Archive for September, 2010

History in the small ads

13 September 2010

By Juliana Adelman
No one interested in cultural, or indeed economic, history will doubt the wealth of material that can be gleaned from advertisements.  Newspapers are of course the most abundant source of ads, but I have often found fantastic information about a book publisher’s catalogue or a book store’s stock from magazine covers and wrappings.  Recently a history book on the personal ad has made a bit of a splash (Classified: the secret history of the personal column by, I kid you not, H. G. Cocks).  American PhD student Pam Epstein has blogged some of the nineteenth-century ads that she is using for her research.

At the moment I am reading the Irish Sportsman in an effort to get my head around the market for various animals (especially horses) as well as attitudes to different animal sports.  I have found classified ads to be the most interesting and useful portion of the paper.  In fact, they comprise about 50% of the content.  I now know the average price of having your mare serviced by a stallion in 1880 (about £7 plus 5s for the groom and fees for feed), that pet otters were not uncommon and that dog owners were willing to pay £25 rewards for the return of lost or stolen pets.   Read More

‘The Liberties of Dublin, 800’

10 September 2010

Contributed by Grace O’Keeffe

In celebration of 800 years of development and change in the Liberties and Dublin, from the 1210 date of King John’s second visit to Ireland, and first as king, the St Nicholas of Myra Heritage Project are currently holding a photographic exhibition in their parish centre, Carmans Hall, just off Francis Street, Dublin 8.

The exhibition which runs daily until 17 September was researched and mounted with the assistance of the Liberties Heritage Association and Maintenance Projects, under the supervision of John Gallagher, Bernard Warfield and John Brogan. John Gallagher’s association with this celebration and exposition of the city is an apt one, three decades ago he refused the summons ordering him to exit the infamous Wood Quay excavation and he subsequently became one of the last to occupy the site.

Although ostensibly focused on the Liberties area (a term which originally referred to the various liberties, or ecclesiastical jurisdictions of local government in Dublin, including Thomas Court and Donore, later the earl of Meath’s liberty, and the liberties of the two medieval cathedrals, St Patrick’s and Christ Church), the exhibitors did not restrict their display to only the history of this area. Read more

Happy Birthday, Dublin Review!

9 September 2010

By Christina Morin

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of The Dublin Review, a self-described ‘quarterly magazine of essays, criticism, fiction and reportage’. Established in 2000 by Brendan Barrington, a New Yorker born to Irish parents, the magazine was intended to fill the gap Barrington perceived in the Irish literary marketplace when he first moved to Ireland in the 1990s. As reported in The Sunday Business Post in July 2002, Barrington said, ‘There was nothing that seemed to answer my idea of what a general Irish literary magazine should be, which is to say a combination of critical writing, creative writing and non-specialist, non-academic writing – magazines to which the same international writers contribute regularly’.

The magazine’s first issue appeared in 2001, with much assistance, financial and otherwise, from the Arts Council, and featured a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the Irish literary world; Terry Eagleton, Anne Enright, Medbh McGuckian, and Colm Tóibín all contributed. The second issue, appearing in Spring 2001, similarly boasted a strong line-up, with Terence Brown, Roy Foster, Seamus Heaney, Declan Kiberd, and Colm Tóibín, amongst others, supplying a fascinating collection of essays, poetry, and fiction. Subsequent issues have built on these auspicious beginnings, featuring pieces by prominent Irish writers, critics, and academics, as well as by newer, less-established voices in the Irish literary scene. Read more

The origins of the SDLP

8 September 2010

Contributed by Sarah Campbell

The 40th anniversary of the party that once spoke for the minority in Northern Ireland failed to inspire any editorials or features in the Irish national press in recent weeks.* A party in decline, it appears it has already been resigned to the scrapheap of history. Born exactly 40 years ago and sired by the 1968 generation of Northern Catholics who put rights before the republic, the SDLP’s conception can be traced to the early 1960s, when the idea of setting up a party like it began germinating in the Northern nationalist consciousness.

By 1964 there was an agreement in principle and a year later, the National Democratic Party was formed and was holding annual conferences. Shortly after, the civil rights movement (NICRA) revolutionised Northern Catholics and it was in civil rights issues that many of the founding members of the SDLP cut their teeth in politics. But was the SDLP, as it claimed, a party of civil rights?

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Pue’s recommendations for September

6 September 2010

Juliana Adelman So autumn is upon us, but the festivals are not over yet!  The Dublin Fringe Festival (11 to 26 September) has a huge and diverse programme and I managed to find a few items with a historical angle.  ‘World’s End Lane‘ at The Lab in Foley Street revives the Monto (Dublin’s extinct red-light district) and ‘From the Heart’ promises ‘whispers of histories’ in a Georgian mansion (13 North Great George’s St).  I just finished a great historical novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, which I am recommending to all and sundry.  I have nothing to say about it except that it is a wonderful book and if you like it you can busy yourself for the winter by reading Mitchell’s back list.  Finally, two electronic recommendations:  I just discovered the palaeography  online tutorial provided by the National Archives in the UK and it is fantastic: an example of a really well thought out and useful public web resource.  Have you seen the Book Depository ‘live’?  You can watch people buy books on a big map.  This is far more compelling than it sounds.

Lisa Marie Griffith Culture night 2010 takes place on Friday 24th of September. It has expanded even further and is taking place in 20 towns and cities across Ireland. To discover what is happening in your locality you can click here. I just picked up a copy of Amanda Vickery’s Behind Closed Doors: At home in Georgian England which has recently come out in a lovely paperback edition. It set me back just 13.20 euro in Hodges Figgis- bargain! If you are located in the capital then I would recommend checking out the Tales of Medeival Dublin: lunchtime lecture series which are being hosted by the Friends of Medieval Dublin and Dublin City Council at the Wood Quay venue of the Civic Offices. This month, Tuesday 21 September at 1.05, Aine Foley is talking about the ‘Outlaw’s Tale’. If you missed the previous lectures they are available at the Friends of Medeival Dublin site.

Tina Morin While everyone else was away at Electric Picnic this past weekend, I was looking forward to the Temple House Festival, running from 10-12 September in Ballymote, Co. Sligo. Significantly less expensive than other festivals of its ilk, the festival features The Sawdoctors, Damien Dempsey, and the Odd Socks Revival, among many others. Well worth a look, if not a visit! Something else well worth a visit this month (or, indeed, until it closes in the Spring 2011), is the National Library of Ireland’s exhibition, Power and Privilege: Photographs of the Big House in Ireland, 1858-1922. On in the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar, the exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives, activities, and sites of a culture on the brink and in the midst of incredible social upheaval.

Kevin O’Sullivan Sometimes when I sit down to write these pointers for the coming month, I’m bursting with ideas to fill this short space. This – thankfully for my still-on-holiday brain – just happens to be one of those days. If you click on nothing else on Pue’s today, you must view this amazing collection of thirty-four colour photographs of the people and places of the Russian Empire, taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) between 1909 and 1912. Simply incredible – have a look at number 31, a stunning photograph of a family of Nomadic Kirghiz on the Golodnaia Steppe. From there, and just for the fun of it, have a look at this website for the book, or, more accurately, bookshelf addict. Finally, on a week’s jaunt to the north-west of our island, I had the chance to visit the wonderful Glebe House in Co. Donegal, the beautifully preserved former home of the artist Derek Hill, filled with originals from Picasso, Renoir, Le Brocquy, Osborne and lots more, all left in situ when Hill handed the house over to the state in 1980. Next time you’re near Glenveagh National Park, drop in for the tour – hugely interesting, and made all the more so by a brilliant tour guide and nice price (€3 – thank you OPW).

Interview: Brendan Twomey, AIB

3 September 2010

A final interview from our annals.

Interview date: 15 January 2010

What book do you wish you had written?
There are so many possible choices – but deep down for me it would have to be a book on Dublin and particulary one focussing on Swift’s Dublin. Therefore my choice would be Dublin 1660-1860 by Maurice Craig first published in 1952. It was one of the first history books that I ever bought as a teenager.

What would you do if you were not a historian?

In my case, I am not a professional historian, having worked in banking for over 35 years. However, if I had not pursued the career in banking I would of course have wanted to be A HISTORIAN (when I grew up).
When was the last time you looked at Wikipedia?
This week to get some biographical information on eighteenth century Irish landscape painters who had painted the Salmon Leap Cascade in Leixlip which I am currently researching.

What event had the greatest impact on history in Ireland?
Battle of the Boyne – it set the scene for all that has followed.

What are you reading now?
Brean Hammond’s new (2010) critical appraisal of Jonathan Swift in the fine Irish Academic Press Irish writers in their time series. It is both an excellecnt summary of the current state of Swift scholarship as well as a clear statement of Hammond’s own views on the various controversies which still surround all things Swiftian over 260 years after his death.

The 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour

1 September 2010

By Juliana Adelman

In case you don’t already know, I am not Irish.  I am not even Irish-American; my only Irish relations are my in-laws.  As such, I was probably one of the few people on the 1916 walking tour who learned most of my Irish history from academic books instead of in school or at home.  Before the tour, I hadn’t quite realised how much my academic bias had tended to drain events and people of their colour.  For me, 1916 is one of many rebellions which, due to a variety of circumstances, snowballed into something that rebellions in say, 1798, 1803, or 1848 were unable to achieve.  For Lorcan Collins, my tour guide, 1916 is the birth of free Ireland.  Its leaders are heroes; its ideals lofty.  It is the culmination of historical Irish aspirations.  Over the two hour tour, I enjoyed Lorcan’s enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, all things 1916.  I got to revisit 1916 and bask in the glow of another nation’s pride in its difficult birth.

Lorcan has a lot of energy and a lot of information to impart in his allotted two hours.  Read more