The History Show

The History Show

Sunday, 6pm

The History Show Sunday 21 April 2013

The History Show

On tonights programme, Object Matters: Making 1916 conference, Pan Am Crash at Shannon in April 1948, 70th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and April Book Club - Pride & Prejudice.

Making 1916

Making 1916

With the centenary of the 1916 Rising drawing ever closer, there’s no shortage of publications and papers dealing with the events of Easter Week, but what really brings this period to life are objects, souvenirs and images from this time – and indeed the stories behind them.

For instance, the idea behind that famous side-profile photo of Padraig Pearse was more about hiding a birth deformity than projecting his heroic ideals. And the famous tricolour which flew over the GPO was scarcely recognised by most folk back then. Up to this point, our best known tricolour was the green, white and purple of the suffragettes.

Design historian, Dr Lisa Godson of NCAD and archaeologist, Dr. Joanna Bruck of UCD are behind “Making 1916” – a conference on the material and visual culture of the Easter Rising which is taking place later this week.

They joined Myles to talk about souvenirs of the Rising, artifacts and material culture of the Rising.

Object Matters: Making 1916

Where did the tricolour in the GPO come from? In nationalist mythology, it arrived in Ireland during the ‘year of revolutions’ of 1848 and was then flown in triumph from the buildings occupied by the doomed but heroic rebels in Easter week 1916. But according to artist and educator Brian Hand, the best-known tricolour up to 1916 was the green, white and purple of the suffragettes. In research to be presented at a groundbreaking conference on April 26-7, Hand will demonstrate that our national flag was scarcely recognised in 1916.

Focussing on the objects, spaces and art used and inspired by the Rising, other topics to be explored at the ‘Making 1916’ conference include the artefacts made by prisoners at Frongoch internment camp – Celtic crosses and harps as might be expected, but also macramé handbags! The often-overlooked stories of female imprisonment are also included through archaeologist Laura McAtackney’s analysis of the autograph books of women rebels which illustrate the diversity of their experience and the divisions and divergences in their backgrounds, aims, opinions and expectations.

The different ways the myths of 1916 were created and sustained will also be explored. Brian Crowley (curator of the Pearse Museum) will look at how the famous side-profile image of Pearse – which so powerfully projects his heroic ideals – owes its origin to his attempts to hide a birth deformity when being photographed, while photo historian Orla Fitzpatrick will demonstrate how photographs of the widows and children of 1916 were used in the aftermath of the Rising to emphasise their respectability and propriety – very much at odds with the reality of rebellion and violence.

Lar Joye (curator of military history at the National Museum of Ireland) will explore how the Rising was presented in museum exhibitions in 1932, 1941, 1966 and 1991. Other speakers include Professor Mary Daly (UCD) who will address the ways 1916 was commemorated in the years after the Rising – particularly relevant at this moment when the centenary looms – and Kevin Rockett (Professor of Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin) who will look at how the Rising affected the depiction of Irish history in film.

Organised by Dr Lisa Godson (National College of Art & Design/GradCAM) –  and Dr Joanna Brück (UCD School of Archaeology)

Supported by NCAD, GradCAM, UCD and Dublin City Council to be launched by the Lord Mayor of DublinLocation - the Wood Quay Venue in Dublin City Council’s Civic OfficesDates - Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April.

Open to the public - full programme and registration details can be found at

Attendance - €50 waged/€30 unwaged including refreshments.


Pan Am Crash at Shannon in April 1948

Pan Am Crash at Shannon in April 1948

In April of 1948, Pan Am Flight 1-10 crashed near Shannon Airport after striking a low stone fence while attempting to land.

The plane, named “The Empress of The Skies” was operating a round-the-world service from San Francisco to New York. Of the 21 passengers and 10 crew members on board, there was only one survivor.

This week marks the 65th anniversary of the crash, and to commemorate the tragedy, local historian Tony Cassidy has written a new booklet about the accident which also tells the stories of the people involved. Lorcan Clancy went to Ennis where most of the victims of the crash are buried, and he reported on the story of Pan Am Flight 1-10.

70th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

On Friday, in the Polish capital Warsaw, a commemoration was held to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.

It was a heroic but doomed act of resistance by Jewish fighters to stall the Nazi's final liquidation of the city's Jewish Ghetto. The Uprising marked the end of one of the most tragic chapters of World War Two - as Liam Nolan reported from Warsaw.

April April Book Club - Pride & Prejudice

April April Book Club - Pride & Prejudice

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.’

The sublime opening of one of the greatest novels in the English or any other language. Pride and Prejudice is two hundred years old this year and is one of six completed, full-length novels by one of the greatest and most deliciously acerbic writers in the English literary canon, Jane Austen. Tonight, in our April Book Club, we are going to look at the society depicted by the author and the life of the novelist herself and of some interesting Irish relatives.

Pride and Prejudice was discussed by journalist Noreen Hegarty, and historian Turtle Bunbury and Sophia Hillan, author of May, Lou and Cass, Jane Austen’s nieces in Ireland (Blackstaff Press).

Click to view quotes from Pride and Prejudice

May Book Club - The Outer Edge of Ulster

May Book Club - The Outer Edge of Ulster

The Outer Edge of Ulster - Hugh Dorian’s recollections of life and death in mid-nineteenth-century north Donegal published by Lilliput Press.

In the 1890s, Hugh Dorian completed a memoir which he entitled "Donegal Sixty Years Ago". This volume presents this work, a century later, and provides a picture of 19th-century Irish society as observed by the author.

There are many anecdotal stories in this previously unpublished firsthand account of rural life in nineteenth-century Ireland. Dorian's narrative is a timely addition to the increasing research on Ireland's history "from below," an approach that relies on such important non-traditional sources as memoirs, oral narratives, and folklore.

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. 



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Presenter: Myles Dungan

Producer: Lorcan Clancy


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