Historical Stuff


Essay: Killiney Bay : 1793 -1815
I lived in Ballybrack/Killiney in the midst of batteries and martello towers for 20 years. I finally got around to exploring their significance in the early 1970s. The area proved very important in the context of the authorities' responses both to the 1798 rebellion and any possible invasion of the capital by Napoleon.

Essay: Ballybrack in the 19th century
This follows on from the previous essay and looks at the development of Ballybrack as a residential suburb, particularly following the arrival of the railway.

Slideshow: Nelson's Pillar 1960s
Nelson was toppled from his perch on 8 March 1966 in the run up to the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1916 rising. I followed the subsequent deconstruction of his perch on a daily basis until its complete obliteration.

Slideshow: Round Ireland 1960s
This is essentially a slideshow put together in the early to mid 1960s to give foreigners (an admittedly Dublin based) taste of Ireland. It includes Dublin, Corca Dhuibhne and Sligo/Donegal. A far cry from the Ireland of today.

Broadcasts
I took part in some of the programmes in Micheál Holmes's series for Radio na Gaeltachta "Sloinne agus Seoladh" dealing with family and local history.

Niall's Tower
For only the second time in over 200 years, No.7 Martello Tower, in Killiney, Co. Dublin, Ireland, was inaugurated on Saturday, 12th July 2008. This was (almost) the culmination of a project aimed at restoring the Tower to its original state, and, some would say, use.

Niall O'Donoghue has undertaken the restoration at great expense, both financially and in terms of effort, and the result is stunning. Check it out.

Old Shieling Hotel demolished for Apartments
The main claim to fame of the Old Shieling Hotel in Raheny, Dublin 5, seems to have been that Lord Edward FitzGerald slept there. The republican tradition had reached the stage of bucket collections, in Bill Fuller's day in the 1970s. The Hotel, and its extensions, are now no more and have made way for apartments. I have documented the sequence.

Ils boivent du thé.
French President de Gaulle vetoed UK membership of the EC in 1967. I filmed his press conference from the television in the College of Europe, in Bruges, Belgium. The quality of the clip, including the absence of sound, reflects the available technology of the time. Anyway, here is is, filmed live, as they say.

Economic Oracle
Irish Times article from 1968 by Michael Viney, then the paper's economic development correspondent. It illustrates the undeserved prominence given to, and the unrealistic expectations of, econometrics at the time.

Censorship
This is pretty mindblowing stuff about the censorship régime in Ireland when I was growing up.

Rome Rule
Perhaps the rantings of our Northern Brethern were not so far fetched?

Head in the Sand
This is my alltime scoop. The guys, and I don't recollect seeing any gals, who stole Nelson's head for a fashion shoot on Killiney beach.

Paddy Hillery's Funeral
Happened on Paddy Hillery's funeral on my way through town.
I also did a short piece on my blag Gaeilge.

Millmount Tower
This was my second Tower inauguration this year. The 200th anniversary of the Tower at Millmount in Drogheda was commemorated by the inauguration of the two new 9 pounder cannons on 13 December 2008.

La Chaussée's Survey & Map, 1797
Coming across La Chaussée's 1797 survey of Killiney Bay in 1972, and waiting for more than thirty years for its accompanying map to be found, is another story.

Killiney Hill on Fire 1911
A careless local authority gives King George V a mighty send-off.

Killiney Waterspout 1836-40
Double syphon waterspout in the bay, fell on Three Rock Mountain three days later.

Letter from Santa 1950
How the Danes gave Santa a job for Christmas. Superb marketing as far back as 1950.

NLI&I
How the National Library of Ireland proved to be a wonderful resource for over four decades.

Talk: Ballybrack 1500-1900
Dr. Máire Kennedy very kindly invited me to give a talk on Ballybrack for the local history day in the Dublin City Library and Archive in September 2008. This involved upgrading a slide show and display panels to Powerpoint and seriously compressing the presentation into 45 minutes. I have put up a backup page on this site from which much of the material that underpinned the presentation, and the presentation itself, can be accessed. I didn't actually have a textual script which was just as well as the presentation was being radically pruned right up to the night before.

Talk: The Medlar's Gotcha
Dr. Máire Kennedy very kindly agreed to my giving a talk on P J Medlar, City Councillor and Undertaker, at the family history day in the Dublin City Library and Archive on 27 March 2009. I have put up a backup page on this site from which much of the material that underpinned the presentation, and the presentation itself, can be accessed. I didn't actually have a full text script which was just as well as the presentation was being radically pruned right up to the night before.

Talk: The Shoemaker's Daughters
Dr. Máire Kennedy very kindly agreed to my giving yet another talk, this time on Christopher Burgess and his family, at the family history day in the Dublin City Library and Archive on 24 March 2012. I have put up a backup page on this site from which much of the material that underpinned the presentation, and the presentation itself, can be accessed. I didn't actually have a full text script which was just as well as the presentation was being radically pruned right up to the night before. I have put up a copy of my "running order" which I used as a script on the day.

Talk: The Corsican Defence
Dr. Máire Kennedy yet again very kindly agreed to my giving another talk, this time on the restoration of Martello Tower No.7 (South - Killiney Bay), at the Maritime Seminar in the Dublin City Library and Archive on 25 August 2012. I have put up a backup page on this site from which much of the material that underpinned the presentation, and the presentation itself, can be accessed. I didn't actually have a full text script but I have put up a copy of my "running order" which I used as a script on the day.

Talk: A Policeman's Lot
Dr. Máire Kennedy yet again very kindly agreed to my giving another talk, this time on my father's side of the family which originated in Cappanahanagh, in East Limerick, at the Local History Day on 23 March 2013. I have put up a backup page on this site from which much of the material that underpinned the presentation, and the presentation itself, can be accessed. I didn't actually have a full text script but I have put up a copy of my "running order" which I used as a script on the day.

Talk: Gordon Brewster & his Cartoons
I have now given this talk on Gordon Brewster and his cartoons three times.

The first was in the National Libarary of Ireland, in November 2014, when I was thrilled that Gordon's only then surviving child, all of his grandchildren with some of their spouses, and one of his great-grandchildren came over from Bristol for the talk.

The next was at the Howth Peninsula Heritage Society, in January 2016, and you can read an account of that here.

And finally, in November 2016, in the Dublin City Library and Archive, in Pearse St. On that occasion I was thrilled to have some twenty odd Brewsters come over from England for the talk. These included, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandhildren of Gordon, along with spouses and partners. There's a background page, including a rerun of the talk, here.

Talk: Vive la Corse!
In a piece of mild affrontery, I decided, in the year of Waterloo (200th anniversary of the French defeat) to approach the Alliance Française in Dublin, and offer them a version of "The Corsican Defence" (above) which would be in French and which would expand further those references which were of particular relevance to France from the earlier talk. This was accepted, the "Café Historique" format was eventually decided on, and the date of 8 October 2015 finally fixed. I was very pleased that the talk seemed to have gone well as this was the first time for me to use a word of French in public despite my coming into contact with the language many times over a long career. I have put up a backup page on this site from which much of the material that underpinned the presentation, and the presentation itself, can be accessed. I didn't actually have a full text script but I have put up a copy of my "running order" which I used as a script on the day.

New Book on Nelson's Pillar
Donal Fallon wrote a new book on Nelson's Pillar and this is a page of related links.




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