David Lawlor's Blog (22)

Ballinalee, County Longford: The Village of Generals

To outsiders, the village of Ballinalee, in County Longford, might seem like no great shakes, just a bump in the road, a blink-and-you-miss-it spot that you’re through before you even notice. Were they to consult a map of the county, the seemingly…

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Added by David Lawlor on May 7, 2017 at 4:30am — 2 Comments

Walking to Work Through a Battle Zone

There are two routes I can take to my office when I leave the train station to go to work. They both pass a large 18th century building of Palladian, neoclassical design, which I used to admire as a child, long before I knew of its connection to my own family.

Now, as I pass it by, I…

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Added by David Lawlor on May 28, 2016 at 4:00am — 7 Comments

The Night the Nazis Bombed Dublin

Noel Brady was standing with his father at the hall  door of their family home on St. Ignatius Road in Dublin’s North Strand area when they heard the drone of a Nazi Luftwaffe bomber flying overhead.

“I…

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Added by David Lawlor on May 28, 2016 at 4:00am — 14 Comments

How I Learned That Grandad Executed Erskine Childers

Do you know where you’ll be on April 24? Maybe not, but chances are you might just find yourself huddled over a form, answering innumerable questions about your personal life. Filling in the census may not be the most exciting of pastimes, but it sure is important. Without all those statistics it generates,…

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Added by David Lawlor on April 22, 2016 at 4:30am — 7 Comments

The Easter Rising's Forgotten Battle

The GPO, Mount Street Bridge, The South Dublin Union -- these are names that resonate when it comes to Easter 1916 as the battlegrounds for what became Padraig Pearse’s ‘glorious failure.’ However, for some quirk of history, the success that took place in…

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Added by David Lawlor on March 25, 2016 at 3:30am — 15 Comments

Green With Envy . . .

In the next few hours a large chunk of the world will go green – not out of a love for the environment, but because that’s what you do on March 17.

Forget about any sense of style, every shade of green you can envisage will be flown, painted, worn and waved on…

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Added by David Lawlor on March 16, 2016 at 5:00pm — 6 Comments

My Granny, the Looter -- One of Many During Easter Week

To have a relative who was ‘out’ in 1916 – that is, someone who took part in that mad assault on the British Empire known as the Easter Rising – is something to be treasured.

Of course, there were plenty of other…

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Added by David Lawlor on February 16, 2016 at 2:30am — 9 Comments

From the Easter Rising to the Hollywood Hills

When the actor Arthur Shields strode towards the Abbey Theatre on Easter Monday, 1916, it was with one intent -- not to rehearse or act in a play, but to collect his rifle and take part in the greater drama that was about to shake the streets of Dublin.

Pictured, Arthur Shields

Once…

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Added by David Lawlor on February 1, 2016 at 11:30am — 21 Comments

The Iron Man

I'm not hugely into sports. I watch the big soccer and rugby games when Ireland plays. I appreciate the skill in a good boxing bout and I sit in awe whenever the Olympics is on and I can watch those jaw-dropping displays the gymnasts put on. Other than that, I’m not that pushed. However, my…

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Added by David Lawlor on January 14, 2016 at 6:00am — 4 Comments

The Burning of Bridget Cleary -- 'The Irish Changeling'

Are you a witch, or are you a fairy

Or are you the wife of Michael Cleary?

So went a popular children’s rhyme in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century. I can hear the echo of those words spilling…

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Added by David Lawlor on October 21, 2015 at 4:30am — 14 Comments

Soldier Jennie Hodgers: Irish Woman Fought in America's Civil War

The life and times of Private Albert D.J. Cashier are one of those historic anomalies that make you scratch your head and wonder, ‘How the hell could that happen?’

Private Cashier served in the ranks of the 95th Illinois for three years – from their muster-in on September 4, 1862, until the regiment…

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Added by David Lawlor on September 24, 2015 at 2:30am — 8 Comments

Setting the Scene for 'High Crimes'

The past, present and future happily coexist on my workplace doorstep. I’d written about the past in four books, but it was the future that caught my eye one day in the form of a crane, standing stark against a grey Dublin sky.

I work in a newspaper in the city centre, on Talbot Street. During my lunch break, I would leave the office and walk past the…

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Added by David Lawlor on September 7, 2015 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

Sinking Into Oblivion

The captain was on the bridge of the ship when he saw the track of the torpedo about 300 feet away, but by then it was too late.

Pictured, the SS Arabic sinking (Image: Illustrated London…

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Added by David Lawlor on August 14, 2015 at 8:30pm — 19 Comments

Two Elizas: The Irish Courtesans Who Set the World Alight

Lola Montez

Lola Montez

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl… so far, so true (and with thanks to Barry Manilow), but this particular Lola  also happened to be one of Europe’s most beautiful and talked-about women, who married several times and who…

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Added by David Lawlor on August 9, 2015 at 5:00am — 8 Comments

Michael Collins Scene From 'A Time of Traitors'

Michael Collins sat hunched over the small office desk,…

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Added by David Lawlor on July 19, 2015 at 4:30am — 16 Comments

The Tan Who Was Hanged By His Own Side

When the Black and Tans were first deployed in Ireland in March 1920, they soon proved themselves to be a pretty brutal bunch. They were liberal with the use of their rifles, were often drunk and even engaged in arson and robbery.

The Tans were ex-servicemen, many of them scarred from their time in the trenches during…

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Added by David Lawlor on July 6, 2015 at 7:30am — 8 Comments

Dublin: My Hometown

I grew up on Dublin's northside, in Stoneybatter - one of the five ancient roads to Tara. Now, I live in Wicklow, but still feel the draw of my old hometown. Here's why ...

A friendly nod, a bit of wit,

A pint of plain, that's part of it.

Canal bank…

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Added by David Lawlor on June 22, 2015 at 7:00am — 9 Comments

The Price of Freedom

What price freedom? Some people could answer that better than others. When it comes to Irish freedom that price was paid in 1916 in the stonebreakers’ yard of Kilmainham Gaol,…

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Added by David Lawlor on June 16, 2015 at 7:00am — 6 Comments

The Truth About Traitors

For quite some time, it appears that I've been surrounding myself with treacherous deeds and hardly been aware of it.

Brendan O'Carroll
Brendan O'Carroll…
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Added by David Lawlor on June 6, 2015 at 4:00am — No Comments

Staring Death in the Face

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

 …

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Added by David Lawlor on May 28, 2015 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

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