I’ll be back in Cork today, enjoying the Digital Cultures Workshop at UCC and reminiscing about old times. I found this picture of Cork’s Patrick Street on Wikimedia Commons, which has it dated at 1890. Although there’s now a McDonald’s where the Woodford Bourne sign is on the left, it’s amazing how similar the late-nineteenth century and contemporary Patrick Streets are!
In Murder at Shandy Hall Michael Sheridan (journalist and author of Death in December and Frozen Blood: Serial Killers in Ireland) pieces together a murder which took place in 1887 of a wife, Mary Laura Cross, and the subsequent trial of her arsenic poisoner husband Dr Philip Cross. The nineteenth century was a golden time for poisoners. Arsenic, which has no smell or taste is incredibly difficult to detect in food and drink, was the poison of choice. I am a big fan of Kate Summerscale’s historic crime investigation The Suspicions of Mr Whicherso I jumped at the chance to review this and learn a bit more about Irish criminal cases in the nineteenth century.
A quick summary of the case is this: In the early morning of 2nd of June 1887 Mary Laura Cross died after several months of illness. Read more
I visited Cork recently and it certainly lives up to its reputation for food and culture. While sampling the fares (i had to be rolled back to Dublin) I began to wonder why the Cork food market located off the main street is called ‘The English Market’? I asked many locals, staff working in the hotel where I stayed, some of the restaurants I visited and even some of those working in the stalls at the market to no avail. No one was able to tell me so when I returned home I did a little research. There has been a food market on the site since 1788 which means the English market predates Barcelona’s market ‘Boqueria’ by 80 years, surely making it one of the oldest covered food markets in Ireland if not Europe. London can claim an older out-door market than Cork in Borough Market. There has been a food market on that site continuously for 250 years although as their site points out there was a Roman Food Market around the area too. Paris can do one better for covered markets, however, and Marche des Enfants-Rouge dates to 1688.
But to get back to my point, where does the name come from? Read more
Do you consider your PhD to be a job or a vocation?
What a question. My PhD was certainly not job in the conventional sense but it was hard work to motivate oneself. Passion and the burning desire to answer the questions and goals I set myself kept me going.
In 20 words or less tell us why you decided to do a PhD? To answer the seemingly unanswerable!
Gerry’s Diary: What a slog! Working full time and researching has been intense to say the least. My thesis has definitely been a labour of love that was born out of a small kernel of interest in the workings of landlord and tenant. Now, I’m attempting the impossible- justifying landlords actions!
Getting into the libraries and archives is my escape. I love to get my head buried in books and records for hours on end, often ignoring the protestations of my hunger pangs. Read more
Tonight is Culture Night 2009 and this year even more cities and towns than ever will take part in the event. Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Letterkenny, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Tralee, Waterford and Wexford so I have taken a quick look at whats going on around the country to make some recommendations on what to see. Belfast is participating in Culture night for the first year and most of the events will take place in the Cathedral quarter which ‘will be totally transformed for the evening as public areas and streets are turned into performance spaces. Read more
I happened to catch RTE radio 1′s ‘Farm Week’ this morning as I was up at the usual toddler waking time on Saturday. For those of you lucky enough to be in bed or simply not tuned in, it’s definitely worth downloading as a podcast. Donna O’Sullivan interviewed men and women from a few Cork families who all ended up in a remote part of Oregon as cattle and sheep herders during the 1950s. The interviewees recalled the glory of the scenery, the freedom of sleeping under the stars and, of course, being saddle sore. It was fascinating and sounded more like a story from the nineteenth century than only fifty years ago. Truly the Wild West: one of the interviewees revealed that she got a chance at a job only because two local men got into a fight at a dance, and one of them was taken out to the desert and never seen again. A pretty amazing emigration story and well worth a listen.
Picture credit: Cowboy herding cattle along Oregon State Highway 31, west of Silver Lake, Oregon. December 18, 2004.
This is a quick one for those of you who are in and about the capital over the next month or so: ‘If ever you go to Dublin town’ is the latest exhibition at the National Photographic Archive at Meeting House Square in Temple Bar. The exhibition is a collection of the Limerick born Elinor Wiltchire’s photographs of Dublin, Cork and Galway from 1951 to 1969. While the archive website is disapointing and does not give much details of their exhibtions you will have to take my word that this is one to visit. This is a winderful mixture of streetscape and portraits that show a city evolving. My personal favourites were a 1969 imager of a couple browsing through books at a shop in Merchant’s Arch, Temple Bar, complete with the long-since demolished Commercial Buildings in the background (I have always wondered what these building looked like) and the images of the Cork and Galway Traveller community. This is just a selection of Wiltshire’s photographs that the National Library of Ireland owns and the exhibition leaves you thirsty for more. Unfortunately when I was in yesterday they did not have the capitions up yet. As today is the official opening this should be rectified by now. Enjoy!
‘Two men from Macroom died and went up to heaven and met Peter and they said to Peter, “Who’s in charge here? Because we’ll be agin’ him.”‘
Because it’s too long to wait until our July recommendations and because it’s still fresh in my ears from the commute, I have to point you in the direction of the Peter Woods-produced ‘How Macroom Remembers’, part of RTÉ Radio 1′s ‘Documentary on One’ series. Woods’s piece tells a fascinating tale of how a Cork town has dealt with, assimilated and adapted its memory of the Kilmichael ambush and everything that has passed under its bridges since. When you hear radio like this, it’s a reminder that the written word sometimes just isn’t enough in expressing and exploring the subtleties and, more importantly, the human voice, of our history. In these days of media exaggeration, it’s all too easy to bandy about the superlatives ‘moving’ and ‘evocative’, but the subtle way this documentary is put together – juxtaposing the crisis about Irish pork, current when the show was recorded in 2008, with the still extant bitterness of the Civil War and reveling in the human simplicity of conversation, including at one stage being interrupted with the words ’Sorry to interrupt now. Would ye adjourn for a cup of tea?’ – makes it a joy to the ears.
Hat tip by the way to the excellent Speechification site for pointing me in the direction of ‘How Macroom Remembers’. Listen to the documentary below and to find other episodes in the series, check the iTunes store (search for ‘documentary on one’) or the programme’s RSS feed.