The Green Fields: the Road to War – A work of documentary theatre on the role of Ireland in the Great War

Over 200,000 Irishmen served in the British Army during the First World War, the biggest single deployment of Irish soldiers in the country’s military history. ‘The Road to War’ uses speeches, songs and letters from 1914 and 1915 to chart Ireland’s journey into the Great War, from the brass bands on the quayside to the horrors of the Dardanelles. We follow the poet and journalist Tom Kettle MP from the recruitment platform to the Somme, and trace the momentous first year of the conflict through the speeches of Redmond and Carson, the writings of Pearse and Connolly, and the letters home of ordinary Irish soldiers. “Green Fields” uses soldiers’ letters from the Monica Roberts Collection, part of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive in the Dublin City Library and Archive.

With Bryan Murray, John Cronin and Danny McColgan; Writer and director Kevin McGee; Original music from the period courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy of Music under composer Jack Cawley.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

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Women at War 1914-18: History Ireland Hedge School

The Great War was Europe’s first ‘total war’ which affected whole populations, male and female, and not just the men fighting in the trenches. How did Irish women respond to the war? To what extent was their response determined by the divisions in society at large – class, unionist/nationalist and Irish Volunteers/National Volunteers? In particular, how did Cumann na mBan, whose centenary also occurs this year, respond to the latter split? And to what extent was
femininity used (and abused) in propaganda for and against the war?

History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, chairs a lively discussion on these and related matters with his panel of experts—John Borgonovo (UCC), Fionnuala Walsh (TCD), Liz Gillis (Kilmainham Jail) and Mary McAuliffe (UCD Women’s Studies).

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

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The Warsaw Uprising of 1944

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. In August 1944, the Polish resistance Home Army fought in vain to free the city from Nazi occupation. After 63 days of fighting and around 200,000 deaths, most of them civilians, the Polish city was entirely razed by the German army on the orders of Hitler.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the rising, we were delighted to welcome Tymoteusz Prochnik, head of the Archive Department of the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The Museum was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw and offers visitors a moving tribute to those Warsaw residents who fought and died in one of the most painful and heroic episodes in the whole of the Second World War.

Zbyszek Zalinski has lived in Ireland since 2001. He is a presenter and researcher on RTÉ Radio 1.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

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Dublin in the Viking World – Sean Duffy and Philip Parker with moderator Elva Johnston

What was Dublin like in the Viking era and what status did the city enjoy in the greater Viking world? In this anniversary year of the Battle of Clontarf, two historians bring their expert knowledge to this debate.

Sean Duffy’s Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf offers a new interpretation of the role of the Vikings in Irish affairs and explains how Brian emerged from obscurity to attain the high-kingship of Ireland because of his exploitation of the Viking presence.

Philip Parker is the author of The Northmen’s Fury: a History of the Viking World which describes how a region at the edge of Europe came to dominate and to terrorise much of the rest of the continent for nearly three centuries.

Elva Johnston is a lecturer in history at University College Dublin.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

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Killers of the King – Charles Spencer in conversation with Jane Ohlmeyer

January, 1649. After seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain’s history, Parliament faced a problem: what to do with Charles I, a defeated king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and sentenced him to death. On a scaffold outside Whitehall, in an event unique in English history, the King of England was executed. After the Restoration, his son, Charles II enacted a deadly wave of retribution against the ‘regicides’.

Bestselling historian Charles Spencer brings us a powerful tale of revenge from the dark heart of royal history and a fascinating insight into the dangers of political and religious allegiance in Stuart England.

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer is Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin, and Vice-Provost for Global Relations.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 26th September 2014.

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Remembering the Great War – Sir Hew Strachan in conversation with John Horne

Sir Hew Strachan is one of the world’s foremost experts on the First World War. His three-volume history of the conflict, the first of which was published in 2001, is likely to become the standard academic reference work on the war. Max Hastings called it ‘one of the most impressive books of modern history in a generation’.

The centenary commemorations of the Great War have fuelled an intense debate on the nature of that epic cataclysm and Professor Strachan’s discussion with Trinity’s John Horne was one of the highlights of the festival.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of the History of War at All Souls Oxford.

John Horne is Professor of Modern European History at Trinity College Dublin.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 28th September 2014.

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Altered Pasts: counterfactuals in history

Richard J.  Evans in conversation with Diarmuid Ferriter

The question ‘what if?’ has always fascinated historians. Over the past few decades alternative history has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. In his new book, Altered Pasts, Richard J. Evans turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on the subject. Most importantly, Evans takes counterfactual history seriously, looking at the insights, pitfalls and intellectual implications of changing one thread in the weave of history.

Sir Richard J. Evans is Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. He is best known for his research on the history of Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly the Third Reich.

Diarmuid Ferriter is Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 26th September 2014.

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Dublin: the making of a capital city

With David Dickson, Mary E. Daly, Colm Lennon and moderator Raymond Gillespie

Dublin has many histories: for a thousand years a modest urban settlement on the quiet waters of the Irish Sea, for the last four hundred it has experienced great  – and often astonishing – change. A quartet of Irish historians discuss the provenance of Dublin as a nation’s capital. From second city of Empire in Georgian times to post-Act of Union decline, from hotbed of revolution to Free State capital, these and other aspects of Dublin’s history are debated, using as a touchstone David Dickson’s magnificent new book on the history of the city.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 26th September 2014.

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The Concubine who Launched Modern China

Jung Chang in conversation with Caitríona Crowe.
Empress Dowager Cixi; The Concubine Who Launched Modern China is Wild Swans author Jung Chang‘s first book in eight years, and tells the extraordinary story of a concubine who rose through the ranks by producing an heir and on the death of Xianfeng in 1861, installed herself as sole regent for her son. She went on to rule China for 47 years. Under her stewardship the ancient country attained all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, telegraph, and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women’s liberation, and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Jung Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a die-hard conservative and cruel despot.
Caitríona Crowe is head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

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Duel Personalities

James Larkin, William Martin Murphy and the 1913 Lockout.
With Historian Padraig Yeates & Actors Bryan Murray, Barry McGovern The 1913 Lockout convulsed the city of Dublin for several months and was by any reckoning the most significant industrial dispute in Irish history. But the clash was not only between 20,000 workers and 300 employers, it was also a battle between two extraordinary men, William Martin Murphy for the employers and James Larkin for the ITGWU. For Murphy, James Larkin was a dangerous revolutionary hell-bent on destroying his business. For Larkin, Murphy was a class enemy determined to prevent the unionisation of the workforce, thus perpetuating the grinding poverty of the Dublin slums. The antagonism between these men is captured in some of the memorable speeches they gave in 1913 and this event dramatises them with a leading Lockout historian and two of Ireland’s best-known actors.

Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

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Unofficial Histories

With Donal Fallon, Mark Little, Jane Ohlmeyer & moderator Joe Duffy
History is written, it is said, by the victors or by those official and elite historians of the winning side. But there are many other versions of the past. In Unofficial Histories the panel will discuss how society produces, presents, and consumes history and explore the interactions between competing and corresponding impulses in history-making: the scholarly and the political; the academic and the everyday; the traditional media and the new social media which can beam news across continents in an instant. Donal Fallon writes primarily on the social history of the Irish capital and runs Come Here To Me, a group blog that focuses on the life and culture of Dublin city. Mark Little runs Storyful, the first news agency of the social media age filtering breaking news amid the noise of the internet.
Professor Jane Ohlmeyer is Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin.
Joe Duffy is the presenter of Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1.

Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

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The Downfall of Money

Frederick Taylor in conversation with David Murphy. The early years of the Weimar Republic in Germany witnessed the most complete and terrifying unravelling of a major country’s financial system to have occurred in modern times. The story of the financial crisis has a clear resonance now, when the world is anxious once more about what money is, what it means and how we can judge if its value is true.  Taylor’s new book, The Downfall of Money; Germany’s hyperinflation and the destruction of the Middle Class reveals the real causes of the crisis, what this collapse meant to ordinary people, and also traces its connection to Germany’s subsequent catastrophic political history, to provide a timely, fresh and surprising look at this chilling period in history.
David Murphy is a writer and the Business Editor of RTÉ News.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 28th September 2013.

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The Story of the Jews

Simon Schama in conversation with Myles Dungan. Simon Schama’s book, The Story of the Jews, is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. It takes you to unimagined places. And a great story unfolds. Not, as often imagined, of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world imprinted by many diverse peoples; from Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story. Simon Schama ranks among the world’s most popular communicators on matters historical and we’re delighted to offer this opportunity to hear him discuss his new book with Myles Dungan.
Myles Dungan is a historian and presenter of The History Show on RTÉ Radio 1.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

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Truth, Lies and Historical Fiction

With Robert Goddard, Katharine McMahon and Tim Severin and+ moderator Sean Rocks. Cynics characterise historical fiction as flawed and unreliable history which is to misunderstand its essential nature. History tells us what people do; historical fiction helps us imagine how they felt. And yet, historical novelists differ hugely in their modes of telling stories. Is fidelity to established historical facts strictly to be observed? How much licence may an author use when dealing with historical figures and periods? Is invention more important than research or vice versa?
Historical fiction is currently enjoying a period of massive popularity and here is a marvellous opportunity to hear three leading practitioners discuss their personal approaches to the genre.
Sean Rocks is the presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

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The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945

Richard Overy in conversation with Robert Gerwarth. The Bombing War is a major new book on one of the most controversial military issue of World War Two by one of Britain’s greatest historians, Richard Overy. It is the first book to examine seriously not just the most well-known parts of the campaign, but the significance of bombing on many other fronts – the German use of bombers on the Eastern Front for example (as well as much newly discovered material on the more familiar ‘Blitz’ on Britain), or the Allied campaigns against Italian cities. The result is a rich, gripping picture of the Second World War and the terrible military, technological and ethical issues at play in the conflict.
Robert Gerwarth is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for War Studies at University College Dublin.
Recorded at Dublin Castle, Printworks venue on 27th September 2013.

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