The History Show

The History Show

Sunday, 6pm


Sunday 26th March

The Balfour Declaration

Myles talks to journalist & historian, Robert Fisk, and to Kate O’Malley, historian with Documents on Irish Foreign Policy at the Royal Irish Academy.

Josef Locke

Myles discusses Locke’s career with actor Adrian Dunbar; Fr Brian Darcy; historian, Roy Foster; and Locke’s biographer, Nuala McAllister-Hart, author of a new biography Josef Locke: the People’s Tenor.

The original Beauty and the Beast

Myles is joined by Derval Conroy is a lecturer in UCD’s School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics.

Sunday 19th March

'Altman the Saltman' and Leopold Bloom

Vincent Altman O’Connor is now asking whether his own great-grand uncle, Albert Liebes Altman, and his wider family, might have contributed significantly to the fictional Leopold Bloom.

Dermot Bolger on Francis Ledwidge

To mark the coming centenary of Ledwidge’s death, we asked the poet, Dermot Bolger, to reflect on Ledwidge’s life in a column for The History Show.

Right-wing demagogues in US political history

Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, historian at Loyola University in Chicago

History Bites: the Smock Alley Bell

Collette Kinsella reports

Joe Duffy on women civilian casualties of the Easter Rising

Joe Duffy has turned his attention to a different category of forgotten casualty: the forgotten women civilians who died in Easter Week.

Sunday 12th March

Proinsias Ó Conluain & RTE's Mobile Recording Unit

This year marks 70 years since the launch of RTÉ’s Mobile Recording Unit –which allowed RTÉ Radio for the first time to record outdoors. Proinsias Ó Conluain revealed that he had kept previously unknown work diaries – hundreds of them - throughout his career, and he left them to RTE in the form of our colleague, Ian Lee, who joins Myles this week.

History Bites report: the Original Donnybrook Fair

The words Donnybrook Fair are associated with a south Dublin chain of grocers, the original Donnybrook Fair was a fair established by the Royal Charter of 1204 “to compensate Dubliners for the expense of building walls and defences around the city.”  It lasted 15 days, and was held annually for over 600 years.  Colette Kinsella reports.

Travel opportunities for History-lovers

his year, the small town expects 350,000 visitors to arrive – that’s no fewer than SEVEN TIMES the town’s population. Eoghan Corry, Editor of, joins Myles to tell us about the travel opportunities connected with this, and several other big anniversaries occurring this year.

The New Ross Workhouse Riot of 1887

Myles is joined this week by historian, Jennifer Redmond, from Maynooth University, and by New Ross Councillor, Michael Sheehan.

Sunday 5th March

Why is there just one Irish Rugby team?

Ireland’s Six Nations rugby campaign continues this Friday evening, with our match against Wales.  But did you ever wonder why there’s only one Irish rugby team, when there are two soccer teams?  Why did the IRFU not split after partition?  UCD historian, Paul Rouse, has been looking into this for us.

Rebel Prods

Heather Jones is a regular contributor to The History Show.  As Associate Professor in International History, at the London School of Economics, this week she’s telling us not about her own work.  Instead her focus is a book written by her late mother, Valerie Jones, before she died three years ago.

Catherine Corless & the Tuam Mother & Baby Home

On Friday, it was announced that a 'significant quantity' of human remains have been found in a dig at the site of the former Mother & Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway. This week, in a column for The History Show, Catherine reflects on how she came to make the discovery.

Enemy of the People

US President Donald Trump last week branded ‘fake news’ media the ‘enemy of the people’.  It’s a phrase with an extraordinary history and Amanda Erickson of the Washington Post has been looking into it, from Ancient Rome to the Soviet Union.

Sunday 26th February

Viceroy's House – new film about the 1947 partition of India

Martin Mansergh and Pranjali Bhave preview the film

Giants and Gigantism in Irish History

Brian Hand from the National College of Art and Design, and University of Stirling’s law lecturer, Thomas Muinzer contribute

The Irish Army's More Peculiar Deployments

The Irish Army has been deployed in some pretty unusual circumstances, as Security and Defence Analyst, Declan Power, explains.

Sunday 19th February


Bill Keane on the teaching of history in schools.

Memory and History

We’re talking this week about how history is affected by memory. Myles is joined by Shane O’Mara, psychologist and professor of Experimental Brain Research at TCD; Eamon Darcy historian at Maynooth University; and Susan Bewley medical doctor in London who recently edited the memoirs of her mother, the pioneering doctor Beulah Bewley.

History Bites: Bingo, Rats and Survival in 1930s Dublin

Another instalment from our History Bites series where Colette Kinsella looks at the unusual stories behind every day or hidden objects. This week, Colette speaks to Seamus Marken about a small object that contains a rather large story about Dublin life in the mid-20th century

The Dark History of 'America First'

When Donal Trump began using the slogan ‘America First’ last year, it raised eyebrows in the US in a way that it didn’t as much in Europe. Louisa Thomas – a US historian who has been writing about America First for the – will be telling us about Charles Lindbergh and the America First Committee.

Sunday 12th February

Joni Crone's New Play in Manorhamilton

Last Sunday Myles was talking to Páraic Kerrigan about homosexuality on Irish television from 1975. One of the clips we listened to was the first TV appearance of an openly gay woman: that was Joni Crone on the Late Late Show. Joni emailed us after the show asking us to let listeners know that she’s written a new play Anna Livia Lesbia.

History Bites: An 18th Century Irish Cinderella Story

Another dip into our occasional series History Bites where Colette Kinsella looks at the unusual stories behind every day or hidden objects. This week, we join Colette at the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks with Michael Kenny to hear a cautionary tale of fame, fortune and beauty from the 18th century.

The History of Courtship and Dating

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we’re looking this week at the history of courtship and dating. Jennifer Redmond teaches history at Maynooth University; and Nichi Hodgson has just a written The Curious History of Dating.

The Night the Germans Bombed the Curragh

During the course of World War II, Ireland was bombed on several occasions by the Germans. The following year – 1941 - would see bombs dropped all over the country from Meath to Louth and from Dublin to Wicklow. Reporter, Liam Geraghty, has been taking a look at one such bombing that took place on the Curragh, in County Kildare.

GUBU – a Beginner's Guide

GUBU is certainly the word of the weekend: it’s on the cover of two of today’s Sunday newspapers: yet there’s a whole generation in the country for whom the term’s origin is probably a bit vague. Irish Times journalist and Haughey biographer, Peter Murtagh, is here to give us a quick refresher course

Sunday 5th February

Radio Column: Gerard Stembridge

This evening, in a column for this programme, Garard has been thinking about parallels in the histories of Ireland and Cuba.

Mein Kampf assessed

To discuss the book this week, Myles is joined in studio by Joachim Fischer, Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Limerick; and by Turlach O Broin, Teaching Fellow at UCD’s School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics.

Mein Kampf: the Irish connection

Reporter Rhona Tarrant speaks to Patrick Murphy, son of James Murphy – the man from Co. Cork who in 1939 was the first person to fully translate Hitler’s Mein Kampf into English

Homosexuality on Irish TV Forty Years Ago

Gay History Month begins this week and our first guest this evening, Páraic Kerrigan, is currently completing his doctorate in Maynooth University on gay visibility in the Irish media since 1974

Sunday 29th January

70th Anniversary of Jim Larkin's Death

In a column for The History Show, Des Geraghty, former President of SIPTU, has been pondering Larkin’s legacy

First Meeting of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association

Myles is joined in studio this evening by Austin Currie, who was at that meeting 50 years ago, as a Nationalist Party Stormont MP. He went on to co-found the SDLP and to be a Fine Gael TD in Dublin. Joining us from Derry is Eamonn McCann, who wasn’t at the meeting, but who shortly afterwards founded the Derry Housing Action Committee

History Bites: Who Put the Harp on Irish Coins?

Colette Kinsella reports

The Emergence of Multlicultural Britain

Kate O’Malley - historian with Documents on Irish Foreign Policy at the Royal Irish Academy

Sunday 22nd January

The History Show - full programme podcast

This week, we’re finding out the history of ‘kompromat’, the art of gathering compromising material on public figures; there’s a report on why Balbriggan in Dublin was once known as ‘Stockingopolis’; we discuss Ireland’s experience of welcoming refugees in the Twentieth Century; and we discover more about the ‘immortal’ life of Henrietta Lacks.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks – a film produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey, and based on a book by Rebecca Skloot, will appear on our screens this year.

Refugees in Ireland in the Twentieth Century

Myles is joined by Gisela Holfter, Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Limerick, and by Mark Maguire, Head of Anthropology at Maynooth University

History Bites: Stockingopolis

The seaside town of Balbriggan on Ireland’s east coast is many miles from London, but it was to this town that Queen Victoria turned when she wanted to buy stockings.

Conor O'Clery on 'Kompromat'

President Trump’s inauguration preparations last week were overshadowed by unsubstantiated claims that Russia had collected damaging material about him during a visit to that country. The news introduced a new word into most of our vocabularies: the Russian term ‘kompromat’. We find out more from Conor O’Clery, a former Moscow Correspondent for The Irish Times, and the author of a book about collapse of the Soviet Union.

Sunday 15th January

The History Show - full programme podcast

This week, we’re finding out more about Adolf Hitler’s Irish connections – his half-brother who worked at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel and married Bridget Dowling; we ask why Irish alcohol consumption appears to have spiked dramatically in the 18th Century; we review a rare patient account of life inside an Irish asylum in the 1930s; and we remember TK Whitaker.

Hitler's Irish relatives

We all know about Adolf Hitler, but have you ever heard of William Patrick Hitler? His mother was Irish woman, Bridget Dowling, and his father, Alois junior, was Adolf Hitler’s half-brother who – for three years in the early 20th Century – worked at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel.

Sunday 8th January

Maeve Brennan's 100th Birthday

One of Maeve’s strongest admirers is the Booker Prize-winning author, Anne Enright, who’s been reflecting for us, in a column, on the work of Maeve Brennan.

Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland

Dr. Kay Muhr & Dr. Liam Ó hAisibéil

Report from Dublin Docks

Colette Kinsella takes a tour of Dublin Port with some retired dockers who worked there from the 1950s and ‘60s.

The History of Colours

Kassia St Clair & Vaari Claffey

Sunday 18th December

Christmas History Books

Catriona Crowe, archivist and broadcaster; Heather Jones, Assoc. Professor, Dept of International History, London School of Economics; Michael Kennedy, Executive Editor, Documents on Irish Foreign Policy at the Royal Irish Academy; Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, composer and musician.

Sunday 11th December

Empires and Archives

Ian Cobain, a Guardian journalist, is the author of The History Thieves. He joins us this week from London; as does UK-based legal historian, Seán Enright, author of After the Rising and Easter Rising 1916 – The Trials; and UCD historian, Diarmaid Ferriter, is live in studio.

Sisters, Hanna & Mary Sheehy

Colette Kinsella reports

Thatcher v. Haughey over the Falklands War

Myles is joined by one of the key players in that crisis almost thirty-five years ago: former senior diplomat Noel Dorr; and by historian Stephen Kelly, who is the author of ‘A Failed Political Entity’ – Charles Haughey and the Northern Ireland Question.

Sunday 4th December

Peter Paul Galligan

Orla Rapple report

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Contact the Show

Presenter: Myles Dungan

Producer: Alan Torney


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