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.


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.


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.


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:


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

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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


World War II: the Templeogue connection

In 1940, no 245 Templeogue Road, a house named “Konstanz” was occupied by Mr. Stephen Carroll Held, the adopted son of a German, Michael Held. Michael Held had emigrated to Ireland in 1890 and married an Irishwoman. Stephen Held worked at the firm of Michael Held and Sons Ltd who operated as sheet metal workers at 72 Francis Street.

Stephen Held's home, Konstanz, on the Templeogue Road

Stephen Held’s home, Konstanz, on the Templeogue Road

In April 1940, Stephen Held travelled  to Germany as an agent for the IRA. A month later a German officer, Dr. Hermann Goertz, arrived in Ireland by parachute, and having made contact with the IRA was placed for safety in Mr. Held’s house. Of his stay in Templeogue, Goertz later wrote, “I was treated with true Irish hospitality”. He met with Stephen Hayes, Chief of Staff of the IRA while staying at Konstanz.

He was there for only a few weeks when, on 22 May, the house was raided by detectives. Goertz escaped through the back gardens and got away on foot. He was eventually rounded up the following year and interned for the remainder of the war. In September 1946 all the German internees were released, but were re-arrested in April 1947, for the purpose of deporting them to Germany. On May 23, when the final arrangements were made, Hermann Goertz took his own life by swallowing potassium cyanide. He was buried in Deansgrange cemetery, his coffin draped withthe swastika flag. His remains were later moved to the German Cemetery at Glencree.

Stephen Held was arrested at his home on the night of the police raid. He was tried and sentenced to five years in prison. At the trial, the court was told of the discovery in his house of 20,000 American dollars, a wireless transmitter, a German military cap and badges and documents giving details of Irish harbours and bridges and distribution of the Defence Forces. Held was released from prison in 1946. In the 1960s he left Ireland for the United States.

History & Heritage 2013 at the County Library, Tallaght

The County Library, Tallaght is delighted to present a series of history and heritage events and exhibitions for 2013, beginning with the national Heritage Week in August and running until the end of September.

Templeogue Graveyard

Templeogue Graveyard


Saturday 17th August 11:00 am-1:00 pm Guided Walk of Historic Templeogue with local historian Tomás Maher. Meet at the Templeogue Inn (The Morgue) at 11 am.

Tuesday 20th August 7:00 pm Social Conditions in Dublin Prior to the Lockout. A talk by Catriona Crowe, Special Projects Director and Manager of the Irish Census Online Project at the National Archives of Ireland.

Thursday 22nd August 7:00 pm Did your Ancestor Fight at the Battle of the Boyne? Learn to explore military genealogy from this period of Irish History with a talk by staff from the Battle of the Boyne Centre.

Thursday 29th August 7:00 pm The History of Templeogue, Greenhills and Perrystown, a talk by local historian Tomás Maher. Please note that this event takes place in Greenhills Community Centre. 

Thursday 5th September 7:00 pm Poverty Paraded in the Streets, 1913: the mothers and children. Talk by Ann Matthews, historian, author of Renegades: Irish Republican Women, 1900-1922, and contributor to A Capital in Conflict: Dublin City and the 1913 Lockout.

Tuesday 10th September 7:00 pm Tallaght in Transition from Ancient to Modern. Tallaght Historical Society lecture with Chris Flood.

Friday 20th September Irish History Live will bring Dublin’s tenements and the 1916 Rising to life. Suitable for children aged 8+. Session 1 – 3:30 pm, session 2 – 5:30 pm.

Friday 20th September 6:00- 8:00 pm. Culture Night 2013 at the County Library.  Where Literary and Historical Figures Come to Life! Meet Jonathan Harker, as he reads from his journal, the frightful events that occurred in Count Dracula’s castle. Listen with delight as Oscar WIlde tells the story of The Selfish Giant. He will then introduce us to his latest play, The Importance of Being Earnest, where Lady Bracknell and Algenon are about to have afternoon tea. Visit Seán O’Casey’s tenement Dublin and gaze with wonder as Mrs. Gogan gossips about Nora Clitheroe’s antics. Be inspired by Big Jim Larkin’s speech from Dublin Castle, and Padraig Pearse’s graveside oration. For children, Irish History Live will bring the days of the Dublin tenements in 1913 to life. These wonderful snapshots of Irish literature and history will be supported by the music of Enda Reilly and Stephen James Smith. All welcome!

Saturday 5th October 10 am-1:00 pm. Genealogy Advice Clinic. Have you hit a brick wall with your family history research, or just don’t know where to begin? Book in for a 30 minute one-on-one advice clinic with our expert! Booking essential. Phone 01 4620073.

Jim Larkin


Thursday 1st – Friday 16th August. 100 Years of Croke Park

Monday 19th August – Friday 27th September. 1913 Lockout. Includes stunning photographs of Dublin’s tenement life from the collection of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Monday 19th August – Friday 27th September. Postcard Views of South Dublin County. A photographic exhibition as part of The Gathering 2013.

All events are free, and all are welcome. The only event that requires booking is the Genealogy Clinic on 28th September. For queries, contact The County Library on 01 4620073 or We’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

19th Century Bronze Age Finds at Greenhills

Our knowledge of the Bronze Age is informed by chance discoveries and survival of artefacts from this period of prehistory. The main evidence for the period consists of metalwork finds in a number of graves and the pottery found alongside. The Greenhills area was particularly suited for sand quarrying and a number of archaeological finds from the Bronze Age were discovered from time to time during the late 19th century.

Drawing of the Urns found at Greenhills

Drawing of the Urns found at Greenhills

T J Longfield wrote to the Royal Irish Academy of how he had been approached in early 1892 by a dealer, a Mr Halbert, with an offer of two fragments of an ancient cinerary (burial) urn. He was told that they had been found on the east side of a hill near Green Hills between Tymon Castle and Greenhills. A few days later he went to Greenhills to investigate and returned to Mr Longfield with some further fragments from the large urn and fragments from a separate smaller urn and also two flint scapers. Longfield said that the large urn which he had pieced together was one of the most beautifully and richly decorated urns to have been found in Ireland.

On Tuesday 2nd August 1898 two men approached Lt Col G.T. Plunkett, Director of the Dublin Museum with earthen vessels which they had packed with straw and carried in nosebags. They had two further parcels containing fragments of pottery and pieces of bone. These finds had also been discovered at Greenhills and the men described how they were found in a small chamber lined with stones (a cist burial). Plunkett impressed upon the men the importance of preserving the area of the find and that it would be of more value if kept intact rather than removing pieces for sale. A photographer was sent to record the find before it was removed to the museum. The entire cist was encased in wood and although it weighed three tons it was removed intact to the museum. The cist measured twenty four inches high on one side by nineteen inches on the other side by nineteen inches high internally. Each side was formed by single slabs of stone.

There were three vessels associated with the find. The largest urn measuring twelve inches was inverted over a quantity of burnt bones thought to be the remains of one man. A smaller vessel was found under this large one which measured three and a half inches and there was also a food vessel in the cist that was seven and a half inches high. The quality of the pottery was regarded as good by Plunkett. The sand diggers had also earlier found two earthen vessels that were not enclosed by a cist which broke as the men struck them when digging and these were the fragments that they had brought to the museum. The men also said that they had found a skeleton two months previously two feet below the surface of the quarry. It had been buried in a north south alignment with the head pointing north.

In August 1898 another urn was found by the men employed in the pit and they covered it and informed the museum as requested. It was another burial urn inverted on a small flagstone with one cremated interment and a small pin made of bone.

According to the archaeologist Paddy Healy one complete vessel was kept by the sandpit owner Laurence Dunn which Plunkett stated was highly decorated however some of the Greenhills finds are in the National Museum. All of these remains were found in a flat cemetery with no indications of a raised area such as a mound. The burials would have dated from approximately 1,000 to 1,500 years ago.

Colette Allen, South Dublin Libraries



Plunkett G.T.  On a Cist and Urns found at Greenhills, Tallaght, Co Dublin

Longfield, T.H. Note on some cinerary urns found at Tallaght, County of Dublin