The History Show

The History Show

Sunday, 6pm

The History Show Sunday 17 February 2013

The History Show

The History Show

Bringing the past to life! Discover how our world was shaped as Myles Dungan and guests explore events ranging from medieval times to the recent past

On next week’s programme

February Book Club - Strumpet City by James Plunkett.

First published in 1969, Strumpet City is a historical novel set in Dublin at the time of the time of the Lockout. The novel is an epic, tracing the lives of a dozen characters as they are swept up in the tumultuous events that affected Dublin between 1907 and 1914.

Why did we never take to eating horsemeat in this country?

Why did we never take to eating horsemeat in this country?

When horse meat was found in burgers and frozen meals in recent weeks, we learned a lot about our attitude to hippophagy.

That might sound like a subject in Hogwarts but it’s the term for eating horse meat. Ireland has a long history of saying ‘neigh’ to horsemeat.

Irish Times restaurant critic Catherine Cleary came in to talk about the history of the Irish taboo against horse meat, from medieval Irish monks to the Phibsboro horse butcher of 1960s Dublin.

 Video link:

Back in 1966 a Dublin butcher was selling horse meat for human consumption. Mr. Hickey the owner of the recently opened shop specialising in horse meat talks to Cathal O'Shannon for 'Newsbeat'.Members of the public offer their opinions on the eating of horse meat.

This report for 'Newsbeat' was broadcast first on 1 February 1966.

Vonolel - Dublin's War Horse

Vonolel - Dublin's War Horse

One of the most unusual graves in Dublin is found at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, and marks the final resting place of Vonolel, a bemedalled military horse and loyal companion of Field Marshall Earl Roberts who saw action in Afghanistan and India in service to his master.

Historian, Donal Fallon brought us the story of Vonolel which was read by David Herlihy.

Come Here to Me! Dublin’s Other History by Donal Fallon, Sam McGrath and Ciaran Murray is published by New Island Books.

The First Teddy Bear

The First Teddy Bear

110 Years ago this week, the first Teddy Bear went on sale in New York.

The consistently popular toy is named after US President Teddy Roosevelt - a man who had an often conflicting relationship with nature. He was one of the first Presidents to recognise the importance of conservation, but he was also a lifelong hunter.

Lorcan Clancy has taken a look back at the sometimes contradictory man and the incident that inspired the Teddy Bear.

Magdalen Laundry court sentence

Magdalen Laundry court sentence

Catriona Crowe joined us with her monthly document from the National Archives.  This month she discussed court records relating to the committal of a woman convicted of infanticide to a Magdalen institution in 1950.

Statement by Mary R - 7 December 1949

In about the third week of March 1949, my friends stopped and I knew in June 1949 that I was going to have a baby.

My aunt Bridget sent me to the doctor and he told me I was going to have a baby.

I remember Wednesday morning, the 30th of December 1949. I was in the house here alone except for my Aunt Bridget who was in bed upstairs.

I took up my aunt’s breakfast to her at about 9am and I took my own breakfast downstairs. After having my breakfast at about 9.30am, I started to get pains in my stomach. The pain was not too bad at first but got worse and I cried with the pain.

I went up to the top floor and lay in the bed. There were no bedclothes on the bed except the mattress. I lay on the mattress for about an hour and a half. I was getting very bad pains all the time. I got up from the bed as I thought I wanted to do my water. I sat on the pot and the baby was born. I took it up as it had cried twice. I put my hand to its neck and squeezed a little on its neck to stop the crying.

I was afraid the people in the street would hear the crying. I held my hand with my fingers holdings its throat until it got quiet. I then put the baby back in the bed. I put its legs and back into the pot and the head hung over the pot with the face downwards. I knew it was dead.

The doctor came at about 3pm and he was the first person to see it.

Between 1.30 and 2pm, I came downstairs and got the dinner ready. I gave my aunt dinner and had some myself.

I got up at about 8.30am the next morning. My mother came in at about 2.30pm. I got tea for her and she went to leave the house at about 3pm. I asked her where she was going and she said “I am going the priest”. I told her to go to the doctor first.

She left and when she came back I told her that I had the baby upstairs and it was dead.

The priest came to the house to see my aunt at about 3pm and met him on the stairs. He saw I was weak and asked me what was the matter with me. I told him I was after having the baby and that it was upstairs in the pot. He came upstairs with me and I showed him the baby in the chamber pot at about 4pm.

The doctor and the sergeant took the baby away.

I have heard this statement read to me and it is correct. I do not wish to make any additions or alterations to it.

The documents discussed on the programme are 1. Trial Record Book, Central Criminal Court, 1946 -52, Co. Wexford, and 2. Central Criminal Court file no. 1, 1950, Co. Wexford. In keeping with current practice, the participants have been anonymised in these transcripts. The originals e available to view in the National Archives.

Irish Victorian Mountaineers

Irish Victorian Mountaineers


'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.'

Sombre words there from Edward Whymper, the first man to climb the Matterhorn in 1865. It was a triumphant ascent – but a tragic descent as four of his party were killed on the way down.

The Golden Age of Alpine Mountaineering ran from 1854 to 1865 and what might come as a surprise is how Irish climbers blazed a trail during this time.

Historian, Declan O’Keeffe and mountaineer, Frank Nugent came in to talk about some of our Victorian mountaineers. Incidentally, Frank was a member of the first successful Irish expedition to Mount Everest in 1993.

Colette Kinsella spoke to Sean Duke about mountaineer and scientist, John Tyndall from Co. Carlow.

About The Show

Bringing the past to life! Discover how our world was shaped as Myles Dungan and guests explore events ranging from medieval times to the recent past.

We want to help explain ourselves to ourselves. We will search out fresh angles on familiar topics, seek out the unfamiliar and will not shy away from bizarre or controversial issues. Our ultimate goal is to make The History Show the primary port of call for those with an intense or even a modest interest in the subject. We want to entice the casual and the curious to join us in celebrating the past.

Our aim is to create informative, reflective, stimulating and above all, entertaining radio.

Join us on Sundays from 6.05pm for The History Show with Myles Dungan on RTÉ Radio 1.

A Pegasus production for RTÉ. 



Contact the Show

Presenter: Myles Dungan

Producer: Lorcan Clancy


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