79 James Hoban – White House Architect

On this episode of the Irish History Show we were joined by the president of the White House Historical Association, Stewart D. McLaurin, to discuss the life of the White House architect, James Hoban.

James Hoban was born in 1755 in Kilkenny and trained at the Dublin Society Drawing School in Grafton Street in Dublin. Following the American Revolutionary War he emigrated to the United States and worked as an architect in Philadelphia and South Carolina. In 1792 Hoban won a competition to design the president’s residence in the new federal capital.

On the show we discussed the work of the White House Historical Association; the new anthology published by the association on the life of Hoban, his education in Dublin and the type of architecture he would have seen and worked on; the Irish influences on his design for the White House; his ownership of slaves and the role of slave labour in building the White House; and Hoban’s membership of the Freemasons.

Stewart D. McLaurin has been president of the White House Historical Association since 2014. He leads the Association’s non-profit and non-partisan mission to support conservation and preservation at the White House with non-government funding. Mr. McLaurin has held leadership roles with national non-profit and higher education organizations such as the American Red Cross, Georgetown University, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House is available here.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive

78 Howe Peter Browne 2nd Marquess of Sligo

On this episode of the Irish History Show we were joined by Anne Chambers to discuss her book, The Great Leviathan, The life of Howe Peter Browne, 2nd Marquess of Sligo, 1788 – 1845.

His story moves from Westport House in county Mayo to Eton, into the staid family world of King George III at Windsor Castle; through wild student days at Cambridge, on to Regency London and the scandalous world of celebrity, gambling clubs, bawd houses and theatres, to the sophisticated salons of Paris. Horse racing at Newmarket and the Curragh (he was a founder member of the Irish Turf Club) treasure-seeking with his college friend Lord Byron in Greece and Turkey, some of his ‘finds’ are on view in the British museum. A sensational trial at the Old Bailey in 1812 led to his imprisonment in Newgate goal. There is a hint of double-espionage about his time at the court of Joachim Murat, King of Naples and with Napoleon Bonaparte on the island of Elba, while his sleuthing in Italy on behalf of the ‘prince of pleasure’ George IV, (godfather to his eldest son) on the King’s equally debauched consort, Caroline, is in the realm of high comedy.

A passionate advocate of Catholic Emancipation, multi-denominational education
and reform of the nefarious legal system, he did his best to alleviate the desperate circumstances of his numerous tenants, aggravated by a rapid rise in population and by the ‘curse of sub-division’. He established manufacturing outlets in Westport as an alternative to the over dependence on land and encouraged trade, mining, fishing
and kelp harvesting. As famine engulfed the west in 1831 he imported food, built a hospital and raised money for relief and public works.

In 1834 Sligo was appointed Governor General of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. As owner of two plantations, Kelly’s and Cocoa Walk, which he inherited from his grandmother, Elizabeth Kelly, daughter of Galway-born Denis Kelly, former Chief Justice of Jamaica, the planters expected the new governor to be on their side.
Sligo’s stated objective on his arrival on the island ‘to establish a social system absolved forever from the reproach of slavery’ however, set them on a bitter collision course.
Sligo found slavery personally abhorrent. From the flogging of field workers with the dreaded cart-whip, branding with hot iron, to the whipping of female slaves, ‘I call on you to put an end to conduct so repugnant to humanity’ he ordered the Jamaican House of Assembly.

To restrain the worse excesses he personally monitored the activities of the sixty special magistrates appointed to investigate charges of brutality in the 900 plantations throughout the island. Much to the derision of their masters ‘he [Sligo] gave a patient hearing to the poorest Negro who might carry his grievance to Government House’.
He advocated the building of schools for the black population, two of which he built at his own cost on his property. He was the first plantation owner to initiate a wage system for black workers and later, after emancipation in 1838, to divide his lands into farms leased to the former slaves.

The Planter-dominated Assembly accused Sligo of ‘interpreting the law in favour of the negro’ and, as he wrote, ‘set out to make Jamaica too hot to hold me.’ They withdrew his salary and started a campaign of vilification against him in the Jamaican and British press which, backed by powerful vested commercial interests, resulted in his removal from office in September 1836.

77 Ireland and the Anglo – Zulu War

On this episode of the Irish History Show, we looked at Ireland’s involvement in the Anglo – Zulu War of 1879. We looked at British involvement in South Africa from their formal annexation of the Cape Town Colony in 1806; British immigration into the region throughout the 19th century; The complicated relationship between the British and the mainly Dutch colonists, the Boers; The rise of the Zulu nation to become the predominant native ethnic group in the east of what is now South Africa; Zulu society and their military prowess; The local British administration provoking a war with the Zulus so as to neutralise the power of Zululand; The war itself; Reactions to the war in Ireland, and the role of Irish people during the war.

John Dorney’s article on Ireland and the Anglo – Zulu War is available here https://www.theirishstory.com/2021/02/15/ireland-and-the-anglo-zulu-war-1879/#.YFXUGp37TIU

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

76 Irish Revolutionary Women

On this episode of the Irish History Show, we were joined by Dr. Mary McAuliffe and Liz Gillis to discuss the role of women during the Irish Revolution.

We look at the radical political organisations for women in Ireland before the First World; Cumann na mBan; women’s role in 1916, the War of Independence and the Civil War; and women’s rights in the new Free State.

Dr. Mary McAuliffe is assistant professor in Gender Studies in University College Dublin. She has published widely on aspects of Irish women’s history, gendered and sexual violence in war, and social, political and public history. Her most recent works include a biography of 1916 veteran Margaret Skinnider and as a consultant and contributor on the TG4 documentary Cogadh ar Mhna.

Liz Gillis is an historian and researcher on RTE’s History Show. She is the author of such books as Women of the Irish Revolution, Revolution in Dublin and The Fall of Dublin.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

75 Commemorations in 2021

On this episode of the Irish History Show we discussed the upcoming commemorations in 2021 for the Decade of Centenaries.

2021 will mark the centenary of many important events in Irish history such as the Truce, the founding of Northern Ireland and the Anglo – Irish Treaty.

74 Commemoration & Discontent

On this episode of the Irish History Show we were joined by Dr. Laura McAtackney and Dr. Brian Hanley to discuss the controversies surrounding the Decade of Centenaries.

Dr. Laura McAtackney is an associate professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark. In her work she explores the historical and contemporary archaeologies of institutions and colonialism of post conflict Northern Ireland. Some of her previous work includes Walling in and Walling Out, An Archaeology of the Troubles – The dark history of Long Kesh / Maze Prison and Kilmainhamgaolgraffiti.com, which explores female experiences of imprisonment during the Irish Civil War.

Dr. Brian Hanley lectures in 20th century Irish History in Trinity College, Dublin. He has written several books including The IRA 1926 – 36, The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party and Boiling Volcano – The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland 1968 – 79.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

73 Tom Barry and the Kilmichael Ambush

On this episode of the Irish History Show we discussed the Kilmichael Ambush. The Kilmichael Ambush occurred on the 28th of November 1920 when a flying column of the IRA, led by Tom Barry, ambushed a company of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The Auxiliaries lost 17 members in the engagement, including one who had escaped and was subsequently captured and killed.

We also looked at the career of Tom Barry. Hi service with the British Army in the First World War, his actions in the War of Independence and Civil War and his recently released Military Service Pension application.

We also looked at the controversies surrounding Kilmichael and the disputes regarding Barry’s claim of a false surrender by the Auxiliaries which led Barry not to take prisoners during the engagement.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

72 Kevin Boyle & The Human Rights Movement

On this episode of the Irish History Show we were joined by Mike Chinoy to discuss his new book, Are You With Me? Kevin Boyle and the rise of the Human Rights Movement, published by Lilliput Press.

Kevin Boyle was one of the founders of People’s Democracy in Queens University Belfast and was one of the leading figures in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. As a human rights lawyer he embraced causes such as freedom of speech and expression, anti – apartheid, gay rights and the treatment of Kurds in Turkey.

In an Irish context he represented internees who had been subject to abuse in custody and mediated during the Hunger Strikes in the H- Blocks. His work during the New Ireland Forum and the Anglo – Irish Agreement eventually led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Mike Chinoy is a former foreign correspondent for CNN and is an Emmy, Peabody and Dupont award winning journalist.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

71 The British Empire, the Middle East and Ireland

On this episode of the Irish History Show, we looked at the Middle East and the Brtish Empire in the period after the First World War.  We discussed how the British Empire dealt with their new mandates in the region and how their dealings with these countries compared and contrasted with their treatment of Ireland during Ireland’s War of Independence. 

We looked at issues such as the use of military forces to suppress rebellions, political initiatives, reprisals, attitudes towards sovereignty and the evolution of colonialism.  We also look at British regiments and officers who ended up in Ireland after being involved in actions in the Middle East.

Intro / Outro music “Sliabh” from Aislinn. Licensed under creative commons from the free music archive.

70 1917 East Clare By – Election

On this episode of the show we were joined by Dr. Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc to discuss the historic East Clare by – election of 1917. The by – election was held on the 10th of July 1917 following the death of the incumbent MP, Willie Redmond, of the Irish Parliamentary Party. The by – election saw the leader of Sinn Féin, Éamon de Valera, face Patrick Lynch of the Irish Parliamentary Party. The Home Rulers had held the seat since it was first created in 1885. Sinn Féin ended up winning the seat by a more than two to one majority.