Exhibition: Messines, Ypres and South Dublin County

After the Battle of the Somme, the campaigns of the Great War continued to take their toll on South Dublin County. This being the centenary of two of the most decisive battles to take place after the Somme, we in Local Studies have identified thirteen men from the county who were killed in Belgium during these iconic battles of the Great War. One was killed at Messines, twelve perished at the Third Battle of Ypres.

The Battle of Messines was considered a successful offensive of the Great War mainly due to the much-improved accuracy of British Artillery, and the extensive use of underground mines. In all, 19 were detonated under the German defences at the Messines Ridge causing extensive damage. In Irish terms, it was also the first battle where Unionists and Nationalists fought together against a common foe.  Among their number was the only  known Messines casualty from  the South Dublin County area – a Tallaght man – William (Billy) Barrett who spent his early years living in Tallaght Village. His mother ran a pub which was then called Barratt’s. The premises still exists as the Dragon Inn, and is virtually unchanged since then.

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The Dragon Inn today

We have located and transcribed personal letters from Billy to his brother in Wicklow, along with some very moving letters from his comrades to his mother detailing the confusion surrounding his last hours.

 

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Billy Barrett’s panel and letters home

 

The Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele, lasted from the 31st of July to the 10th of November 1917. The battle was characterised by persistent mud and heavy losses . The Allies sustained over 320,000 casualties, while German losses were between 260,000 and 400,000.

Twelve men who were born or lived in our county were killed at Passchendaele:
Daniel Brady and Robert Christopher Butler (Rathcoole), James O’Toole (Templeogue), John Nolan (Saggart), Joseph Redmond, Richard Rodgers and Thomas McCann (Rathfarnham), Thomas Stoney (Tallaght), John Monahan and William Carroll (Lucan), Ralph Mulligan and Richard Rumgay (Clondalkin)

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Panels showing the life stories of British Army casualties from South Dublin

 

Their life stories are detailed on panels illustrated with newspaper cuttings, photographs and contemporary documents. Earlier census returns from 1901 show them as small boys still at school. The occupations of their fathers include an RIC pensioner, an army pensioner, a dairy farmer and general labourers.

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Some examples of food from the Great War

 

If these men were to return and walk round our county’s villages again, the surroundings would no doubt be very familiar to them. Their streets are our streets, and this exhibition reclaims their memory, presenting their stories in an accessible way.

The exhibition runs at the County Library, Tallaght until the end of September.

 

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South Dublin and the Battle of the Somme

The South Dublin and the Battle of the Somme Exhibition was launched by Mayor Guss O’Connell at the County Library, Tallaght last Friday morning, 4th November.

This exhibition is part of South Dublin County Council’s Decade of Commemorations events in which we remember the pivotal decade of 1913-1923.

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Cllr. WIlliam Lavelle, Daniel McLoughlin (Chief Executive, South Dublin County Council), Mayor Guss O’Connell, David Power (South Dublin Libraries) and Bernadette Fennell (County Librarian, South Dublin Libraries) pictured at the exhibition launch.

South Dublin Libraries staff have found 12 known men from the current South Dublin County area who were killed in the various battles of the Somme campaign and their stories are illustrated here using contemporary documents and photographs. There may have been more who were recorded as having been from Dublin with no parish mentioned. More from the county area would have survived the Somme and went on to fight and die in further campaigns in the next two years. Still more would have survived the entire war and returned, traumatised, to a changed Ireland that would have been unrecognisable compared to the one they left.

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There are trench maps on display showing the location of the men’s deaths, and the original War diaries which were written up by officers in charge and these detail the actions of the various “South Dubliners’” regiments in the day . Again the statistics for South Dublin reflect those of the country as a whole. The vast majority were killed in and around the village of Guillemont where the 16th Irish Division were involved in days of slaughter to take the heavily-defended villages of Guillemont and Ginchy.

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Speaking at the launch, Mayor O’Connell said, “The South Dublin men commemorated here are a microcosm of the island of Ireland’s participation in the Great War. As with the participants in the 1916 Rising, all walks of life are represented here. We have a Trinity medical student, a quarry worker, some general and agricultural labourers, a Vicar’s son and the son of a Barrister-at-Law. The streets of the villages they left for the last time would look very familiar to us today.”

South Dublin County Council, through its library service, is delighted to host this exhibition as part of our Decade of Commemorations activities. It will run at the County Library, Tallaght until Wednesday 30th November 2016.

We are very interested in finding additional names of those locals from South Dublin County who died at the Somme (between the 1st of July and the 18th of November 1916) and who we may have missed because they were listed on official records as having been from Dublin instead of the village from which they came.

If you can help, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact: localstudies@sdublincoco.ie

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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).

1916 Exhibition in the County Library

South Dublin Libraries’ Decade of Centenaries events continue with the launch of our 1916 exhibition.

The exhibition contains artifacts from many private and public collections, and sincere thanks is due to those individuals and institutions who have so generously lent their items for display.

The exhibition is slanted towards local involvement in the Rising and includes a map of the (now) South Dublin area with information as to how the preparations went on in that  area. Although no fighting took place in the villages, they played their part in making the Rising happen with contributions like route marches, planning, recruiting and even supplying the paper on which the Proclamation was printed.

The exhibition runs until the 27th of May.

Ballyroan Library hosts WWI Exhibition

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Back by Popular Demand!

The Great War Exhibition travels to Ballyroan Library

Orchardstown Avenue, Rathfarnham

Exhibition runs until December 23rd 2014.

Following the recent run of the very successful “Ireland and the Great War” exhibition in the County Library in Tallaght, it has now travelled to Ballyroan Library and will be on display in the exhibition space there until the 23rd of December.

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Each piece in the exhibition tells a story, especially so the Irishmen’s service medals on display. These were issued after the war with the recipient’s name and number impressed on the edge (and on the back in the case of the 1914 and 1914/15 Star). This has enabled their stories to be researched and retold. They are remembered and presented here in an attempt to personalise the tragedy that was the Great War.

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As before, the exhibition includes a concise timeline and a set of information panels courtesy of the Imperial War Museum covering the main battles, plus seven panels by the Local Studies section, detailing aspects of the conflict that uniquely affected Ireland

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The exhibition serves as a tribute to the many hundreds of thousands of men and women of both sides who perished in the conflict, each one leaving grieving parents and next of kin. It also commemorates those who returned, mentally and physically scarred by their experiences, to a world utterly changed by the war.

J.B. Malone – Walking Trails Pioneer

Photos by Rob O' Connor (www.rocshot.com)

The J.B. Malone: Walking Trails Pioneer Exhibition, which was launched at the County Library, Tallaght last week, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of J.B. Malone, the prime mover behind the establishment of Irish walking routes such as the Wicklow Way, and a passionate advocate of hill-walking as a recreation activity.

County Librarian Kieran Swords with Mayor Fintan Warfield

County Librarian Kieran Swords with Mayor Fintan Warfield

John James Bernard Malone was born in Leeds on 13th December 1913, the son of Irish parents. He came to Ireland at the age of eighteen and shortly after his arrival, he began to explore the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. It was the start of what was to become a lifelong involvement with country walking, the fruits of which can be seen in the many articles he wrote for the Evening Herald from 1938 until 1975.

Rose and John Malone with Mayor Fintan Warfield

Rose and John Malone with Mayor Fintan Warfield

In 1940 he joined the army and was trained as a cartographer, in which capacity he served until 1947. In that year he took up employment with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs as a draughtsman, and married Margaret Garry, with whom he had three children. In 1950 his first book, The Open Road, was published by Independent Newspapers, followed in 1964 by Walking in Wicklow.

J.B., as he became known, had a deep interest in many subjects including history and architecture, and in 1966 he got together with the artist Liam C. Martin to produce a series of illustrated articles on lesser-known aspects of well-known Dublin places and buildings. The first of these daily articles appeared in the Evening Herald in January 1967, illustrated with Martin’s pen and ink drawings. They were eventually to complete upwards of fifteen hundred articles and a book with the same name as the column, Know Your Dublin, was published by Sceptre Books in 1968.

J.B. Malone's desk

J.B. Malone’s desk

The J.B. Malone: Walking Trails Pioneer Exhibition runs at the County Library, Tallaght until 22nd November 2014.

A listing and index of J.B.’s articles in the Evening Herald is available in Source.

Launch of Landscapes of War and Peace

The launch took place on Monday night, of ‘Landscapes of War and Peace 1914-2014: War Poetry and Peacekeeping’ by Michael J. Whelan.

This exhibition, which is part of the Red Line Book Festival, includes an Irish soldier’s poems and images inspired by the poets of the Great War and his own peacekeeping duties in modern day conflicts in the Middle-East and Balkans. Also being exhibited are historical artefacts and documents of family history over the past 100 years, poems and other paraphernalia from World War I and UN Peacekeeping duties.

Thank you to Mayor Fintan Warfield and Brigadier General Paul Fry who launched the exhibition.

The exhibition can be viewed at the County Library, Tallaght until 23rd October 2014, during library opening hours.

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Mayor Fintan Warfield launching the exhibition

Mayor Fintan Warfield launching the exhibition

Michael J Whelan with David Power (South Dublin Libraries), Brigadier General Paul Fry and Maria Donohoe (South Dublin Libraries)

Michael J Whelan with David Power (South Dublin Libraries), Brigadier General Paul Fry and Maria Donohoe (South Dublin Libraries)

Mayor Fintan Warfield with Ambassador Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Ireland

Mayor Fintan Warfield with Ambassador Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Ireland

Photos by David Power