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On this week's programme - the Irish man who designed the White House; Jane Ohlmeyer on Ireland and Empire; and Harry Houdini's exploits in Ireland.
To begin this evening, we're looking at the origin of one of the world's most well-known buildings – The White House in Washington D.C. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, yet few know the name or story of the Irish man responsible for its design and construction.
Born in 1755, James Hoban spent his childhood years in Desart, Cuffesgrange, County Kilkenny – the son of a tenant farmer. As a teenager, he moved to Dublin and studied at the Dublin Society Drawing School, and later emigrated to the United States in 1785, a couple of years after the end of the American Revolutionary War.
The architect’s life and work are the subject of a new anthology called James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House. It’s edited by Stewart D. McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. Stewart spoke to our reporter Colm Flynn.
The White House Historical Association is offering free shipping to Irish customers purchasing the book from their site until June - click here to visit their website.
Myles is joined by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer of Trinity College Dublin, to talk about her recent lecture series Ireland, Empire, and the Early Modern World. The lectures were this year's annual James Ford Lecture series from Oxford University.
The focus of the six lectures is on Ireland and the First English Empire (c.1550-1770s), but they also look to other European and global empires for meaningful comparisons and contrasts, and explore how we wrestle with the legacy of empire in modern times.
The lectures are available to watch online here at RTE History.
Almost a century after his death, the name Harry Houdini is synonymous with illusion, showmanship, and death defying feats. In the early twentieth century, his escape stunts were a sensation.
Audiences would watch in fascinated awe as he broke free of shackles while submerged in water, or worked himself out of a straitjacket while suspended from a tall building. What you might not know is that the Hungarian-born escape artist has a few connections to Ireland.
Marc McMenamin reports on Houdini's exploits in Ireland and his enigmatic death. We also hear from historian Aaron O'Maonaigh and magician Rua (Paul Gleeson).