August 2016

History Selection

Galway fish market
Fish market
Galway fish market
Fish market
Galway, Eyre Square
Eyre Square
Marian procession in Galway
Marian procession
Galway, Eglinton Street Barracks
Eglinton Street Barracks
Galway Claddagh

Ireland in 1968

January 8th: Taoiseach Jack Lynch met Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neil for talks in Dublin.

January 15th: Birth of Tom Murphy, future actor, in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

January 20th: Birth of Simon Cumbers, future BBC journalist who would be murdered in Saudi Arabia.

February 21st: Birth of Michael Duignan, future hurler and manager, in Banagher, County Offaly.

March 10th: The Minister for Education, Donogh O'Malley, collapsed and died while campaigning in County Clare.

March 17th: A seat to commemorate the poet Patrick Kavanagh was unveiled alongside the Grand Canal in Dublin.

March 21st: Tom Murphy's play Famine was first produced in Dublin, at the Abbey Theatre.

Donagh O'Malley

Donagh O'Malley, Minister for Education

Wreckage of St Phelim

Wreckage of the St Phelim

March 24th: The St Phelim, an Aer Lingus aircraft, plunged into the Irish Sea off the Tuskar Rock, with 57 casualties.

April 5th: The Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company took over operations from the Ulster Transport Authority.

April 27th: The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association held a rally protesting the banning of a Republican commemoration parade.

May 14th: Belgian royalty, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola, began a state visit to Ireland and a state dinner was held at Áras an Uachtaráin.

May 15th: The Belgian royals visited Trinty College, University College, the National Museum, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, before attending a state banquet at Dublin Castle.

May 16th: The King and Queen attended a party at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

May 16th: In a parliamentary by-election in Derry, the Ulster Unionists retained the seat.

May 17th: King Baudouin played hurling with the President, de Valera, and the Taoiseach Jack Lynch.

May 29th: President de Valera opened the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park in New Ross, Co. Wexford.

June 6th: Ireland paid tribute to assassinated United States Senator Robert Kennedy.

June 20th: Austin Currie, Nationalist Party MP, began a protest about discrmination in housing allocation by 'squatting' in a house in Caledon.

June 22nd: The Derry Housing Action Committee staged a protest by blocking the Lecky Road in the Bogside area of Derry.

July 3rd: The Derry Housing Action Committee held a sit-down protest on the Craigavon Bridge.

King Baudouin playing hurley

King Baudouin playing hurling

Gerry Fitt

Gerry Fitt

July 28th: Birth of Eoin Collins, future tennis player, in Dublin.

August 22nd: The Society of Labour Lawyers published an 'interim report' about discrimination in Northern Ireland, which was rejected by unionists.

August 24th: First Civil Rights March, led by the Campaign for Social Justice, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights ASsociation and other groups. Although the rally was banned, it passed without incident.

August 27th: The Derry Housing Action Committee organised another protest.

August 28th: Gerry Fitt, MP, tabled a House of Commons motion criticising RUC action in Dungannon on the 24th.

September 15th: Birth of James O'Higgins Norman, future academic and author, in Dublin.

September 18th: George Best, from Belfast, was the star attraction when Manchester United beat Waterford City at Lansdowne Road.

October 5th: Police in Derry baton-charged a civil rights march.

October 7th: Tom Murphy's The Orphans was first produced in Dublin, at the Gate Theatre.

October 8th: Twenty new traffic wardens were introduced onto Dublin's streets.

October 9th: People's Democracy was formed following a student demonstration in Belfast.

October 16th: Constitutional Referendum on two points: more specific constituency boundaries and moving from proportional representation to First Past the Post. Both were rejected.

October 25th: The New University of Ulster opened in Coleraine.

Violence at the civil rights march

Violence at the civil rights march

William Craig

William Craig

October 27th: The Standard Time Act 1968 stipulated that Irish Standard Time is UTC+1 (Central European Time). Clocks would not be turned back one hour for winter.

October 30th: Taoiseach Jack Lynch called for an end to partition to resolve the unrest.

November 2nd: Death of Don Davern, Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary South, aged 33.

November 7th: Death of Patrick Pearse's sister Margaret Mary.

December 11th: William Craig, NI Minister for Home Affairs, was dismissed from the Northern Ireland cabinet.

December 20th: People's Democracy announced a march from Belfast to Derry.

Traditional Fishing Methods in Ireland

Landing fish at Clogherhead, Co. Louth.

Oyster-fishing at weir, Clarenbridge, Co. Galway.

© UCD Digital Library

Irish History on Film

Charles Haughey

A Reading Book in Irish History

Patrick Weston Joyce

Originally published: 1900

Patrick Weston Joyce


Our old books contain very full information regarding the Irish people, and how they lived, more than a thousand years ago.

In early times Ireland was almost everywhere covered with forests; and there were great and dangerous bogs and marshes, overgrown with reeds, moss, and coarse grass. Many of these bogs still remain, but they are not nearly so large or dangerous as they were then. Great tracts of country were uninhabited, so that the whole population was much less than it is now.

The people hunted and fished a great deal, partly for food, partly to rid the country of noxious creatures, and partly for sport; for the forests were alive with wild animals of all kinds, and the rivers and lakes teemed with fish. But no one then thought it worth while to hunt foxes and hares for sport, as people do now. They had much grander game:--wild boars with long and dangerous tusks; gigantic deer; and fierce wolves that lurked in caves and thick woods. In the cleared parts of the country there was much pasture and tillage various kinds of corn and vegetables were grown, and the land was very fertile and well watered with springs and rivulets.

There was more pasture than tillage; and the pasture land was not fenced in, but was grazed in common. The law was very particular in laying down rules about the fences of tillage lands--that they should be properly made, and that when two farms lay next each other, each man should do half the fencing work. Oxen were generally used for ploughing: horses seldom. Generally two oxen were put to one plough, but sometimes four, and sometimes even six. While one man held the plough, another walked in front to lead the animals.

On account of the great forests and bogs, there were many large districts where it was hard to go long distances across country from place to place: and often impossible. But in all the inhabited parts there were roads or cleared paths. The roads of those times were however very rough, and not nearly so good as our present roads. Rivers were crossed by bridges made of rough planks or wickerwork--for there were no stone bridges--or by wading at shallow fords, or by little ferry boats.

The people lived in houses almost always made of timber, generally round-shaped or oval, but sometimes four-cornered and oblong like our present houses. In order to keep off wild beasts and robbers, there was a high embankment of earth, with a deep trench, round every house. Many of these earthworks still remain all over Ireland, and are well known by the names _lis_, _rath_, fort, &c.; and some have high mounds commonly called moats.

The food of the people was not very different from what it is at present, except that they had no potatoes, which were brought to Ireland for the first time about 300 years ago: and there was no tea or coffee. They used oats, wheat, rye, and barley, ground and made into bread; fish; and for those who could afford it, the flesh of various animals, either boiled or roast. Oatmeal porridge or stirabout was in very general use, especially for children. They ground their corn with small watermills, or with handmills called querns, one of which was kept in almost every house. Querns were in use before the earliest time that our history reaches; and water-mills were introduced before the arrival of St. Patrick. In those early ages there was no sugar, and honey was greatly valued, so that beehives were kept everywhere.

For drink, they had, besides plain water and milk, ale, and a sweet sort of liquor called mead both of which were made at home, and often wine, which was brought from the continent. There was then no whiskey.

In those days there were no hotels or inns as there are now, where a person could have board and lodging for payment; but they were not much needed then, as travellers were otherwise well provided for. Besides the monasteries, which, as we shall see further on, were always open and free to wayfarers, there were, all through the country, what were called "Houses of public hospitality." The keeper of one of those houses was called a _Brugaid_ and sometimes a _Beetagh_; and his office was considered very high and honourable. A brugaid or beetagh had to keep an open house for travellers who were always welcome, and received bed and food free of charge. He was obliged by law to keep constantly in hands a large stock of provisions; and he should have a certain number of beds and all other necessary household furniture. To enable a brugaid to keep up such an expensive establishment, he had the house itself and a large tract of land, free of rent and taxes, besides other liberal allowances.

The law required that there should be several open roads leading to the residence of every brugaid; and that a light should always be kept burning in the lawn at night to guide travellers to the house.

The people dressed well according to their means. Both men and women were fond of bright coloured garments, which were not hard to procure, as the art of dyeing in all the various hues was well understood. It was usual for the same person to wear clothes of several brilliant colours: and sometimes the long outside mantle worn by men and women was striped and spotted with purple, yellow, green, or other dyes like Joseph's coat of many colours. Those who were able to afford it wore rings, bracelets, necklaces, gorgets, brooches, and other ornaments, made of gold, silver, and a sort of white bronze.

The Irish metal workers were very skilful. They made brooches, rings, bracelets, croziers, crosses, and other such articles, in gold, silver, whitish bronze, gems, and enamel, of which many have been found in the earth from time to time, and are now kept in museums: and some of them are so skilfully and beautifully wrought that no artificer of the present day can imitate them.

There were men of the several professions, such as medical doctors, lawyers, judges, builders, poets, historians: and all through the country were to be found tradesmen of the various crafts--carpenters, smiths, workers in gold, silver, and brass, ship and boat builders, masons, shoemakers, dyers, tailors, brewers, and so-forth: all working industriously and earning their bread under the old Irish laws, which were everywhere acknowledged and obeyed. Then there was a good deal of commerce with Britain and with Continental countries, especially France; and the home commodities, such as hides, salt, wool, etc., were exchanged for wine, silk, satin, and other goods not produced in Ireland.

From what has been said here, we may see that the ancient Irish were orderly and regular in their way of life--quite on a level in this respect with the people of those other European countries of the same period that had a proper settled government; and, it will be shown further on in this book, that they were famed throughout all Europe for Religion and Learning.

The greatest evil of the country was war; for the kings and chiefs were very often fighting with each other, which brought great misery on the poor people where the disturbances took place. But in those early times war was common in all countries; and in this respect there was no more trouble in Ireland than in England, Scotland, and the countries of the Continent.