Due to major electrical work taking place in the main Council building, our digital archive SOURCE may be unavailable on Saturday the 16th of May.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
The early 20th century saw the beginning of the soon-to-be widespread use of photography in newspapers and periodicals. Magazines such as The Sphere, Irish Life and the Illustrated London News brought pictorial accounts of news from distant lands into people’s homes, and the photographs alongside the text enhanced the readers’ experience enabling them to “see” world events as well as read about them.
During the period 1914 to 1919, the Manchester Guardian newspaper published a series of pictorial supplements which contained an account of every action of the First World War as it happened. Profusely illustrated with maps, artwork and photographs, they remain an invaluable source of contemporary accounts of every action that took place in that conflict, from the Western Front to the Balkans and the Middle East.
South Dublin Libraries have acquired all nine bound volumes of this unique historical resource and these are available to consult in the Local Studies section of the County Library, Tallaght.
Alongside the main theatres of war, it covers the “Dublin Rebellion” as it was then called using nowadays rarely-seen photographs of the 1916 Rising. These images are now viewable on South Dublin Libraries’ “Source” digital archive and we present some examples here.
Here is an interesting photograph of the east side of the Four Courts after its bombardment in 1916. Six years later it would be targeted again, this time by the forces of the Free State:
Behind the soldier to the right you can just about see a torn recruitment poster. Here is the poster as it would have appeared immediately after being put up:
Here is a scene, from a location nearby, of British Army Lancers rounding the corner at the junction of Church Street and Merchants Quay – about to cross Father Mathew Bridge (then known as Whitworth Bridge):
The photo is interesting, as the only record of Lancers in this area is from the first day of the Rising when a troop of the 5th and 12th Lancers was escorting an ammunition convoy along the north Quays. The lancers came under fire from the 1st Battalion of the Irish Volunteers under Ned Daly who were occupying the Four Courts. They dismounted, let the horses free and carried the ammunition boxes into the Medical Mission building opposite the east side of the Four Courts. The building still bears the scars of rifle fire on its façade.
This strange vehicle located outside the Granville Hotel on Sackville (O’Connell) Street is an early version of the armoured car. The vehicle was comprised of a locomotive boiler on the back of a flatbed truck. They were built by the Great Southern and Western Railway Works in Inchicore by order of the British Military, and had a line of four openings on either side through which a rifle could be aimed.
You would be forgiven for thinking there are more than four apertures. However if you look closely you will see that the “holes” above and below the middle row – and every second one on the middle row – are dummy openings painted on to confuse snipers. In the background is another recruitment poster.
To view all 24 Manchester Guardian images from 1916, click here:
If you wish to view the original volumes, please ask at the desk in the County Library.
Rathfarnham Historical Society’s April Meeting takes place on Thursday 23rd April 2015 at 8:00 pm in
THE CHURCH OF IRELAND PARISH CENTRE, RATHFARNHAM VILLAGE
A talk titled
The History of a House and its Remarkable Residents: Silveracre, Rathfarnham
will be given by Gerry Hogan
All welcome. Admission for non-members: 4 Euro
…we’re all off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles crash
To the rattle of the Thompson Gun”
Famous lines from the ballad “Off to Dublin in the Green”, written by Dominic Behan.
Less famous perhaps, is the fact that Revolutionary Ireland was intimately involved in the early development of the Thompson Submachine Gun itself.
The Thompson submachine gun or ‘Tommy gun’ was designed by retired US Army Lieut. Col. Marcellus Thompson, who later founded the Auto Ordnance Corporation to oversee development of his new weapon.
Financier Thomas Fortune Ryan became Thompson’s partner and set about finding finance for the new weapon. By chance, Ryan was also a senior member of Clann na nGaedheal and he was perfectly placed to contact Michael Collins who agreed to finance the project with republican money using Ryan’s financial contacts.
Early 1921 saw the manufacture of the first Thompson guns. Two of these were tested out by Clann na nGaedheal members in New York.
The IRA completed an order for over 500 guns, magazines, spare parts and ammunition. The Thompson soon saw active service in June 1921 with an IRA attack on a train in Drumcondra. The IRA were the first to use the Thompson in combat, but plans for its widespread use were put on hold when most of the Irish consignment was impounded by the US Customs and Justice Department prior to its shipment. Later 168 of the weapons that escaped confiscation eventually made their way to Ireland, and more would later follow.
The Thompson would later famously be used in prohibition-era gang wars in Chicago, and later still saw service with the U.S. Army throughout the Second World War.
The example shown in this post is in the collection of the Defence Forces Military Museum in the Curragh who kindly allowed us to photograph.
Click HERE to see this and other items from our Revolutionary Collection on Source
Click HERE for more info on the Curragh Museum.
As today is World Poetry Day and to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the Dardanelles (Land) Campaign this time next month April 25th, I offer this poem, which I wrote after my visit to the Gallipoli Peninsula a few years ago.
The poem was inspired by my visit and also by the poem of the same name ‘The Irish at Gallipoli’ written by Irish Poet Francis Ledwidge before he was killed during the war on the Western Front. Ledwidge had seen the worst of the sufferings experienced by 10th Irish Division after the Suvla Bay landings in August and had penned his poem, while on a troopship sailing past the ancient city of Troy. The Irish and the other allied soldiers who served at Gallipoli had a healthy respect for the Turkish soldiers they fought in 1915.
The Gallipoli Peninsula today is a national park holding the graves and unmarked remains of thousands of soldiers on both sides who perished there. The poem is also a recognition of the, until recently, forgotten story of Irish soldiers lost during the conflict and to subsequent Irish historiography.
(After a visit to the battlefields -2011)
Today I stood above the Aegean Sea
listening for echoes I could not hear.
The silent tempo of the ground
resonates still on unnatural landscapes.
The zig-zag lines where dead men toil
dug deep into blood smeared soil,
buried now with their bones
on beaches and gullies where once
they fought the Turk,
stormed the shores and hills as if thrown
against the wind by Agamemnon himself.
The silence bade me look towards Troy
across the Straits from Helles,
I still could hear no voice, nor thunder in the sky
except the launching waves
pushing ancient pebbles up the beach to rest,
where once they drowned the hearts of men.
Then behind me I could feel it,
the noise of peace and echoes of war
in a thousand monuments to the dead,
stretched out in marching order.
And there, watching me, my shadow
took on the specter of a ghost and spoke,
‘Like Hector I was the defender
brave and virtuous – but of Irish stock,
I am the soldier my country forsook.’
And in response I said
‘I have come at last to pay my respects,
I have come to take you home!’
Michael J. Whelan
Michael J. Whelan lives in Tallaght and is an award winning poet, writer and historian. For more about Michael and his work, please see his blog.
As part of the ‘Matter of Life and Death’ programme of events in South Dublin County this April, the County Library, Tallaght presents a talk by Liz Gillis
‘Kilmainham Gaol and the Execution of the 1916 Rising Leaders’
on Wednesday 8th April at 7:00 pm.
All welcome but please book on 01 4620073 or email@example.com
Liz Gillis is the author of several books on the revolutionary period, including ‘Women of the Irish Revolution’, recently published by Mercier Press. She also works as a tour guide at Kilmainham Gaol.