Political Struggles of Irish Nationalists and African Americans in the Great War

Historian Cecelia Hartsell will give a talk at Ballyroan Library next Tuesday 15th May at 6:30 pm, on the parallel experience of Irish Nationalists and African Americans in World War One.
This promises to be a fascinating event.
Book your free place now here. Directions to Ballyroan Library can be found here.

Rathfarnham Historical Society April Event


 Meeting on Thursday 19th April 2018 at 8 P.M. in


 a lecture titled ‘DUBLIN SINCE 1922′

will be given by Tim Carey(Author of the recently published book on this subject)


Admission for non-members: 4 Euro

Clondalkin Echo and Home Video

ce2The connection is not immediately apparent at first, but sometimes Local Studies can turn up some surprising reminders of how things were done long ago (but still within our lifetimes), and how dramatically our lives have changed since. We were recently donated the very first copy of the “Clondalkin Echo” The inaugural edition went to press in July 1982 and included some brilliantly nostalgic articles and advertisements.

Today, in the age of Netflix, we think nothing of being able to view films without leaving our seats, never mind our houses. Viewing films in the home in the 1980s involved traipsing to the nearest video shop and renting films by the day. There was even a fine for returning a tape without it being rewound.

According to the 1982 Echo, Clondalkin residents had their local rental shop, Electro Vision in Main Street Clondalkin. They rented not only videotapes, but also the means to play them. The video recorder in the ad is the impressively futuristically-titled Nordmende Video-Vision Spectra V200, complete with top loading video slot and reassuringly chunky buttons to press…


Meanwhile, County Town and Video, in the Tallaght Town Centre, were selling the Ferguson 3V23 recorder reduced from an eye-watering £1,179 (€1,497) to a slightly less startling £879 (€1,116)! Note the list of “Just Arrived” films…


Truly different times.

See the entire newspaper here:


Search the entire Source archive here:


Exhibition: Jesuit Chaplains and the Great War at the County Library, Tallaght.

32 Irish Jesuits served in the Great War, either as volunteers or by being appointed to serve at the front. In common with other Catholic orders who served as military chaplains, they were exposed to the same risks and discomfort as the men (of all denominations) to whom they provided ministry. Catholic sacraments necessitated priests being at the side of dying soldiers, giving them a high profile at the front line and making them very popular among the troops.

This exhibition contains information panels and original artefacts owned by several famous Jesuit chaplains, including Fr. Willie Doyle who died on August the 17th 1917 at Langemarck.

The exhibition also includes “A Perfect Trust”, award-winning illustrator Alan Dunne’s graphic short about a chaplain losing his faith in the trenches of World War I.

The exhibition, by kind permission of the Jesuit Archive, runs from the 1st to the 28th of February at the County Library, Tallaght.






Esker New (Old) Cemetery


Taphophilia: from the Greek “Taphos” (Tomb) is a word recently coined to describe a cemetery enthusiast. There are many manifestations of the syndrome. It can encompass Photography, genealogy, taking rubbings of headstones, casual mindful wandering among the monuments while reading the inscriptions are all symptoms. Such activities could be classified as morbid, but it can be rewarding and thought provoking.

Ascending the steep climb from Lucan Village towards the townland of Esker, through the neat and varied suburban streetscape, the traveller will happen upon two cemeteries which stand to the left and right of the roadway. One stands behind a rubble stone wall, the other behind a pebble dashed block wall.

The one behind the rubble wall was established in 1890, and was known as “Esker New Cemetery”.


Esker New Cemetery


It was still known by this name in 1938. Later, a burial ground directly opposite was established – becoming the er… “New New” Esker Cemetery. Unsurprisingly, the original 1890 site is now known as the old cemetery. What these will be called when a proposed graveyard (under construction) is established beside the original cemetery is anyone’s guess!

Nomenclature aside, burial grounds are an invaluable source of local lore and knowledge, and the 1890 cemetery at Esker is no exception. It is in a triangular formation, with a small triangular “innocents” plot for child burials within the boundary of consecrated land at the point furthest from the adjoining road. The caretaker’s house still stands, although it is currently derelict.


1938 map showing  triangular layout


Two burials are of note. One is that of 40 year old Annie Young. Her headstone is unusual in that the cause of her death is recorded:



A search of the Irish Newspaper Archives (available in the County Library, Tallaght) provides a contemporary report of how the unfortunate lady met her end. This is how her death was reported. At the time the piece was written, her name was unknown:



News report: Cork Examiner, 18th September 1899


Another notable interment is that of Pte Peter Casey of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, who succumbed to wounds he received in action. He had been shipped back to the London War Hospital in Epsom, and died there on the 6th of October 1916.

Pte. Casey doesn’t have the usual Commonwealth War Grave headstone – presumably because his father, also Peter, had predeceased him so they were buried together in the family plot.


In Loving Memory of Peter Casey…



…Also his son, Peter, RIR, who died from wounds recd in action 6th Oct 1916 Aged 26 Years


Again The Irish Newspaper Archives provide his funeral details:


Dr. William Reville, writing in the Irish Times recently, wrote about the increasing popularity of cremation as opposed to burial:

“the tombstones of the dead stand among us as they themselves once did but if cemeteries vanish we will forget the dead and forget to consider their wishes and intentions”.

How unfortunate that would be.