Battle of Tallaght 150

South Dublin County Council Libraries is delighted to present events in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Fenian Rising and the Battle of Tallaght, which occurs on 5th March 2017.


Contemporary print depicting the Battle of Tallaght, which was printed in the London Illustrated News

As part of the Dublin Fenian uprising in March 1867, several thousand members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood made their way to gather on Tallaght Hill, ready for rebellion. Their tactic was to draw the military out of Dublin while a separate rising took place in the city. A small contingent engaged in battle at the police station in Tallaght village. The RIC Sub-Inspector at Tallaght was watching the exodus of men from the city, and sent 14 armed officers out to the crossroads of the Main Road and Greenhills Road, where a battle with about 40 Fenians ensued. The ‘Battle of Tallaght’ was really just a skirmish in the village, but Tallaght was to be the site of the main battle of the Fenian uprising. However, the city centre was heavily fortified and the expected rising there didn’t happen. The large gathering of up to eight thousand men on Tallaght Hill was left leaderless, and eventually dispersed. The hoped for rising petered out.


Tallaght RIC Station, site of the Battle of Tallaght

Local historian Seán Bagnall will give a lecture on ‘The Battle of Tallaght’ on Thursday 2nd March at 7:00 pm at the County Library, Tallaght. All welcome, book your place here.

An exhibition on the Battle of Tallaght can be viewed at the County Library, Tallaght from 2nd March to 31st March during library opening hours.

5th and 6th class students from local Tallaght schools will be invited to visit the library for a presentation and a tour of the exhibition.

For further information, please contact Síle Coleman or Michael Keyes at the County Library, Tallaght on 01 4620073 or


Some more retro technology – with a Christmas connection

Lantern slides originated in the 17th Century and were originally hand pained images which were placed into a primitive wooden projection box and viewed in succession in order to narrate a story. They were a very early form of cinema which by the mid-1800s, with the advent of photography, had evolved to the stage where real-life scenes could be reproduced on glass and displayed.

These could be hand-tinted for added realism and the resulting slide show would have been an immersive experience using what was then cutting-edge technology in an era when newspapers contained only text, and books were a luxury few could afford.

In Local Studies  we have a historic collection of photographs of the Holy Land dating from 1908 and these were shown in Clondalkin Carnegie Library on the occasion of its opening in 1911. The names of the locations are a roll-call of famous Biblical locations.


Lantern slide showing paper frame and handwritten caption


Taken in 1908, these images show the people and views of the Holy Land appearing virtually unchanged in 2,000 years. It is not too hard to imagine the Holy Family wandering these streets in search of accommodation.


View of Bethlehem



The site of the Angel’s appearance to the shepherds


Titled “A Jerusalem Jew”


An Arab shop


Other slides include views of locations associated with Easter including the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives which we will return to at a later date.

One view in particular is particularly poignant – the very first photograph of the ancient Monumental Arch of Palmyra which was built in the 3rd Century and is seen here in its original form before it was restored in the 1930s. It was destroyed by Islamist Militants in October 2015.



Triumphal Arch, Palmyra.


Click HERE to see the entire collection.

New on Source – Rare stereoscopic photos of WWI

Just in and newly digitised, Local Studies have loaded onto our Source digital archive a set of Stereograph images from World War 1.


Originally intended to be viewed through a stereoscope, stereograph images were taken using a camera with three lenses in a triangular formation. The lens at the top provided a view of the scene for the photographer to help with the composition of the photo, while the two lenses below took two photographs from very slightly differing angles.

Viewing the resulting photographs through a stereoscope, the user would be able to “merge” the two images by looking through the viewer’s lenses – effectively recreating the three dimensional effect originally captured by the two cameras.

Stereographs had two eras of popularity. The first was in the 1850s and 60s. They became popular again in the late 1890s, lasting for the duration of the First World War and declining again after its end.

This particular set of images was taken and published by Hilton DeWitt Girdwood under the trademark of “Realistic Travels”. The set contains images from many different conflict locations – not only France and Belgium, but Gallipoli, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Egypt also make an appearance. Some images were disapproved of by the British government. Not because of the graphic nature of some of them, but because they had been staged by Girdwood. It was feared that staging of photographs could undermine the “authenticity” of war reporting in general.

All of the photographs were all taken in the field – even the staged ones.

See if you can guess why this one must have been staged:


The answer of course is that a flash was used to illuminate the scene. This would never have been allowed if a real night attack was in progress as it would have alerted the enemy.

The detail contained in the photos is striking. Here are some closeups of a few of the scenes:


Assault at Trones Wood


German soldier being searched. His discarded rifle lies nearby.


Troops prepare to attack Turkish forces at Cape Helles, Gallipoli.


A tank in action at Cambrai.

See the entire collection HERE. Note the collection shows some images of death.

Riots Rifles and Rebels-1916 Rising Schools’ Pack launched

One of South Dublin Libraries’ ongoing Decade of Centenaries projects has been a series of information packs for schools aimed at late primary and early secondary school pupils. The 1913 Lockout and the Great War information packs were released in 2013 and 2014.

The latest in the series is now available, covering the 1916 Rising. It is profusely illustrated throughout with rare and interesting photographs and documents from the Local Studies digital archive collection, Source.


The pack covers the causes and results of the Rising in language suitable for the age group, and contains many rarely seen images and documents that all ages will find interesting, including the original surrender document, some “before and after 1916” images of Sackville Street and a rare photograph of British Army lancers in action near the Four Courts.

Copies of the 1916 pack and of the previous packs in the series are available to download from our digital archive, Source, by searching for “Schools Pack” in the archive, or by following these links:

1916 Pack:

Great War Pack:

1913 Lockout Pack:

Manchester Guardian – Rare 1916 Images now online.


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.

(Old) News just in! “Eire/Ireland” and “Scissors and Paste” Now on Source.



Two publications from 1914 and 1915 are now on Source and searchable. “Eire/Ireland” and “Scissors and Paste” were launched by Arthur Griffith, founder of Sinn Féin. The former was suppressed because of its anti-British tone, and was replaced by the aptly named “Scissors and Paste”. This circumvented Regulation 27 of the Defence of the Realm act, which forbade new propaganda writing, by simply reprinting articles from other sources. Its articles were aimed primarily at debunking stories of German atrocities and reporting German successes. At the same time it published derogatory articles referring to British military operations. In March 1915 “Scissors and Paste” was also suppressed.

The publications give a fascinating insight into some Irish attitudes to Britain and the conduct of the war, and also translated reports from Foreign language newspapers that are rarely seen.

Here are some random clippings representative of the content of both newspapers:

Whelan & Sons, trading from 17 Upper Ormond Quay, advertised an impressive array of military items for sale to the public in 1914 including rifles, ammunition, belts and even pikes.

“Ourselves” – this editorial piece from “Scissors and Paste” bemoans the suppression of its predecessor “Eire Ireland” under the Defence of the Realm act and questions the sincerity of Britain’s fight for the rights of small nations.

Scissors & Paste 23rd December 1914 – Report of the removal by the police of the famous Liberty Hall banner proclaiming “We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”


1st April 1915. Not an April Fool’s joke, but a prophetic article from Scissors & Paste, reproduced from the “Evening Herald” anticipating the Irish Rebellion a year before it happened.


1st June 1915. The Garda College in Templemore in Co. Tipperary had a previous incarnation as Richmond Barracks and was used from 1914 to 1915 as an internment camp for German military and civilian prisoners of war. This article, reprinted from the Belfast Newsletter, condemns certain “sympathisers” for funding prisoners’ comforts for those interned in Templemore.


12th December 1915 – Trouble in Templemore. Inmates won’t pay the extra penny tax on beer.


1st September 1915. Another example of the free availability of weapons at the time. The winner of a Cumann na mBan raffle is requested to proceed to Parnell Square to pick up her prize – a Lee Enfield .303 rifle!


20th January 1915 – the people of Wexford are advised that the German Army are not to be feared in the event of their arrival on our shores. Police advice to Wexford residents to destroy their property in case of invasion is to be ignored.


27th January 1915 – Report of a French soldier being informally “awarded” the Prussian Iron Cross by a grateful German…


Two local interest articles mentioning Rathfarnham:



13th of February 1915 – article explaining the background to “Deutschland Uber Alles”, the German National Anthem, and denying it is triumphalist.


Eire Ireland 28th November 1914 – Germany has no ill-will towards Ireland.



See the complete collection here:



Clondalkin Paper Mills Oral History Collection

wm_Clondalkin Paper Mills_1959_III_300dpi

Clondalkin Paper Mill operated from the early 19th century right up until its ultimate and unfortunate closure in 1987. The mill provided huge employment in the area and constituted a big part of life in Clondalkin.

In recognition of this, and to capture the story of the mill, as told by the people who worked there, South Dublin Libraries commissioned Irish Life and Lore to collect the Clondalkin Paper Mills Oral History Collection.


The collection is available now in Source, our digital archive and the collection’s catalogue is available to download here.  Printed copies of the catalogue can be purchased from Tallaght and Clondalkin Libraries, priced at €10.

A collection of photographs and memorabilia from the mill is also available in Source.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the project!