Irish Round Towers talk with Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe

In view of the opening of the Clondalkin Round Tower Visitors’ Centre in 2017, we are delighted to host a talk with Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe (School of Archaeology, University College Dublin) as part of this year’s Red Line Book Festival. Professor O’Keeffe will speak about the unique medieval heritage represented by Round Towers in Ireland, focusing on the Clondalkin Round Tower in particular.

Tadhg O’Keeffe is an expert in European medieval architecture and archaeology and is the author of Ireland’s Round Towers. Buildings, Rituals and Landscapes of the Early Irish Church. 

The talk takes place in the Clondalkin Civic Offices, Ninth Lock Road, Clondalkin, on Thursday 13th October at 7:00 p.m. The event is free but please book your place at 01 4627477 or


The Count, Countess and Tommy

Following the great success of The Great War Roadshow at the Red Line Book Festival in 2014, we are delighted to welcome a new musical show, written by RTE broadcaster and historian Myles Dungan, to this year’s festival programme.

The Count, Countess and Tommy features popular songs and stories from the Ireland of the 1916 Rising era, centering on the life and works of the celebrated Irish tenor, John, Count McCormack and also featuring the music of Ivor Novello, Stanley Kirkby and George M. Cohan.

The show stars international singing sensations Lisa Lambe and Matthew Gilsenan, baritone Brendan MacQuaile and pianist Ronan Murray.

The show takes place in the Civic Theatre, Tallaght on Friday 14th October at 8:00 p.m., tickets are €15, and €12 for concessions. Book online now at the Civic Theatre Box Office or by phone at 01 4627477.


Tallaght Historical Society Talks 2016/17

Tallaght Historical Society’s Lectures for the 2016/17 season have commenced. All lectures take place at 7:00 p.m. in the County Library, Tallaght, and all are welcome. No booking required.


October 11th – Life after the Twelve Locks by Mick KinehanTaylors Map of Tallaght 1816 showing the many mills in the area

November 8th – Dublin from Old Photographs by Cormac Lowth

November 22nd – The Shape we’re in: the history of the map of Ireland by Michael Keyes

December 13th – Leo Swan Memorial Lecture – TBA

Round Tower_small


January 10th – History of the Garda Siochána by Gerry Lovett

February 14th – A History of the GAA by David Griffith

March 14th – Edward Trevor, beast of Kilmainham by Michael Ó Doibhilín

April 11th – If those Trees Could Speak: the Massys of Killakee by Frank Tracy

May 9th – History of Ireland’s Round Towers by John Dolan

May 23rd – The Collection of the Irish Air Corps Museum by Michael Whelan

June 13th – Dublin Housing in the 1800s by Seán Bagnall

Dublin Fire Brigade and the 1916 Rising Exhibition


The Dublin Fire Brigade and the 1916 Rising Exhibition was launched by Mayor Guss O’Connell at the County Library, Tallaght yesterday evening. Founded in 1862, Dublin Fire Brigade is a Dublin institution in every sense of the word. In the 154 years since it was founded it has served and protected the people of Dublin and visitors to our city and county.


Deputy Chief Fire Officer Denis Keeley, Mayor Guss O’Connell and Las Fallon, Head of Heritage Projects, Dublin Fire Brigade.  

Dublin Fire Brigade has had many proud moments in its history and this exhibition brings one aspect of that history into particular focus: its role in the events of Easter 1916.

A small professional brigade under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell worked throughout the week of the Rebellion to save lives and property in a city which became a battlefield. In the immediate aftermath of the Rising they faced a city on the verge of destruction and went to work to stop the spread of the flames and bring the great fires under control.


Throughout this year Dublin Fire Brigade has played a major role in commemorative events, including the parade during the State Commemoration on Easter Sunday, honouring those who wore the Dublin Fire Brigade uniform in 1916.

Speaking at yesterday evening’s launch, Mayor O’Connell commented, “That small band of firefighters wrote a long forgotten page in the history of the events of 1916 and it gives me great pleasure to see their story brought to light in this exhibition and highlighted for a new generation.”


The launch was also attended by Deputy Chief Fire Officer Denis Keeley, and Las Fallon, Head of Heritage Projects with the Dublin Fire Brigade.

South Dublin County Council, through its library service, is delighted to host this exhibition as part of our 1916 centenary activities.

The exhibition runs at the County Library, Tallaght until 9th September 2016 (during library opening hours).

Hellfire Hill: a human and natural history

Hellfire Hill: a human and natural history by Michael Fewer has just been published by South Dublin Libraries.

Hell Fire Hill Cover low res

Michael Fewer is an architect, environmentalist and writer who has been walking the landscape around Hellfire Hill, or Montpelier, for the past 45 years. He imparts the knowledge he has gained in that time in this, his latest book.

The history of the hill is covered from ancient Neolithic times to the ghoulish tales of South Dublin County’s most infamous landmark, the Hell Fire Club, as well as the natural history of the landscape.


Photographed at the launch of Hellfire Hill: Michael Fewer, Mayor Gus O’Connell, Shirley O’Kelly, Timbertrove and Ann Dunne, South Dublin Libraries

Speaking at the launch of Hellfire Hill in Timbertrove Café yesterday, Mayor Gus O’Connell said, “Michael really knows the area like the back of his hand so I’m delighted that he has put pen to paper and recorded his extensive knowledge of Hellfire Hill, preserving it for generations to come. South Dublin County Council through its library service is delighted to promote our history and heritage by publishing this book.”

Hellfire Hill: a human and natural history is available from all branches of South Dublin Libraries now, priced €8.00. It is also on sale in Timbertrove Country Store and Café and online from


The Somme. 1st July 1916

100 years ago today, a week long artillery bombardment of German positions between the French villages of Gommecourt and Montauban (a front of about 18 miles) came to an end.

Nearly two million British artillery shells had been fired at the German lines to crush morale and make it easier to advance towards the enemy positions. The bombardment was also planned to have the effect of destroying barbed wire entanglements in front of the German positions.

At 7.30 in the morning, masses of British soldiers, including many Irishmen, were led by their officers “over the top”, carrying their rifles with fixed bayonets. They were ordered to walk towards the Germans, whose numbers were assumed to have been decimated by the week-long attack.

To their horror, the attacking British troops realised that the Germans were ready and waiting, and the barbed wire was intact. They walked into a hail of machine gun and rifle fire. By the end of the day 19,000 British soldiers lay dead, with  38,000 reported wounded or missing

One of the dead is recorded as being from South Dublin County – Thomas Cleary of Cooldrinagh in Lucan.

27 years old and the son of a farm labourer, he had enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1908, and saw service in India. He was sent with his battalion to Gallipoli where he managed to survive the disastrous landings at Cape Helles and the subsequent fighting. He was then sent to France where the Inniskillings were part of the 29th Division at Beaumont Hamel.


Men from the 29th Division advance along the horizon towards the German lines near Beaumont Hamel, 1st July 1916 Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum


Their objective was the taking of Y Ravine – an old quarry that was being used as a German stronghold. The Division’s approach was abruptly halted by German barbed wire, which had resisted the week-long artillery barrage and was intact.  568 men of the 29th division, including Thomas Cleary, lost their lives in the attack.


Trench map showing Y Ravine in green, British lines in blue and the German trench network in red.


Pte. Cleary is buried in Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel.


Y Ravine Cemetery. It lies within Newfoundland Park, an area containing many preserved trenches including Y Ravine. Photo: David Power


The Battle of the Somme lasted four months in total, only grinding to a halt on the 18th of November 1916 due to bad weather – rain, snow and the constant pounding of artillery had made the area a sea of mud. By its end, the Somme had cost the lives of one million men.


Remnants of British trenches. Newfoundland Park. Photo: David Power




Y Ravine Trench today. After the failed attempt to capture this stronghold on the 1st of July, it was finally captured four months later on the 13th of November 1916. Photo: David Power