December 2021

December 2021 News and updates on the programme of commemorations relating to the events in Irish history that took place between 1912 and 1923.  

As thoughts turn to Christmas and buying presents for the historian in your life (yourself or a loved one), please remember to support the many Irish publishers and Irish bookshops that publish and stock history publications.  

If you would like to inform us of any suitable material for future newsletters – anything related to the Decade of Centenaries – please feel free to email [email protected].  
 1. Lectures and Events (some require registration)  
When will it ever end?1921 a Year in Review by Liz Gillis  As 1921 dawned, many in Ireland wondered would the War of Independence ever end. Ambushes, assassinations and executions continued unabated until 11 July. A Truce was declared, the war was over. South Dublin County Council Historian in Residence Liz Gillis will discuss the events of 1921, nationally and locally. It was a year of two halves – one dominated by war, the other by the hope of peace. 
Link to each library for future talks *hereREGISTRATION for TODAY 30th Nov 

The Centenary of the Anglo-Irish Treaty Debates  Royal Irish Academy event – online, registration required.  Thursday, 2nd December 9.15am – 1.15pm 9.15-9.30
Introduction and Welcome Mary Canning, PRIASeán Ó Fearghaíl, Ceann Comhairle 9.30-10.30
Panel 1: Before the Treaty Chair: Marie Coleman, QUB Mary MacDiarmada, DCU Michael Laffan, UCD Alvin Jackson Hon. MRIA, University of Edinburgh 10.30-10.55
Coffee break 10.55-11.55

Panel 2: The Treaty Debates Chair: Áine Lawlor, RTÉ Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Sheffield University Liam Weeks UCC Bill Kissane, LSE 11.55-12.00
Break 12.00-1.00

Panel 3: The Aftermath and Heritage of the Treaty Chair: David McCullagh, RTÉ Anne Dolan, TCD Ian McBride, Hertford College, Oxford Ciara Meehan, University of Hertfordshire 
1.00-1.15 Closing

Midnight in London – the Anglo Irish Treaty Crisis  Professor Colum Kenny will discuss the Anglo Irish Treaty in his lecture Midnight in London – the Anglo Irish Treaty Crisis. December 2nd at 7.30pm hosted by the Jackie Clarke Collection in Ballina Co. Mayo. It will be done via Zoom. Please email [email protected] for the Zoom link.   

Mondays at the Mess: The Anglo-Irish Treaty with Donal Fallon (Online)  Monday 6th December at 7pm Less than six years after the Easter Rising, men who had once been detained as prisoners in Richmond Barracks were now debating Irish sovereignty in London. What was contained within the Anglo-Irish Treaty and what wasn’t? Was the Treaty alone the catalyst for Civil War? Where did the Irish public stand on it? In this online talk, Historian Donal Fallon will explore the document that ended one war and began another. DETAILS & REGISTRATION HERE 

History Roadshow 2021  DETAILS HERE 

Women of Independence 
Women of Independence Two screenings:  Online screening to watch at home on Friday 3rd Dec @ 8pm Live Screening on Sunday 5th Dec @ 8pm  Women of Independence is a filmed theatrical performance that presents the real-life experiences of four Irish women during the War of Independence through a cast of community actors. Produced by An Táin Arts Centre in association with Upstate Theatre Project Women of Independence is Part II of the Remembrance Trilogy and the follow up to An Easter Service (2016). This performance, from an entirely female perspective, uses the real-life testimonies of Louth Women, Deirdre Spillane, Máire Fitzpatrick, Mary Kate Harte and Marie Lea-Wilson, to explore the female experiences of the War of Independence. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Decade of Centenaries, Department of Culture, Creative Ireland and Create Louth, ‘Women of Independence’ will screen for one night only. Tickets €10 (plus €1.50 booking fee per ticket) 
BOOK HERE FOR SUNDAY                 

 2. Exhibitions/Projects 
Cork City and County witnessed some of the bloodiest and fiercest fighting during the War of Independence. Many of the military engagements in Cork had a significant impact on both the nature and outcome of the conflict. Cork Public Museum is delighted to announce the opening of our new exhibition on the war, entitled ‘BY EVERY MEANS AT OUR COMMAND’, from November 19th, 2021. The war in Cork saw the involvement of many groups and organisations on both sides including Na Fianna Eireann, Cumann na mBan, the Cork Brigades of the IRA, the RIC, the British Army as well as the infamous Auxiliaries and the Black and Tans. Using original artefacts, images, and documentation, (many of which have never been on display before), the exhibition will illustrate the roles played by the Republican and Crown forces while exploring their strategies, tactics, equipment and experiences. The exhibition will contain uniforms, weapons, and other personal objects to illustrate the realities of living, and fighting, through this war. The aim of the exhibition is to give a broad and informative overview of how the war progressed in Cork from January 1919 until the truce on 11th July 1921. The war started slowly in Cork with little direct engagement during the first year, but the action and violence ramped up considerably throughout 1920 and into 1921. This was bitter war that brought fear, terror and reprisals onto the urban streets and rural roadways. The exhibition brings to life the stories of some individual men and women who took part to the fight in Cork, as well as the events that made the county an arena in which ruthlessness, ingenuity, violence, and bravery combined to devastating effect. The exhibition was jointly funded by Cork City Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport as part of the 2021 Decade of Commemorations programme. DETAILS HERE
 Studio and State  The Laverys and the Anglo-Irish Treaty  Studio & State: The Laverys and the Anglo-Irish Treatyis a co-curated exhibition by Hugh Lane Gallery and the National Museum of Ireland.It marks the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921. Studio & State is located at:
National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks.  DETAILS HERE                                                        

Mná 100 Profiling Wicklow Women
Averil Deverell and Kate Tyrrell
1921 This article was produced by Mna100, in partnership with Wicklow County Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme and focuses on the lives of two women from County Wicklow in the year, 1921 – Averil Katherine Statter Deverell (1893-1979) and Catherine (Kate) Tyrrell Fitzpatrick (1862-1921). Art by Lauren O’Neill READ HERE 

The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives Presented by the National Archives in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy, the National Library of Ireland and the Office of Public Works, with records from the collections of the Military Archives, Dublin and University College Dublin Archives. In the Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle. Exhibition launch: 6 December 2021 Exhibition dates: 7 December – 27 March 2022 Opening hours: 10am – 5pm, daily Admission free.    

Tadhg Barry Rebel & Revolutionary                          
Tadhg Barry ExhibitionLocation: Cork City and County Archives, Seamus Murphy Building 32 Great William O’Brien Street  Times: Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.  Booking recommended, as numbers are restricted owing to Covid precautions.  DETAILS HERE                                         

 3. Podcasts  Ireland and the ‘Greater War’ in Europe—compare and contrast  While there were optimistic hopes that the First World War or ‘Great War’ would be ‘the war to end all wars’, post-1918 Europe, including Ireland, instead experienced a ‘Greater War’—a series of civil, border and ethnic conflicts—that lasted at least until 1923. How did Ireland fit into that paradigm?
Was it typical or atypical of the period? Join History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, in discussion with Niamh Gallagher, Robert Gerwarth, John Horne, and Bill Kissane.
This Hedge School is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative. AVAILABLE HERE
Audio Recordings of Poems by Thomas Behan 
  “Tom Behan who rendered outstanding services in the fight for freedom, and who was a brave and intensely local Soldier of Ireland, was shot dead on the Curragh in 1922, and his death, still mourned as that of a man who loved his country above all things, evoked universal sorrow and regret.”The Rambler, Rathangan Past and Present,Kildare Observer, 30 December 1933 The Co Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee in partnership with the Co Kildare Federation of Local History Groups is delighted to release the audio recordings of a selection of the poems of Thomas Behan.  These recordings were made in Newbridge, Co Kildare on 11 September 2021. You can listen to them on the Kildare Decade of Commemorations YouTube, see link below.  The recordings include an introduction by Brian McCabe, Co. Kildare Federation of Local History Groups, and Mario Corrigan, Co Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee. Tom Behan was born and bred in Rathangan, Co Kildare. As a prominent member of the local Volunteers, he was arrested in the wake of the Easter Rising in 1916, and was interned in Wakefield Jail, England. He fought during the War of Independence and was interned again just as the country found peace. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the anti-Treaty forces, and was captured and killed on the 13 December 1922.This is an accompanying project to the re-publication of Poems by Thomas Behan, compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan and James Durney, and produced as part of the Co Kildare Decade of Commemorations programme 2021. The booklet contains a facsimile of an original copy of the poems published in 1923, which is held in the Kildare Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives collections.  Also included are a foreword by Brian McCabe, Chair of the Co Kildare Federation of Local History Groups, an article about the Rathbride Column, and a detailed account of Thomas Behan’s life and family, as well as a selection of photographs. Copies of the booklet are available free in Co Kildare’s branch libraries.AVAILABLE HERE              

Michael Collins House Podcast   Two seasons of podcasts covering a wide variety of War of Independence topics. 
Season 1, Episode 1 Dr Anne Dolan from Trinity College Dublin. Dr Dolan discusses the ever changing perception of Michael Collins in pop culture, a topic from her recently book Michael Collins: The Man and the Revolution, co-authored with Dr William Murphy. ALL EPISODES HERE         
5. Publications  Machnamh 100 – Centenary Reflections, Volume 1  President Higgins launches book of centenary reflections free of charge to the public. Copies of ‘Machnamh 100 – Centenary Reflections, Volume 1’ eBook available free of charge at with copies also to be available to post primary teachers and students via Scoilnet
Limited number of physical copies will be available to be accessed in public libraries and in universities. Contributors include President Higgins, Professor John Horne, Dr Margaret O’Callaghan and a number of Ireland’s leading academics. The book brings together the speeches and discussions, chaired by Dr John Bowman, at the first three of the President’s series of six Machnamh 100 seminars looking at the events of a century ago. President Higgins said: “The Irish people have shown a great interest in considering and reflecting on the seminal events of 100 years ago. In my conversations with a great many of our citizens over the last ten years, I have seen the desire which we have as a people to look again at those formative events, to challenge our preconceptions, and in particular to listen to those voices which have not always been heard or have been underrepresented in our traditional readings of the period. That is why I invited scholars from different backgrounds and with an array of perspectives to share their insights and reflections on the context and events of those seismic events of a century ago, as well as on the nature of commemoration itself. I am delighted to now be able to provide in full the very valuable contributions which those scholars have made to all those who are interested in reading them through the publication of ‘Machnamh 100 – Centenary Reflections, Volume 1’. May I invite the public to read them and it is my hope that it will help all of us to explore more fully the various aspects of that seminal period in Ireland’s journey, and its legacy for the societies and jurisdictions that were to emerge subsequently.” 
Dr Bowman said: “I found especially ambitious – and promising – President Higgins’ choice of title for the series: Machnamh. This Irish word encompasses consideration, meditation, reflection and thought. What better attributes could be brought to an understanding of the more controversial events which mark the Decade of Centenaries? I hope that in reading this collection, the public will be provoked to engage in their own process of Machnamh around these formative events.” These initial three seminars focused on the War of Independence. The first seminar, held in December 2020, was entitled ‘Challenges of Public Commemorations’ and examined the nature and concept of commemoration itself in the context of today and of the national and global events of a century ago. Speakers included the President, Professor Ciarán Benson (University College Dublin), Dr Anne Dolan (Trinity College Dublin), Professor Michael Laffan (University College Dublin) and Professor Joep Leerssen (University of Amsterdam). The second seminar, held in February 2021, was on the topic of ‘Empire: Instincts, Interests, Power and Resistance’ and focused on imperial attitudes and responses to circumstances in Ireland, the forms and practices of resistance to Empire in Ireland, as well as resistance to nationalism in its different forms and expressions. The main address was given by Professor John Horne (Trinity College Dublin) with responses from the President, Professor Eunan O’Halpin (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Marie Coleman (Queen’s University Belfast), Professor Alvin Jackson (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Niamh Gallagher (St Catharine’s College, Cambridge). The third seminar, in May 2021, was titled ‘Land, Social Class, Gender and the Sources of Violence; Recovering Reimagined Futures’ and focused on issues of social class, land and the role of women, including how particular gradations of violence emerged and were inflicted on women, forms that were class-based and other forms of violence.
The principal address was given by Dr Margaret O’Callaghan (Queen’s University Belfast) with responses from the President, Dr Caitriona Clear (NUI Galway), Professor Linda Connolly (NUI Maynooth), Ms Catriona Crowe (Royal Irish Academy) and Dr John Cunningham (NUI Galway).The book also includes a number of photographs from the period which have been made available courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. The second series of the remaining three Machnamh 100 seminars will commence with the fourth event, which will be available from Thursday 25 November on the website and the RTÉ Player, where recordings of the seminars featured in this book can also be viewed. The second series will focus on subsequent events, including the Civil War and the formation of the two new administrations on the island. The fourth seminar is titled ‘Settlements, Schisms and Civil Strife’ and will feature a principal address by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter (University College Dublin) as well as responses from the President, Professor Mary Daly (University College Dublin), Professor Margaret Kelleher (University College Dublin), Dr Daithí Ó Corráin (Dublin City University) and Professor Fearghal McGarry (Queens University Belfast). The second series of seminars will also be published in book format as Machnamh 100 – Centenary Reflections, Volume 2 upon their completion in late 2022. AVAILABLE HERE

 This book illustrates the 1922 handover of power by the outgoing British administration to the Provisional Government of Ireland led by Michael Collins in early 1922. The handover fell between the Treaty split of January 1922 and the outbreak of the Civil War in June 1922 and is usually overshadowed by both. The book bridges this gap by telling a relatively unfamiliar but hugely important story. Coming 16th January 2022. 
 Ireland 1922 provides a snapshot of a year of turmoil, tragedy and, amidst it all, state-building as the Irish revolution drew to a close. Coming 1st January 2022. 
PRE-ORDER HERE                      

Offaly History Publications 
 Three featured:  Rathrobin and the two Irelands: the photographs of Middleton Biddulph, 1900–23.Michael Byrne (Offaly History, Tullamore, 2021) The photographs in the Magan Collection, now called the Biddulph Collection, were taken by Lt Col. Middleton Westenra Biddulph (1849– 1926) who lived at Rathrobin near Mountbolus, County Offaly. Biddulph was proud of his family history and when he retired from the army in the mid-1890s he returned to Ireland and rebuilt the old house at Rathrobin in great style.  100 years of Clara History, a Goodbody family perspectiveJ. Harold Goodbody and Michael Goodbody editors (Esker Press, 2021)  Clara has long been associated with the textile industry; stretching from the bleach greens of the early 1700s to development of the country’s largest jute factory, which gave employment to the district from 1864 and ran as a very successful business for the next hundred years. Offaly History 11 (Journal of Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society)  This is the eleventh volume of essays produced by the Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society on the history of this Irish midlands county. Some of the county’s leading historians, writers and academics have contributed to this important and pioneering collection of essays.To mark the Decade of Centenaries, there are ten specially contributed essays and a number of short biographies of figures from the revolutionary period in Offaly. BUY HERE

 Kildare County Council Minute Books 1899-1939 now online The minute books of Kildare County Council from 1899-1939 have been digitised and are now available on the new Kildare Library Service website at to coincide with Explore Your Archive 2021, an annual campaign that showcases the best of archives and archive services in Ireland and the UK.’The members and electors of the first Kildare County Council of 1899 were confidently preparing for a Home Rule Ireland, securely within the British Empire, and with a Parliament in College Green. A quarter of a century later, the Ireland they lived in was entirely different from what they had looked forward to. This is the story of how the council conducted local government in Kildare, from the peaceful revolution at its beginning, through the trauma of the Great War, the Easter Rising and the subsequent conflict and civil strife, to emerge in a partitioned Ireland in the 1920s which they had never envisaged.’Dr Thomas NelsonA peaceful revolution took place in Ireland in 1899 as the Grand Jury system ended. The Grand Juries were the earliest form of local government in Ireland, made up of Grand Jurors appointed by the Sheriff and usually the most prominent local landowners. They were initially concerned with the administration of justice. However, their role gradually expanded to include the provision of roads and bridges and the maintenance of dispensaries, county infirmaries, asylums, courthouses, and gaols. The Grand Jury was empowered to levy a tax in the county and met at Spring and Summer Assizes, where presentment works were passed. Under the Local Government Act of 1898, it was replaced by elected county councils, chosen by a more expansive franchise than ever before in any election in Ireland.Kildare County Council met for the first time on 22 April 1899 in Naas Courthouse. The Leinster Leader commissioned portraits of the twenty-one newly elected councillors. The newly constituted Council also included the chairs of the five District Councils and three nominees from the defunct Grand Jury. The first meeting was seven hours long, as the new Council elected its first chair, Naas solicitor, Stephen J. Browne, and dealt with finance and personnel.The minutes of the County Council and its various committees are available in this digitised collection from 1899 to 1939. They contain some volumes of handwritten minutes and rough minutes; the majority consists of printed minutes pasted onto pages and then bound in a book. Some of the minutes were published in a volume as a single year. Many of the bound volumes contain one or more years of minutes, and therefore there is some overlapping of months and years. There are also some gaps in the minutes where books have not survived.Researchers can now view, search, and download pdf formatted files of the minutes under Archives in the Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives section of the Kildare Library Service website (link below).  Cllr. Pádraig McEvoy, Chair of the County Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee, said “The members are delighted to see the County Council minute books being made available online to the public and researchers. Our commemorations officially began in Áras Chill Dara on 19 October 2015 with the launch of Dr Thomas Nelson’s book Through Peace and War. Kildare Co. Council in the years of revolution 1899-1926. This new project will enhance user access to this part of the county’s archives”.The digitisation of the County Council minute books from the 1899-1939 period was supported by the County Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative. AVAILABLE HERE 

The fourth volume in the History Ireland commemorative series on aspects of the Irish Revolution.  The Treaty, Civil War and partition profoundly shaped the Ireland in which we live. To mark the centenary of the Treaty and Civil War, History Ireland has produced a special supplement, The Split: From Treaty to Civil War 1921–23, featuring historians and writers. The Split introduces ground-breaking articles on women and the Treaty, the role of Eamon de Valera, the establishment of the Gardaí, the dead of the Civil War, the global reaction to Ireland’s independence, and the violence inside the new Northern Ireland state and along the border. It discusses controversial questions regarding Michael Collins and military dictatorship, why the Free State won the Civil War and how Northern Ireland came into being. It looks at how the war has been remembered and asks whether the era of Civil War politics has ended.  Featuring contributions from:President Michael D. Higgins / David McCullagh / Mary McAuliffe / Rob Delaney / John Gibney / Kate O’Malley / Darragh Gannon / John Borgonovo / Lar Joye / Kieran Glennon / Paddy Mulroe / Charles Townsend / Bill Kissane / John M. Regan / Robert Gerwarth / Elizabeth Malcolm / Niamh Puirséil / Alison Martin / John Dorney / Margaret O’Callaghan / Ciara Chambers / Caitlin White / Frank Barry / Brian Hanley / Theo Dorgan Available in newsagents and bookshops, or online at the link below.  BUY HERE

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