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 http://www.redlinebookfestival.ie

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History and Heritage 2015 Events

Whilst we are all looking forward to National Heritage Week which runs between 22nd and 30th of August, sometimes, you have to admit, a week is not enough, especially when it relates to something you have a particular interest in. That is why the Library Section of South Dublin County Council have devised a programme of walks, talks, tours and workshops around history and heritage that lasts the whole summer long. I know it is a cliché at this stage, but there really is something for every one, from outdoor events to craft classes and history lectures.

History and Heritage 2015 events brochure

The programme kicks off with the ever popular heritage walks of the villages within South Dublin County. Whether you’re a local, once lived in the area or are just interested in the heritage and history of Newcastle, Palmerstown, Saggart, Templeogue, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan or Rathfarnham, you can get out and about and start exploring and learning on these guided walks. Another of the heritage walk highlights is Massy’s Woods and Hell Fire Club Heritage Walk on Saturday 25th July and Wednesday 26th August, led by Historian Frank Tracy. I’m sure Frank will explore some of the scary stories one hears about the ominously named Hell Fire Club. Besides, the views over Dublin City from the top of Mount Pelier are magnificent. There’s nothing like a bracing walk followed by bracing views!

Talking of things of yore, have you every wanted to know how to restore and preserve old family photographs? As part of a ground breaking initiative developed by the Gallery of Photography, the County Library in Tallaght are hosting events around the Photo Album of Ireland project during the month of July. Staff of the Gallery will host a talk on restoring your family album on Saturday 18th July, followed by a scanning workshop where you can contribute to this amazing project by bringing along photos from your own family album.

Did you know there used to be an airport in Tallaght? Well, during August and September the County Library in Tallaght will host a photographic exhibition exploring the history of Tallaght Aerodrome.

And whilst the big kids amongst us may have our heads in the clouds, we mustn’t forget the young ones in the family.Irish History Live workshops where children from aged 8 to 12 can experience life in Dublin during the 1916 Rising take place in Ballyroan, Castletymon and Tallaght Libraries. And if that is not enough, Lucan Library are inviting children to place their Hands On History to explore the story of the Irish at Gallipoli through an interactive history workshop.  Children aged 6 – 10 year old  can create scenes from history using Lego and use webcams to transform them in their own comic in County Library, or for the sporty kid, why not design and make your own sliotar inspired textile balls at the Stitched Sliotar workshops on 17th July. Booking for these events opens on 30th June.

This is just a flavour of the over 50 events taking place throughout the summer. For the full programme click here or pick up a copy in your local South Dublin Libraries branch, as well as other locations around the city.

For further information and bookings, contact  Sίle Coleman at 01 462 0073 or e-mail localstudies@sdublincoco.ie.

Clondalkin Paper Mills Oral History Collection

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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.

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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!

Culture Night 2014 at South Dublin Libraries

This Friday, 19th September is Culture Night and Tallaght, Ballyroan and Clondalkin Libraries are open late with special Culture Night events!

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Join us at the County Library, Tallaght  from 6-8 pm for a commemoration of World War I, with a display by the Irish Great War Society, guided tours of our Great War Exhibition, and an Edwardian Tea Party! All welcome, please phone us on 01 4620073 (or email talib@sdublincoco.ie) to book. Edwardian dress is optional but encouraged!

Courtesy of the Irish Great War Society

Courtesy of the Irish Great War Society

Ballyroan Library also has a Great War theme with their Culture Night event. Padraig Yates, historian and author of A City in Wartime: Dublin 1914-1918, will give a talk titled ‘Was the Great War Good for Ireland?’ at 7:30 p.m.. To book, phone 01 4941900 or email ballyroan@sdublincoco.ie.

Meanwhile, Clondalkin Library will be reliving Clondalkin’s showband days with a very special event where Carl Philips and his Band will be playing the showband hits of the 50s and 60s. There will also be a display of memorabilia from the Mayfair Ballroom and Clondalkin’s other dance halls. Don’t miss this! Call 01 4593315 or log onto http://www.culturenight.eventbrite.ie to book your place.

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All events are free of charge.

South Dublin County Guided Heritage Walks

As part of our History and Heritage events this year, the following guided heritage walks are happening around the county over the coming weeks. No booking necessary & all welcome!

Templeogue
Saturday 16th August 11am. Meet at The Templeogue Inn (The Morgue) in Templeogue Village. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Massy’s Woods, Killakee
Thursday 21st August 11am. Meet at the Hell Fire Club Car park, Killakee Road. Guide: Frank Tracy.

Tallaght
Saturday 23rd August—time TBC. Part of Tallafest. Meet at The Priory at 3pm. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Newcastle
Tuesday 26th August 11am. Meet at St. Finian’s Church, Main Street, Newcastle. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Clondalkin
Wednesday 27th August 7:30pm. Meet at the Round Tower, Tower Road, Clondalkin. Guide: Bernadine Nic Giolla Phadraig.

Saggart
Friday 29th August 11 am. Meet at Saggart Parish Church, Main Street, Saggart. Guide: Liam Roche

Palmerstown
Saturday 30th August 11am. Meet at the Coach House, Old Lucan Road, Palmerstown. Guide: Hugh O’Connor.

Rathfarnham
Saturday 6th September 11am. Meet at the Anne Devlin statue at the junction of Butterfield Avenue and Main Street, Rathfarnham. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Lucan
Thursday 11th September 11am. Part of the Lucan Festival. Meet at the Topaz Garage, Old Lucan Road, Lucan. Guide: Joe Byrne.

Can’t make these walks? You can explore the heritage of South Dublin County in your own time using our audio guides at http://heritagewalks.sdcc.ie/

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Dancehall Days in Clondalkin

As part of Clondalkin Library’s celebration of Culture Night 2014, we are very interested to hear from people who remember the Mayfair Ballroom or any other venue in the Clondalkin area which was used as a dancehall or social venue in the 1950’s and 1960’s – including Clondalkin Library itself! Did you go there? What was it like? Do you remember the music and the bands? Did you go to the Irish music sessions at Clondalkin Library? Who did you go with? We would particularly love to hear from you if you have any old photographs.

We want to build up a picture through comments, reminiscences and photos from people who have experienced the social music scene in Clondalkin at the time. All contributions will form part of an exhibition and a special library event for Culture Night on Friday 19th September.

If you would like to contribute to this very special event, please get in touch with the library. Tel: 01-4593315 or email clondalkin@sdublincoco.ie.

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal, which links the River Liffey to the River Shannon, is one of the finest amenities available to us in South Dublin County. The Grand Canal enters South Dublin County at the Third Lock which can be found beside the Blackhorse Luas station. It extends through the neighbourhoods of Bluebell, Clondalkin and Lucan until it passes into Co Kildare near Hazelhatch.

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It has served us well for over 250 years. When construction began in 1756, it was one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken on this island. It took nearly 50 years to build. In it’s heyday it was a thriving commercial waterway. It provided a crucial artery for transporting agricultural produce from the midlands to Dublin and on to England. In the opposite direction, importers from England relied on the canal to carry their produce all over Ireland. Probably the most important product to be found on the canal through the years was porter. Guinness had their own barges and bred their own horses for the task of hauling the black-stuff to the four corners of Ireland.

Photograph of cottages by the Grand Canal in Clondalkin, in 1926

Photograph of cottages by the Grand Canal in Clondalkin, in 1926

Things didn’t always run smoothly on this busy stretch of water. In December 1792, there was a major accident near Clondalkin. A passage boat left Dublin bound for Athy. But along the way, one-hundred and fifty people, many of them drunk, forced their way onto barge. The captain warned them that they had overloaded the boat and it would capsize if they did not leave. No one paid any attention until the barge reached the 8th Lock where it capsized. Five men, four women and two children drowned. The rest of the passengers escaped.

These days the Grand Canal is a much safer place. The last working cargo barge passed through the canal in 1960. It has been beautifully restored in the last few decades and has found a new life as a leisure amenity and a sanctuary for wildlife. Here in South Dublin we are fortunate to have one of the finest stretches of the Grand Canal Way, a 117km long-distance walking trail that follows the towpath of the canal from Lucan to Shannon Harbour. More suitable for a Sunday afternoon ramble is the 8.5km Greenway between the Third Lock at Blackhorse and the Twelfth Lock at Lucan, which opened in June 2010.