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In 1895 Bridget Cleary was a confident independent woman in a rapidly changing Ireland. This brought her into conflict with dark and sinister figures in her own community. After being labelled a 'changeling' (a fairy who had taken the place of the real person) Bridget was tortured in a brutal ritual. This podcast, based in an original episode released in 2016, explores Cleary's life and why those closest to her ultimately murdered her.The book mentioned in the show is The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story by Angela BourkeSound By Kate Dunlea Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Until 1981 a woman was considered the property of her husband under Irish law. A husband could even sue another man for damaging his property if he had an affair with his wife. Referred to as 'criminal conversation’ these trials were demeaning and humiliating for the women involved. 'Women on trial looks' looks at the story of Alice Morton. When her marriage fell apart in 1919, she found herself at the centre of a sensational divorce and criminal conversation trial. When this developed into an early 20th century sex scandal, Alice went on the run rather than be subjected to such humiliation.The episode follows Alice's story as she evaded private detectives, and a court system stacked against her.Sound: Kate DunleaAdditional Narrations: Aidan Crowe and Therese MurrayRead more about criminal conversation trials:Adultery in the Courts: Criminal Conversation in Ireland by Niamh Howlin’s criminal conversations by Diane Urquhart the show Patreon - Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
On June 22nd 1922, the British Field Marshall, Henry Wilson was shot dead in London. The assassination sparked a major political crisis in Ireland. The British government blamed the killing on a faction of the IRA opposed to the recent Anglo-Irish Treaty. When they demanded action be taken against them, Michael Collins oversaw an attack on an IRA unit occupying the Four Courts in Dublin. This sparked the Irish Civil War.Over the last century the incident has been shrouded in controversy.  Many at the time and since have accused Michael Collins himself of ordering the attack on Wilson. In this episode I am joined by John Dorney to discuss the assassination of Henry Wilson, the fallout and who was responsible.  My exclusive supporters' series on the Irish Civil War with Dr Brian Hanley of Trinity College Dublin continued this week on Acast+ and Patreon. Ep #1 explains backdrop to the war, while Ep #2 profiles Michael Collins, his involvement in the war and his death in August 1922.My guest on this week’s show is John Dorney. John’s website is one of the leading online resources on Irish History. He also the co host of the Irish History Show Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Spike Island in Cork Harbour is often referred to as 'Ireland’s Alcatraz'. While this famous island prison began life as a monastery it was transformed into a fortress during the American Revolutionary War. However Spike island gained it's notorious reputation during the Great Hunger of the 1840s when a prison was opened in the fort. This episode recorded on Spike island tells the story of Ireland’s Alcatraz…I would like to thank the team on Spike Island for facilitating the recording of this episode. In particular I would like to thank Tom O’Neill for his time and expertise. Sound by Kate DunleaVisit Spike Island: you want find out more about Spike Island these texts come highly recommended. Spike Island: Saint Felons and FamineToo beautiful for thieves and pickpockets: A history of the Victorian convict prison on spike island Spike Island republican prisoners 1921 My exclusive Supporters Civil War Series with Dr Brian Hanley from Trinity College Dublin continues on Thursday. Episode II looks at Michael Collins and the Outbreak of the War. This is available on and Acast+. Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Between 1840 and 1860 the population of New York almost trebled growing from 300,000 to 800,000. This influx of migrants from Europe gave birth to modern Manhattan. At the heart of this story were the 250,000 Irish people who made the city their home in the aftermath of the Great Hunger. This is the story of the Famine Irish in New York.In this episode I interview Dr Tyler Anbinder from George Washington University. An expert in the history of New York, Tyler vividly explain New York of the 1850s and how the Famine Irish adapted to life in the city. You can find Tyler’s books here I would recommend Five Points: The Nineteenth-Century New York City Neighborhood that Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World's Most Notorious SlumMy series on the civil war continues next week when myself and Dr Brian Hanley discuss Michael Collins, the man, the myth and his role in the conflict. You can get the series on Acast+ or at the $5 tier on Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Five days after the end of the Second World War, Winston Churchill launched into a blistering critique of Irish neutrality on the BBC World Service. He would famously claim the government of Éamon de Valera had frolicked with German representatives in Dublin while Britain fought the Nazis. The reality of Irish neutrality in the World War II was somewhat more complicated. To discuss the story of Irish neutrality I am joined by the Dr Donal Ó Drisceoil from the History of Department of University College Cork.Donal has written extensively on the history of neutrality and in this episode he explains why Ireland took a neutral position in the war. He also reveals how and why the government aided the Allies behind the scenes but remained adamant they were neutral. Sound by Kate Dunlea.Support the show to get hours of exclusive content at Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This episode continues the story of emigration and Irish Coffin Ships during the Great Famine. Dr Cian T. McMahon, the author of The Coffin Ship - Life and Death at Sea during the Great Famine discusses The death rate onboard coffin ships What factors determined whether someone lived or died.How Irish Famine emigrants adjusted to life in the U.S.You can get a copy of The Coffin Ship - Life and Death at Sea here If you want listen to more stories form the Great Hunger my 30 part podcast series is available here.My exclusive supporters Civil War series with Dr Brian Hanley kicks this Thursday here on Patreon and Acast+ Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Between 1845 - 1855 over two million people left Ireland to escape hunger, poverty and disease during the Great Hunger. The experience of these emigrants was often harrowing. The term Coffin Ship has became synonymous with their journeys across the Atlantic. While the term conveys misery, what was the experience actually like?In the first of two podcasts on the subject, I am joined by Dr Cian T. McMahon author of The Coffin Ship - Life and Death at Sea during the Great Famine. Cian's work is deeply personal. Laced with hundreds of individual narratives he creates a vivid account of the complexities of escaping hunger in Ireland in the 1840s. You can get a copy of The Coffin Ship - Life and Death at Sea here  If you want listen to more stories form the Great Hunger my 30 part podcast series is available here. My exclusive series on the Irish Civil War with Dr Brian Hanley kicks off next week. Exclusively available for show supporters on Acast+ and, the series will be an expert guide to one of the most formative conflicts in modern Ireland. Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Are we living through historic times? The Russian Invasion of Ukraine, the Queen's death, Liz Truss and Elon Musk have all dominated the headlines in 2022. However headlines don't always make history. Will the events of our lifetime be remembered in the future?In this episode I look at how the last twelve months might be remembered by future historians.Become a supporter at Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Life in Dublin at the turn of the 20th century was difficult to say the least. Working Class Dubliners were lucky if they reached 50. In those five or so decades, they worked dangerous jobs and lived in appalling conditions. In this episode I am joined by Dr Ciara Breathnach. Ciara has spent several years researching the records of Dublin's Coroners Court for her book 'Ordinary Lives, Death, and Social Class: Dublin City Coroner's Court, 1876-1902'. As the Coroner investigated suspicious, unexplained and unusual deaths, this research gave Ciara a unique insight into life in Dublin around 1900. Over the course of our interview Ciara explained how Dubliners lived and died. She also shares some individual cases from the Coroner's Court which provides a deeply personal history of the time and the challenges people faced.You can find Ciara’s Profile at the University of Limerick where she is an Associate Professor in History book Ordinary Lives, Death, and Social Class: Dublin City Coroner's Court, 1876-1902 is available here (You can also ask your local library to order the book!)My audiobook on the Black Death in Ireland is available for download at This can be purchase for a one off payment of €5.99 or is available for show supporters at Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Castlekevin was once a thriving settlement deep in the Wicklow Mountains. However in the 14th century after decades of warfare the historical record fell silent. Over the past year the Roundwood & District Historical & Folklore Society have been working with a team of archaeologists to uncover the story of this lost town and castle. Using ground penetrating radar, drones and ecological surveys the team have started to unlock the lost story of this forgotten town.This podcast reveals what was found...A special word of thanks to:Roundwood & District Historical & Folklore Society, the National Monuments Service Community Monuments fund, Yvonne Whitty, Dr Paul Naessens, Faith Wilson, Ivor Kenny, Dr Ger Dowling, Wicklow Co Council Heritage Officer Deirdre Burns, Martin Timmons, Mary Rochford, Chris Corlett and Catherine Wright in Wicklow Archives .Additional narrations from Aidan CroweSound by Kate Dunlea Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The Black Death changed Europe and Ireland forever. This disease which swept across the continent through 1348 carried off around 40% of the population. Its aftermath was no less sensational as social upheavel, wars and revolts broke out across Europe. Ireland was no different, indeed it was arguably affected in more profound ways than most of the continent. Over last few months I have produced a new hour three hour audio feature on the Black Death in Ireland based on my 2016 book 1348: A Medieval Apocalypse.This podcast previews the audiobook explaining the fascinating history behind these events. How can you get your audiobook of The Black Death in Ireland?Get the book as a one time purchase. You can buy the book for €5.99 in a one time purchase here Select 'The Black Death in Ireland Audiobook' and then you can download the audio to your podcast app.Become a supporter. Supporters of the show at also have access to the book. This recurring monthly fee also gives you access you my extensive back catalogue of exclusive show and my upcoming series on the Civil War. Find out more at Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Believe it or not, it was a crime to sell contraception in Ireland between 1935 and 1979. The Irish government also banned all literature on family planning for decades as well. This had a profound impact on life in Ireland. Couples couldn't plan families or engage in recreational sex without fear of pregnancy. This devastated relationships and left many people with a very limited understanding of sex and pregnancy. In this podcast I interview Dr Laura Kelly from the University of Srathcylde. Laura is a leading expert in this area and she explains the background to contraception in Ireland, why it was banned and the devastating consequences of the ban.  Find out more about Laura's research and publications here. Follow Laura on twitter here. Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
While Ireland remained neutral in the Second World War several Nazi agents were smuggled into the country. Their aims varied, some sought to establish contact with the IRA while others were spies. In this episode, I interview historian Marc McMenamin about the attempts of Irish Military Intelligence's to catch these spies and agents. Marc also explains the attitude of the IRA towards these individuals & the forgotten Irish code breakers in the war. Its a fascinating story. Marc has published two books on Irish Military Intelligence in the Second World War Codebreaker & Ireland's Secret War both of which are fantastic reads. Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
There is a photo essay to accompany this episode here Conwy castle in Wales in one of Europe's most spectacular medieval castles. Built in the 1280s by Edward I the castle has withstood sieges and the ravages of time. On Sat October 8th I organised a supporters trip to the castle. Early the following morning, as the sun rose over the medieval town I recorded this episode. Using the acoustics of the castle and the walls I explain the history, what the castle looks like today and how its elaborate and lethal defences worked in the middle ages. Deadly stuff in all meanings of the word!Support the show at Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In this final episode of Ireland's Last Aristocrat, you will hear how Olive Packenham Mahon adjusted to life in Ireland after the War of Independence. This follows her story through the chaotic early days of the Irish Free State, her futile attempts to budget as money ran out and how she would end up an eccentric living in a mansion that crumbled around her. There will be a bonus episode of recordings from Strokestown Park House for supporters at later this week. By becoming a supporter you will also get access to my upcoming series on the Irish Civil War. You can find out more about Strokestown Park House and how you can visit Olive Packenham Mahon's home a t Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Olive's unpublished diary and letters reveal a story of war, revolution and scandalous relationships in Ireland during the War of Independence.After being raised in splendour with servants taking care of her every need (see part I), this episode follows Olive Packenham Mahon through the Irish revolutionary era. After the outbreak of World War I everything changed. The Packenham Mahons and other aristocrats found themselves on the wrong side of history as revolution swept through Ireland. Olive recorded her experiences in an unpublished diary and letters which provide the basis for this episode. While these recount an unusual perspective on the Irish revolution, they also reveal a love affair that scandalised her family!There is also bonus episode with exclusive content for supporters here.Artwork - Keith HynesSound - Kate DunleaNarrations - Aidan Crowe and Therese Murray Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Olive Packenham Mahon was born into wealth and privilege in 1894, but the legacy of a secret funeral and the spectre of war and revolution defined her life. She was no ordinary aristocrat - Olive was the last of her kind...A special thanks to Oisin O'Driscoll, Martin Fagan & Tony Aspel and all the team at Strokestown Park House for their time.Olive Packenham Mahon's home Strokestown Park House is open to the public. You can find out more at by Kate Dunlea. Artwork by Keith HynesAdditional narrations by Aidan Crowe and Therese Murray.There is a bonus episode with exclusive content from Strokestown available later in the week for show patrons at Patreon - Acast+ - Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Olive Pakenham Mahon was one of Ireland's last Aristocrats. Haunted by a secret funeral in her families past, revolution and war defined her life. She was anything but normal...Subscribe to the Irish History Podcast where you listen to podcasts Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
You may not recognise the name Bridget O’Donnel, but she is one of the most recognisable women in Irish history. In December 1849 her image (pictured in the episode artwork and here) appeared in The Illustrated London News. Over the following decades she became the face of the Great Famine. Today she is one of the most recognisable women in Irish history, but who was Bridget O’Donnel?Is it possible she never existed but was the creation of an artist called James Mahony?Hear the full story of the woman behind this iconic image.Additional narrations from Therese MurrayH/T to Mark Lagan for his help in this!The poster of Bridget mentioned in the episode is available here.Dont forget the supporters trip to Conwy Castle is fast approaching - we leave on October 8th! If you would like to join me on this trip to this amazing castle get in touch today at Become a member at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Comments (57)

John Walsh

If we accept your rational the Genocide of the Jews in WW2 was not a genocide because Jews operated the ovens and gas Chambers.

Feb 8th

Edwin Sineath

Horrible anti-Russian bigot narrator.

Jan 13th

Светлана Гридасова

Thank you so much for you work! I’m a big fan of Ireland, and your podcast really helps to enhance my knowledge of the Irish history and to structure all the mess in the head. Moreover, your voice and the music are so calming. The aesthetics of your podcast is beautiful!☘️ Go raibh maith agat!

Dec 1st

Andrew Browne

as a Dubliner that was was fab

Aug 31st

Darren Merlehan

Great story and a great the voice of Finn Dwyer the best voice I've heard tell a story clear and soothing. i listen at night and fall asleep sometime after.super podcast Irish history podcast. *****

Jul 3rd

Tim O'Mahony

excellent podcast!!

Oct 21st

Clint Upham

I guess the crazy idea of this being cultivated in a lab being written off as just a conspiracy theory didn't age too well hey haha

Aug 6th

ronan joyce

Great podcast,keep up the good work.

Mar 4th

Mike Coffey

Any ideas of what the phrase, "doing maggie's work" means?

Feb 25th

Adam fredrick93

Podchraoladh iontach coinnigh leis an dea-obair. 👍

Dec 7th

dMichelle Garland

Thanks so much for all the hard work you and your crew put into the making of this series (and others). I am seriously enjoying the education!

Nov 11th

Kenneth Reid

Hi great podcast but no viable fens or very little natural bogs left on the bog of Allen.

Oct 26th

Charles Francis Drake

Great idea, great series...

Aug 20th

Paul McHugh

it was a genocide you prick, they knew the Irish would perish in huge numbers, they said it at the time, you absolute vomit , if you locked your dog in the shed and sold his food to your neighbor, it's not free market trading, you killed a dog, simple as

May 21st

Antoinette O' Sullivan

I really enjoyed that, thank you! I've never really gotten into podcasts but was recommended yours by a friend recently, and have just listened to these two and the 1916 calm before the storm. Excellent! Looking forward to the Maamtransa one - it's always fascinated me, but I'd never heard of William Sheehan. If you ever get the chance, have a look at Lady Albina Broderick, her story is unreal, I'd love to hear you tell it some day. It's not a murder one! She was just a very unique lady. Go raibh maith agat! Your podcasts will hopefully get me through this quarantine time :)

Mar 25th
Reply (1)

Rebecca Pierce

I had a hard time understanding time.please.have him.slow down and not shout...ha...but what an amazing history lesson! Thank you for helping me understand my Irish ancestry...My Stephen Pierce arrived between 1848 and 1852..amd settled in Camden Nj...but I have no record of his entry...he would have been about 15 or 18...we think he came alone...

Feb 6th

Cormac Sheedy

fantastic show will only keep getting better .

Jan 21st

James ONeal

i just love my ancesteral historical,histories.LOONG LIVE ULSTERS

Nov 26th
Reply (1)

Anne Shore

you're wellcome see you tonight

Jun 29th

Paul Cahoon

is the glogheen workhouse on the road to Mitchelstown, were the wall still stands?

Jun 9th
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