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Dublin City Library & Archive

Favourite elephants at the Zoological Gardens Dublin

The Dublin Zoological Garden was established by the Dublin Zoological Society, under the patronage of the Lord Lieutenant, and opened to the public on 1st September 1831. The site was in the Phoenix Park, near the Vice Regal Lodge, the Lord Lieutenant’s residence, now Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland. It was situated to the north of the smaller of two lakes, it later expanded to the south of the lake, and in the 20th century it was extended to take in the area around the larger lake also. Read more »

New ‘Gateway’ to Archival Treasures Launched

Archivists at LaunchDublin City Archives is one of 30 prominent archival repositories who have contributed to  www.iar.ie  Ireland’s only archive web portal. The website was re-launched on Wed 16 September 2014 by Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to mark the expansion of the website and the provision of access to hundreds of unique archival collections.  

The IAR portal enables visitors to access a free database of archival collections from archival repositories all over Ireland, north and south, many of which contain archives of relevance to the period 1912 to 1922, commonly referred to as the Decade of Centenaries.  Read more »

1916: The Women Behind the Men

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Margaret SkinniderFor generations, the Easter Rising of 1916 was synonymous with the seven names: Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P. H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett. These were the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic: all men and all executed in the days after the Rising, which immortalised them as martyrs of the revolution. The sacrifice of these men was to perpetuate a certain mythology that overtook the actual events of the Easter Rising. The bravery, self-sacrifice and single-minded dedication to Irish independence of these men was, for a long time, all one needed to know about the Rising. Yet, as the centenary of the 1916 Rising approaches, interest has broadened to take in other historical perspectives of the Rising: Who were the other nine men who were executed for their role in the Rising, for example? Who were the rebels and soldiers killed in action during Easter week? What was the experience of those civilians who were killed (more than rebel and British soldiers combined)? And, most importantly for this study, what part was played by women in the Easter Rising and what can the families of those men who died as a result of 1916 tell us about the kind of people they actually were?

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Dublin Heritage: The life history of a city

DG10a GPO

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When the Vikings founded the city in the ninth century in the area of the “black pool” (Dubh Linn in Irish) where Dublin Castle is today, they started what would later become the capital of Ireland and the largest city in the country. Dublin is a key to understanding Ireland; the history of this city helps us to better understand the history of the whole of the country, its development, its cultural features, its social composition and the political peculiarities in Ireland.

While we are walking through the streets of the city and we see the historical buildings and places, we realise the cultural wealth that this city has to offer. Nothing remains visible from the period before the Viking settlement except what you can see in the collections, exhibitions or museums in the city (the most important being the National Museum in Kildare Street). But it was with the Vikings, as we said before, that the city began its development. They ruled the city until 1014, when they were defeated by the Irish King Brian Boru in the famous Battle of Clontarf, near Dublin. Although they had lost their political supremacy, they remained in the city some more years with commerce as their principal activity. Then Ireland was invaded by the Anglo-Normans and in 1171, Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, and Strongbow conquered Dublin and expelled the Vikings from the city. The following year Dublin received a City Charter from King Henry II; it was the beginning of the English rule of Ireland. Then Dublin Castle, built in 1204 by direct order of King John of England, became the centre of English power. Read more »

The Yeats Sisters and the Cuala Press

YC001 Dawn Song

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At the same time as the Celtic Revival during the late 19th - early 20th centuries, the Arts & Crafts Movement was making its way across Europe. This movement saw an international increase in the making and purchasing of handmade things and included ‘cottage industries’ such as stained glass, woodworks, ceramics, tapestries, and more. The Yeats family, in particular, was greatly involved in several aspects of both the Celtic Revival and the Arts & Crafts Movement. While W.B. was making his mark in the literary world and Jack was working as an artist and illustrator, the Yeats sisters, Lily and Elizabeth, were running their own businesses. Read more »

What's Cooking?

The popular culture of the 21st century is obsessed with food – one has only to take a look at the TV listings of any evening during the week to see the proof of this. Cooking has become something of a spectator sport, with teams and individuals battling for victory. We have seen grown men weep because their muffins have turned out badly and refined, elderly ladies swear violent revenge on their rivals in the kitchen.

A sophisticated afternoon tea as shown in "Monica's Kitchen."It is also a truism that Ireland’s relationship with good food and cooking as an art form is a relatively recent one. The days when potatoes and two veg were the staples of restaurant fare, an omelette was the sole “vegetarian” option and cream cheese on crackers considered the height of fine dining are not all that far away. But a closer look at the cookery section of the material held in the Special Collections of Dublin City Library and Archive throws up some surprises. While there are indeed many books containing recipes for boiled sheep’s head and boxty, it is obvious that even in the dark years of the Sixties and Seventies there were some cookery writers who were trying to introduce Irish cooks to a more international and adventurous cuisine. Read more »

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