January 11th 2023

Title ‘The Civil War in Dublin’
Speaker: John Dorney
Time: @ 7:45 PM
Location: Iona Pastoral Centre

John Dorney’s book: ‘The Civil War in Dublin: The fight for the Irish Capital 1922-1924’

“While the Irish Civil War first erupted in Dublin, playing out through the seizure and eventual recapture of the Four Courts, it quickly swept over the entire country. In ‘The Civil War in Dublin’ John Dorney extends his study of Dublin beyond the Four Courts surrender, delivering shocking revelations of calculated violence and splits within the pro-Treaty armed forces. Dorney’s exacting research, using primary sources and newly available eyewitness testimonies from both sides of the conflict, provides total insight into how the entire city of Dublin operated under conditions of disorder and bloodshed: how civilians and guerrillas controlled the streets, female insurgents operated alongside their male counterparts, the patterns of IRA violence and National Army counter-insurgency alternated, and – for the first time – how the pro-Treaty ‘Murder Gang’ emerged from Michael Collins’ IRA Intelligence Department, ‘the Squad’. The Civil War in Dublin brings the city to life through meticulous detail and reveals unsettling and shocking truths about the extreme actions taken by a burgeoning Irish Free State and its Anti-Treaty opponents”.

John Dorney via theirishstory.com

About the author:
“John Dorney is an independent historian and chief editor of the Irish Story website. He is the author of ‘Peace After the Final Battle: The Story of the Irish Revolution 1912-1924’ (2014) and ‘Griffith College Dublin: A History of its Campus’ (2013)”.
Source: amazon.co.uk
Image: theirishstory.com

The Four Courts ablaze during the battle, 30 June 1922

Brief background to the Battle of Dublin:
The ‘Battle of Dublin’ was a week of street battles in Dublin from 28 June to 5 July 1922 that marked the beginning of the Irish Civil War. Six months after the Anglo-Irish Treaty ended the recent Irish War of Independence, it was fought between the forces of the new Provisional Government and a section of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that opposed the Treaty.

The Irish Citizen Army also became involved in the battle, having supported the anti-Treaty IRA in the O’Connell Street area. The fighting began with an assault by Provisional Government forces on the Four Courts building, and ended in a decisive victory for the Provisional Government.
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Other sources: The Irish History Show: Episode 1 – The Civil War in Dublin and Cork via youtube.com

December 14th 2022 [CANCELLED]

Please note that this talk has bee cancelled due to the inclement weather conditions.

Title ‘Irish Lace in the 19th Century: From Elegance to Economics’
Speaker: Bernadine Nic Ghiolla Phádraig
Time: @ 7:45 PM
Location: Iona Pastoral Centre

Bernadine Nic Ghiolla Phádraig.

From Aóife: “If anyone has an interesting piece of lace to show that evening, maybe from the bottom drawer, feel free to bring it along. Raffle and mince pies to follow”.

Please click on any image below to open a photo gallery.

Links to original image sources:
1. Source: https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/112801165654663037/
2. Source:https://www.mendes.co.uk/19th.c.lace.page.2.html
3. Source: theebonswan.blogsot.com – – Image: https://knocklyonhistoricalsocietyhome.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/2bf23-sc8077.jpg
4. Source:https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/693624780086707383/
5. Source: https://cdn.globalauctionplatform.com/9d5ac8ce-cfad-4139-aebc-a80200a43c4f/408a9329-29f9-4264-9d91-ecaa68dc04fb/original.jpg – – Website: https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb
6. Source: https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/19th-century-irish-collar–17873729741578582/

November 9th 2022

Title ‘Rebel Stateman: The Life & Times of W.T. Cosgrave’
First President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State
Speaker: Liz Gillis & Catherine Scuffil
Time: @ 7:45 PM
Location: Iona Pastoral Centre

William Thomas Cosgrave (5 June 1880 – 16 November 1965) was an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as the president of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1932, leader of the Opposition in both the Free State and Ireland from 1932 to 1944, leader of Fine Gael from 1934 to 1944, founder and leader of Fine Gael’s predecessor, Cumann na nGaedheal, from 1923 to 1933, chairman of the Provisional Government from August 1922 to December 1922, the president of Dáil Éireann from September 1922 to December 1922, the minister for Finance from 1922 to 1923 and minister for Local Government from 1919 to 1922. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1921 to 1944. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Kilkenny constituency from 1918 to 1922.[1]

While Cosgrave never officially held the office of Taoiseach (the current title of Ireland’s prime minister, created in 1937), he is recognised to have been the first Taoiseach due to having been the Free State’s first head of government. His son, Liam, served as Taoiseach from 1973 to 1977.

Left image: Cosgrave (holding furled umbrella) visiting the sugar beet processing factory at Strawhall, County Carlow October 1926

Right image: Cosgrave (standing, far-right, wearing the star and sash of the Order of Pope Pius IX) representing the Irish Free State at the 1926 Imperial Conference in London, along with King George V and the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Source: wikipedia.org

About the Authors:

Liz Gillis is an author and historian from the Liberties. She has a Diploma in Classical Animation Studies and a Degree in Irish History. Liz currently works as a Researcher for the History Show on RTE Radio and has lectured at Champlain College since 2018. She was a Curatorial Assistant in RTE, specialising in researching the Easter Rising and a tour guide for many years in Kilmainham Gaol. Liz is the author of six books about the Irish Revolution. In 2018 Liz was a recipient of the Lord Mayor’s Award for her contribution to history.
Source: Champlain College.

Catherine Scuffil has an MA in Local History from Maynooth University. She is currently the Historian in Residence for Dublin’s South Central area which includes the historic Liberties and some of the city’s oldest suburbs. Catherine has written a number of local history books and an abridged version of her MA thesis was awarded the Old Dublin Society’s silver medal in 2018.
Source: History on Your Doorstep.

October 12th 2022

Title ‘The Country House as an Object of Curiosity’
Speaker: Dr. Patricia McCarthy
Time: @ 7:45 PM Apx. – N.B. The A.G.M. starts @ 7:30 PM
Location: Iona Pastoral Centre

Patricia is an architectural historian.  She has published widely in a number of  publications such as the Irish Georgian Society, Country Life and the Irish Arts Review. She has published 4 books, the most recent one published by the Four Courts Press is titled ‘Enjoying Claret in Ireland: a History of Amiable Excess’. She has contributed to two volumes of the Royal Irish Academy’s Art and Architecture of Ireland (2014).

P.S. At the meeting on 12 October at 7.30 p.m. we start with our A.G.M. – Subs for the coming year, more anon when the committee have had the opportunity of meeting. If anyone has a motion for the A.G.M. let me know before next weekend (8th Oct.).

This should be a great evening. Hoping to see you all there.

One Example of Patricia McCarthy’s Books:
Life in the Country House in Georgian Ireland
Publication date: 24th May 2016
ISBN: 9780300218862
Price: Hardcover €114.06; Paperback €27.09 via Amazon

Image: goodreads.com

For aristocrats and gentry in 18th-century Ireland, the townhouses and country estates they resided in were carefully constructed to accommodate their cultivated lifestyles. Based on new research from Irish national collections and correspondence culled from papers in private keeping, this book provides a vivid and engaging look at the various ways in which families tailored their homes to their personal needs and preferences. While remarkably flexible, these houses were arranged in accordance with their residents’ daily practices, demonstrating a distinction between public and private spaces, and the roles and arrangements of the servants in their purposeful layouts. With careful consideration given to both the practicality of everyday routine and the occasional special event, this book illustrates how the lives and houses of these people were inextricably woven together.

Dr Patricia McCarthy is an independent architectural historian based in Dublin.
Source: tcd.ie

About the Author:

Image: Dr. Patricia McCarthy

Trinity College Dublin
Bachelor of Arts, the History of Art and Architecture; Classical CivilisationBachelor of Arts.
PhD awarded in 2009: Dept. of the History of Art and Architecture thesis entitled: ‘The Planning, Layout and Use of Space in Irish Houses 1730 – 1830’.

University College Dublin
Diploma, History of European Painting

September 14th 2022

Title ‘Ireland’s Special Branch’
Speaker: Gerard Lovett
Time: @ 7:45 PM
Location: Iona Pastoral Centre

Gerard Lovett will speak to us about the content of his new book: Ireland’s Special Branch (see details below)

The book will be available to purchase. Helen Dunne of Wordwell, the publishers, will be there with books for sale on the night. The price is €20.00. This book took long years of research so congratulations are due to Gerard on his achievement.

This will be a live talk at the Iona Centre so please make a special effort to attend. The meeting starts at 7.45 p.m. Admission for members is €3 and for visitors €5. A Cupán Tae will follow. The AGM will be in October and is also the time for renewal of subs.

Hoping to see you all,


Ireland’s Special Branch: The inside story of their battle with the IRA and other groups 1922-1947.

Publication date: August 2022
ISBN: 978-1-913934-29-3
Price: €20

“A gang of police thugs.”

“Renegades and perverted types.”

These were just some of the ways in which the men and women of the Garda Special Branch were described by their enemies within the anti-Treaty IRA. What follows in this work is the gripping narrative of the often brutal and violent struggle for supremacy between these two sides.

It explores the foundation and the inner workings of a squad of detectives, initially called the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), based in Oriel House, Dublin, in August 1922 and their transition into what became known as the Special Branch. It further details the history of the turbulent decades which followed, and the regular confrontations with the IRA in which many officers of Ireland would make the ultimate sacrifice. 

About the Author:

Gerard Lovett is a retired member of An Garda Síochána and retired as a detective inspector in the Garda Special Branch in 2004. Since then, he was general secretary of the Garda Síochána Retired Members’ Association for seven years and was editor of their quarterly magazine Síocháin. He has written numerous articles on police history and has regularly given lectures to historical societies on both garda and RIC history, as well as famous historical murder cases.