More of a fortnightly round-up this time…

… and first up, Skibbereen Heritage Centre which now has a brilliant interactive map on its website with lots of information about different sites in and around the town. It includes individual buildings, streets, clubs, graveyards and even post boxes.

Lots of good content posted in connection to St Patrick’s Day including from the National Museum of Ireland on St Patrick’s Day traditions while the Dictionary of Irish Biography launched a new open access website, with nearly 11,000 lives. Over 2,300 of them reference Cork – we checked – but lots of other interesting lives as well! The image below is also from the National Museum, and is of the Bell of St Patrick and its shrine. You can find out more about these beautiful objects here.

To mark the end of the Six Nations, this post from Wartime NI on Irish rugby internationals in the Second World War. And also connected to the Second World War, the We Have Ways of Making You Talk podcast featured Joseph Quinn of UCD (although he also works at the Imperial War Museum in London) discussing the Irish in the Second World War with hosts comedian Al Murray and historian James Holland. Holland also co-founded the Chalke Valley History Festival which was very supportive to the West Cork History Festival when we first started.

And finally another history festival that’s worth a look, this one in early April in London in early April – but as it’s digital accessible to everyone. It’s called theHistFest and you can find out more about their 2021 programme here.



A few recommendations for historical reading and watching

This week’s recommendations range across Irish coins, the blog of the Military Service Pensions Collection, old photos of Cork, Harry Clarke’s stained glass and the Benin Bronzes.

We’re bit late to this, but we’ve just seen Mr Yeats & the Beastly Coins, an entertaining (and informative) short film made in 2016 about creating a new coinage for the Free State. Worth a watch – it’s available on the IFI Player.

The blog of the Military Services Pensions Collection always has interesting posts, including on the Clonmult ambush in east Cork on 20 February 1921. On that day the IRA suffered its worst defeat of the War of Independence. The photo below shows members of 4 Battalion, 1 Cork Brigade, IRA Flying Column the day before the ambush.

Dan Breen of Cork Public Museum gave an interesting presentation on some of the Museum’s recently acquired photograph collections, including some of the oldest known images of Cork City.

Another presentation, this time on Harry Clarke’s stained glass window The Eve of St Agnes, by Jessica O’ Donnell of the Hugh Lane Gallery. It was part of the Crawford’s Spring Lecture series.

Image result for harry clarke the eve of st agnes

And finally this article from the BBC website which links art dealers, the Holocaust and the Benin bronzes.

Our regular round up

This week we have some great pieces connected to International Women’s Day (8 March) and a Decade of Centenaries podcast focusing on events in Limerick 100 years ago.

Cork Public Museum featured the story of nurse and suffragette Violet O’Brien on social media, and appealed for a photograph of her. O’Brien trained as a nurse in Cork and moved to London where she became an active suffragette – she earned the medal shown below for going on hunger strike while in prison, with metal bars to show she endured force-feeding twice. The Museum also has medals she earned in Serbia and France for her work in the First World War. O’Brien was included in an exhibition at the Museum in 2018.

Relating to the experiences of suffragettes in Ireland, The National Archives published a useful guide to sources for women’s history on its website including an online exhibition about suffragettes and prison conditions in Ireland.

The Royal Irish Academy has some excellent online exhibitions highlighting the contribution of women, with this on Creative Women who include Sophia Rosamond Praeger and Katharine Tynan. There are also links to a lecture series from 2018 on five women selected as Honorary Members of the Academy in the nineteenth century – amongst them Caroline Herschel and Maria Edgeworth.

History Ireland marked 100 years since the Limerick Curfew murders with a Hedge School featuring editor Tommy Graham in conversation with Brian Hanley, Helen Litton, John O’Callaghan and Tom Toomey.  On the night of 6/7 March 1921, George Clancy, Mayor of Limerick, his predecessor, Michael O’Callaghan and IRA volunteer Joseph O’Donoghue were killed by Auxiliaries.

Finally, the always interesting blog on the Ports, Past and Present website recently included this one on The Dublin Time Ball…..  we never knew about Dublin Mean Time, 25 minutes and 21 seconds later than Greenwich Mean Time.





Our regular update of stuff to read, to watch and to listen to

This week we have cricket bats, Second World War letters recovered from the sea bed, a virtual tour of Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery and West Cork gates but, very unusually, nothing relating to the Decade of Centenaries.

Starting off this week with a blog – not a new one but one we’d like to recommend, and with the best title: The Cricket Bat that Died for Ireland. It’s written by Brenda Malone at the National Museum of Ireland and features objects from that Museum. Here’s Brenda’s first ever post – on the cricket bat in question.

Saturday’s Financial Times featured an article on Anglo-Irish houses – much of it probably new for English audiences but not for Irish ones – however, it did include some wonderful images and recommendations for reading. Closer to home, and much more down-to-earth, our friends at the Roaringwater Journal blogged this week on gate posts in West Cork.

The Crawford Art Gallery has added a virtual tour to its website – not quite as good as the real thing, but enough until the Gallery can open again.

And finally, a really compelling story that we re-Tweeted this week but is worth coming back to – the sinking of the SS Gairsoppa off the coast of Galway in 1942. Letters recovered from the wreck in 2012 have been restored – the Guardian featured them this week and London’s Postal Museum  had previously done an online exhibition on the letters. The most tragic part of the story is the fate of the crew, of whom only one survived. One lifeboat was launched with seven crew on board. By the time the lifeboat reached the coast of Cornwall a month later only three were alive, but two drowned trying to swim to shore. The photo below shows fragments of one of the letters featured in the Guardian article, to a woman named Iris from an unknown serviceman stationed in the Waziristan region, now part of Pakistan.