Below are a selection of images taken from John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande, with a Discoverie of Woodkarne, which was published in 1581 AD. Dedicated to Philip Sidney, the book is largely a pro-English propaganda piece which praises the deputy-ship of Philip’s...Read More »
‘Archaeology is important because when archaeologists find something, they can see how things used to be in another time.
Like a memory.
Old people can remember when...Read More »
‘Bitter is the wind tonight
It tosses the ocean’s white hair
Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
Coursing on the Irish sea‘
(A translation by Kuno Meyer)
This anonymous poem is written in...Read More »
Today I spent a lovely morning in Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford. This picturesque fishing village is famous for its thatched cottages, many of which date from the 19th century. These traditional buildings are mainly of mud-wall construction and are thatched with...Read More »
A collection of images depicting 16th century Irish people. Although the majority of figures illustrated are soldiers and warriors, there are also some fine pictures of women, especially by the Flemish artist, Lucas d’Heere.
‘Irish as they stand accoutred being at the...Read More »
The year 795 AD saw a new force arrive on the Irish political scene, the Vikings. These seaborne warriors were to have a significant impact on Irish life....Read More »
In the late 18th century an English writer, Richard Twiss caused consternation in Ireland when his book, ‘A Tour in Ireland in 1775‘, was published. It painted the country and its inhabitants in a very poor light and was widely condemned...Read More »
Although now called the Liffey[i], in ancient times Dublin’s famous river was known by a different name, An Ruirthech. This loosely translates as ‘the stampeding one’[ii], a name which reflected...Read More »
Pangúr Bán is probably the most famous surviving poem from Early Ireland[i]. Composed by an Irish monk sometime around the 9th century AD, the text compares the scholar’s work with the activities of a pet cat, Pangúr Bán. It is now preserved in the Reichnenau Primer at St. Paul’s Abbey...Read More »
In 1070 AD[i] the forces of Turlough O’Brien (Toirdhealbhach Ua Briain), king of Munster, raided the great monastery at Clonmacnoise in Co. Offaly[ii]. The target of their attack, however, was...Read More »
I recently described how the forces of Brian Bóruma, king of Munster, attacked and destroyed a sacred grove of trees belonging to the Vikings of Dublin. This wood appears to have been associated with Thor, the Viking god of thunder, and its destruction by Brian Bóruma was probably...Read More »
I recently spotted what appeared to be remarkably modern looking haircuts in Albrecht Druer’s woodcut of 1521 AD[i]. This image shows a group of Irish soldiers[ii], most likely mercenaries, who were fighting on the European continent during the early 1520s. I soon discovered that,...Read More »
I recently came across an interesting 19th century account describing the discovery of a Bronze Age cist burial at Mullaun, Co. Wexford. Written byRead More »
This is the second in our series of old photos of Ireland taken from the Library of Congress Collections. The images, which date from between 1890 and 1900, give a glimpse of how Ireland looked on the cusp of the twentieth century....Read More »
This image shows Dublin city’s medieval ‘High Cross’ as drawn by John Simons in 1784. The panels on the shaft contain scenes of the Crucifixion, Descent from the Cross and the Passion. It formerly stood near...Read More »
This amazing collection of colourised photographs was taken by an American photographer Branson DeCou (1892-1941) between 1932 and 1935. DeCou spent nearly thirty years travelling the world and his images of Ireland give us a rare glimpse into a way of life that has long...Read More »
I stumbled across a curious 17th century account of an elephant in Dublin city recently. Yes, you read right, an elephant. This exotic import was owned by a Mr Wilkins who kept it in a specially constructed ‘booth’ near the Custom House on Parliament Street/Essex Street. Here members of the...Read More »
This fantastic collection of old photographs documents some of Ireland’s most iconic archaeological and heritage sites. The photographs date from between 1890 and 1900 and are from the Library of Congress Collections.
1. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow:...Read More »
A history of hurling. On the weekend of the All-Ireland hurling final it seems only fitting that the history of Ireland’s national game are discussed. Hurling is arguably the fastest field sport in the world and quite possibly the oldest. It is played with sticks called hurleys,...Read More »
The ninth and tenth centuries saw the arrival of a new force on the Irish political scene, the Vikings. These Scandinavian warriors were attracted by the wealth of the Irish monasteries and they came in search of booty and glory. The initial attacks were mainly confined to the coastline,...Read More »