Posts from the �s’ category

St. Stephen’s Green Garrison, 1916/1940s

Souvenir Placard

This somewhat gory souvenir placard recalls the aftermath of the Easter Rising

Michael Mallin’s garrison of 200 men was camped across the road in the Green during the Rising. (Countess Markiewicz was his second- in-command). The British forces made use of the high buildings surrounding the square to gain the upper hand on the rebels.

Each morning both sides halted fire in order to let the ducks in the Green be fed.

Eventually the rebels were forced to retreat to the Royal College of Surgeons on the other side of the Green. The casualties are remembered on this gory souvenir placard from the 1940s; as you can see, Mallin was executed for his part in the Rising.

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Watch a documentary about the Easter Rising:

The Art of Memory – James Hanley-Rha, 1940s

The Art of Memory

Ten of Ireland’s most accomplished artists have each produced a piece that reflects on some aspect of life in Dublin during the 20th Century

James Hanley-Rha deals with a key moment in 1940s Dublin – the bombing by German aircraft of the North Strand area of the city, where he lives and works. Whether accidental or otherwise, the killing of some 23 innocent Dubliners and significant destruction of property brought Nazi aggression to these neutral shores. He describes the event using an invented illustrated broadsheet, referencing how the events were told at the time, which includes his original artwork as well as photographs of the area.

With thanks to James Hanley-Rha

Watch an interview about the North Strand Bombing;

Alex Findlater and Co. Tea Chest, 1940s

Pure Indiand Tea by Alex Findlater and Co's

Findlater’s was a well-known grocers

Alex Findlater and Co. started life in 1823, trading whiskey, wine and beer. The company expanded rapidly, adding general groceries to its alcohol trade, and became a major institution, with branches all over the city. Ultimately, pressure from supermarkets became too much for Findlaters’ more traditional service – as William Findlater had predicted at a 1902 staff meeting:

“This brings up the question of packet goods, which is one of the curses of the trade, unless they bear our own brand. If this is encouraged much further it will mean the passing out of the grocer, and he will be replaced by a mere hander-out of packet goods, or, we will have nothing but girls behind our counters, which may be unpleasant to many of the young men present!”

With thanks to Alex Findlater

Watch a short clip of the rapid progress of Dublin, showing clips from 1900 and 1991:

Brendan Bracken by Sean Dixon (Pencil Sketch), 1941

Brendan Bracken Pencil Sketch by Sean Dixon, 1941Bracken was an adventurer who tried to disguise his roots (Dublin/Tipperary), claiming instead to be Australian

A Tory MP at the age of 28, he published both the Economist and the Financial Times, and was loyal to Churchill when the latter had been cast into the political wilderness after the First World War. In 1940, when Ireland practiced scrupulous neutrality, Brendan Bracken played a key role in Churchill’s succession as Prime Minister, and went on to serve as Minister of Information for three years. Viscount Bracken died in 1958 at the age of 57. He is the subject of an excellent biography by fellow Dubliner Charles Lysaght.

Fianna Fáil Election Posters, 1948

Vote Fianna Fail

Workers vote Fianna FailFianna Fáil had a tangled birth in the Civil War, and first took power in 1932

Sinn Féin split into pro-and Anti-Treaty factions, with de Valera leading the Anti-Treaty faction. Anti-treaty Sinn Féin boycotted the Dáil for several years after the end of the Civil War until a faction around Éamon de Valera split and created Fianna Fáil.

The Party first came to power in 1932 and were long the most popular party in Ireland. The 1948 election was controversial as Éamon de Valera introduced the Electoral Amendment Act, which was seen as an attempt to ensure the continued dominance of Fianna Fáil. But de Valera failed to retain power after the other parties joined together to create the first coalition government.

Permanent Collection

Portrait of Maureen O’Hara, 1940s

Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O’Hara is one of only a handful of great actors born in Ireland

The great Maureen O’Hara, star of The Quiet Man and Miracle on 34th Street, was born in Ranelagh in 1920. Now aged 93, she lives in Glengarriff in Cork. O’Hara trained as an actor at the Abbey Theatre and the Ena Mary Burke School of Drama and Elocution in Dublin. Her father owned shares in Shamrock Rovers F.C. and she remains a fan.

With thanks to Maureen O’Hara

Watch a clip of Maureen O’Hara in ‘The Quiet Man’ 

James Joyce’s Death Mask, 1941

James Joyce death mask

A facsimile of Joyce’s death mask, made after he died in Zurich in 1941

On 11 January, 1941, James Joyce – who was 58 years old – underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer in a Zurich hospital. The following day he fell into a coma, before waking, briefly, and calling for his wife and children. They were still on their way to the hospital when he died 15 minutes later.

While two senior Irish diplomats were apparently in Switzerland at the time, neither attended Joyce’s funeral, and the Irish government subsequently declined Nora Joyce’s offer to permit the repatriation of his remains. This facsimile of Joyce’s death mask commemorates our greatest novelist.

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Listen to a reading from Ulysses by James Joyce:

Hospitals’ Trust Letter Head, 1947

Hospitals' trust

Letter head of the infamous Irish Hospital’s Sweepstake

The Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake was established by the Free State government in 1930 as a way to finance the country’s health care system. Many tickets were sold illegally in Britain and the US.

In 1940 the Sweepstake moved to a permanent home in newly-built Ballsbridge offices, designed by John Joseph Robinson. The building was seen as the most striking example of Robinson’s modernist art-deco designs. The final Sweepstake was held in January 1986.

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Watch a video showing New York winners of the Sweepstakes:

Ration Book, 1948

General ration book

Despite the Free State’s neutrality, the country suffered some rationing during the war years

During the ‘Emergency’ the Free State had a rationing system like that in Great Britain. Sugar, tea, butter, margarine, bread, flour and clothing were among the many items for which ration tickets were required. Poor families were hardest hit by the restrictions as bread was a central part of their diet.

The most unpopular figure at the time was not Minister for Supplies Seán ‘half-ounce’ Lemass, but the notorious ‘glimmer man’ who went door-to-door to ensure that citizens were not using gas after hours.

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Watch a video of the Declaration of the Republic, just one year later:

Postcard from George Bernard Shaw, 1943

In 1943, George Bernard Shaw was asked to predict when the Second World War would end.

In 1943, George Bernard Shaw was asked to predict when the Second World War would end.

In 1943 the playwright George Bernard Shaw was living in London. Shaw went to school here on St. Stephen’s Green, and never lost his accent, even though he left Dublin at 20.

A magazine called The Strand asked a number of writers when they thought the Second World War would end. “Nothing doing,” Shaw writes here, “I never prophesy until I know; and nobody yet knows where those two will end. My best guess is that Adolf will enjoy a dignified retirement in the ViceRegal Lodge in Dublin, which is presumably to let at present.”

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Watch a documentary about Nazis in Ireland after World War II: