney was a prominent suffragist, republican and one of the country’s first female TDs.

Also in Cork, but back to the early 17th century, our friends at the Roaringwater Journal blog have this piece on the depiction of West Cork’s Roaringwater Bay in a (secret) 1612 map.

An intriguing post on the often excellent Writing the ‘Troubles’ blog called Researching the Troubles through the Study of Architectural Heritage Destruction by Andrew G. McClelland.

Also related to Northern Ireland, a huge archive of BBC Northern Ireland footage is now available on the BBC website – so many interesting films to watch.

Finally, Liverpool University Press have just published a really interesting-looking collection of essays entitled Southern Irish Loyalism, 1912-1949 which is co-edited by Festival contributor Brian Hughes. You can hear his talk at our 2018 Festival – entitled ‘Gossip, rumour, and propaganda: depictions and perceptions of Irish revolutionary violence’ by clicking here.

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18 October: WCHF’s (mostly) regular round-up

The play Embargo by Deirdre Kinahan had its premiere last week as part of the Dublin Festival of Theatre. Inspired by the embargo placed on the transport of British troops and weapons by Irish workers during the War of Independence, it was appropriately enough sponsored by Dublin Port Authority and Iarnrod Eireann. Well worth a watch and available on YouTube until 25 October:

Also relating to the War of Independence – some astonishing and shocking footage was shared widely on social media this week, courtesy of the IFI. Taken exactly 100 years ago, it shows the aftermath of the shooting of Sean Treacy, leader of the IRA’s Third Tipperary Brigade and British military intelligence officer Arthur Gilbert Price, killed on Dublin’s Talbot Street after a gun battle on 14 October 1920.

Terror in Ireland

The Sligo Champion featured a fascinating article this week by academic Sinead McCoole, who is trying to trace the identity of a young nationalist woman from Sligo who appears in an April 1920 newsreel taken outside Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison. Through careful archival research, McCoole thinks she has identified the woman in question as a Miss Elizabeth Jane Crotty……  and her father was in the RIC. She is appealing for further information.

Finally, the Irish Story reviewed a very interesting sounding new book by Eimaer O’Connor called Art, Ireland & the Irish Disapora: Chicago, Dublin, New York 1893-1939 (published by Irish Academic Press). Its cover is depicted below. One for the reading list.

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9 October: History Festival selection

So, our weekly round-up has become more of a fortnightly one – but hey, that just means more good material to watch, listen to and read.

We were shocked to see images of the fire at the former Convent of Mercy in Skibbereen – the roof was destroyed and much else besides. The Skibbereen Heritage Centre has an excellent article by Philip O’Regan on its website telling the history of the Convent up until the fire last week.

The website Atlas Obscura recently featured Festival-contributor Connie Kelleher in a fascinating article on an always intriguing theme – West Cork and pirates. Connie has just published a book on the subject (the cover is shown below) which we can highly recommend.

From piratical adventures to delayed ferries …..  the Ports Past & Present blog featured another Festival contributor, Claire Connolly of UCC, writing about Jonathan Swift‘s unhappy stay in Holyhead in 1727 which inspired him to write: “Lo here I sit at Holy Head, With muddy ale and mouldy bread

An attention-grabbing title for this article on RTE Brainstorm – What has the British army ever done for us ? written by Jim Deery. Discuss.…. 

Another subject intimately connected with the Irish experience of empire was discussed on RTE Drivetime at the end of September – the repatriation of colonial-era artefacts from museums in Britain and Ireland. Hear it here.

Ireland, Empire and the Sea was the subject of the History Ireland Hedge School recorded especially for our 2020 Digital Festival. It has now had over 600 listens. Hear it, and many more Hedge Schools, via the History Ireland website.

Ambassador Dan Mulhall, who has spoken at two of our festivals, wrote this blog on the DFA website about the visit of Frederick Douglass to Ireland in 1845-6. Douglass was a notable campaigner against slavery and had himself been born into slavery.

Finally PRONI (the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland) hosts all sorts of interesting talks on its YouTube channel on many serious historical and archival topics, and some less serious. ‘Samson and Banana: Circus Stories of Belfast and Ireland‘ was one that caught our eye!