The History Show

The History Show

Sunday, 6pm

The History Show Sunday 3 November 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.


A History of Hurling and Hurling Balls

Hurling has been our national game for over 3,000 years.

A new exhibition in Mayo sheds light on the earliest artefacts of the game - the oldest surviving hurling balls which are a far cry from the leather covered sliotar.

Liam Geraghty talked to Clodagh Doyle about the exhibition, 'Hair Hurling Balls' exhibition which is now on at the National Museum of Ireland's Country Life building in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.   

UCD historian, Paul Rouse talked to Myles about where the game of hurling began and how it evolved. 

 Saturday 16 November 2013:   4pm.

 From Setanta to Sheflin: An Illustrated History  of Hurling.

Hurling is an ancient game of myth and legend which today is a 21st century commercialised sport.  UCD Lecturer Paul Rouse will trace hurling history and examine why it is played uniquely by the Irish.

Venue:  National Museum of Ireland's Country Life building in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.   

Booking required.


"Hair hurling balls: Earliest artefacts of our national game"

 "Hair hurling balls: Earliest artefacts of our national game" , is now open in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

The exhibition features 14 hurling balls made from matted cow hair with a plaited horsehair covering.  All the balls have been dated to the late seventeenth century or earlier.  The earliest was made in the second half of the twelfth century –800 years ago! The Museum’s oldest-known hurley, from Co. Offaly, is also on display.

Munster features strongly in the exhibition with finds from Clare, north Kerry, west Limerick and Tipperary (with loans of balls from Kerry County Museum and Cork Public Museum).  There are also balls from east Sligo and the latest ball into the National Museum of Ireland collection is from north Mayo. All were found through hand cutting turf in bogs over the past 100 years.

These balls are the predecessors of the modern leather-covered sliotar. The exhibition will also include examples of hurleys from our recent past and sliotars from our hurling legends of today.

Cú Chulainn played hurling: we have always known that hurling was part of our ancient past. This exhibition examines these bog finds in relation to where in the country they were discovered, how they were made and how they measure up to the modern ball. New research on these balls revealed radio-carbon dates of the earliest to 800 years ago! The exhibition also centres on the scientific research used to untangle the mysteries of these balls.  

The exhibition will run until May 2014.  A programme of events accompanies this interactive exhibition.

Forging a Kingdom – The GAA in Kerry 1884–1934 by Richard McElligott (The Collins Press).

County identity is fundamental in the GAA. By 1934 Kerry was one of the bastions of the Association.   This book charts the development of the GAA in Kerry and how it became the county’s most popular sporting organisation. It outlines the links with cultural and revolutionary movements, the role of the county’s GAA in the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and Civil War, and the effects of political violence on the Kerry GAA.’

Kerry remained a political hotbed of Republicanism after the Civil War and this continually manifested itself among the GAA hierarchy. Despite this, by 1934 Kerry’s unique tradition within the GAA had been forged.

The Connaught Rangers and World War I

Connaught Rangers and the Irish in World War I

8, 9 and 10 November

Markree Castle, Sligo and King House, Boyle

Patricia Cooper from Sligo joined us to talk about her great great grandfather, Bryan Cooper who fought in World War I with the Connaught Rangers and how this link inspired the forthcoming World War I weekend.

Markree Castle is a hotel in Co. Sligo and the ancestral home of the Cooper family. At the outbreak of the First World War and, in spite of having spent a short time in the Royal Artillery when he left school, Bryan Cooper joined the Conaught Rangers in 1914.

He served in Gallipoli , about which we wrote The 10th (Irish Division) in Gallipoli,  but was continuously suffering from ill health and so was sent to London in 1916 where he worked in the Press Censor’s office. At the end of the war he was sent to Ireland as first press censor.  It is somewhat ironic that he wrote, “The soldiers true reward is the gratitude of his fellow countrymen, and that we have in full measure obtained, Ireland will not easily forget our deeds”.  

It is this link with the Connaught Rangers that has inspired current owner Charles Cooper, his daughter Patricia and Pat Timpson of Markree Castle to develop a programme of events focusing on the Irish connection with the Great War and in particular the Connaught Rangers. 

Background to World War I Weekend

Markree Castle, in association with the Connaught Rangers association is putting together a series of talks and events to allow enthusiasts and the public alike to discover more about the Irish in World War I in general and the Connaught Rangers in particular. 

A series of open events and lectures will take place, culminating in the Remembrance Day ceremony at King House.  The aim is two fold, both to enthuse members of the general public and allow them to uncover the World War I past of their own families and also to allow members of the Connaught Rangers Association the chance to celebrate the regiment's rich heritage. 

In recent years, the Irish public are beginning to enquire about this lost generation of World War I soldiers.  There is a very distinct keenness to acknowledge the thousands of Irishmen who left behind family and friends, to serve in World War I, coming back to hostility and  emnity or not coming back at all.  This generation is struggling to unearth a past which in many families has to this day not been acknowledged, and oral and written history lost or consigned to a forgotten drawer. 

Of the 13,400 men who served with the Connaught Rangers in World War I, there are potentially thousands of descendents, many of whom are starting to explore that aspect of their past, looking back to their Grandparents and Great-grandparents generations.  More significantly there are those to whom the possibility that an ancestor fought on the British side in the Great War is just something that has not even registered.

 For full conference details

50th anniversary of Beatles visit

50 years ago this week, the Beatles arrived at Dublin Airport to a rapturous reception from Irish fans.  They only ever visited Ireland once as a group, for two performances at the Adelphi Cinema on Abbey Street in Dublin. 

Lorcan Clancy spoke to author and broadcaster Colm Keane about how Beatlemania came to Ireland. 

Colm Keane will be among the participants at the Dublin Beatles Festival - 7 to 10 November.


Jim Lockhart and Barry Devlin of Horslips were both huge Beatles fans.   They talked on the programme about how, if it wasn’t for the Beatles, we’d have quite a different society and music scene today.    

HORSLIPS:  Tall Tales – The Official Biography by Mark Cunningham (O’Brien Press)

Featuring a detailed timeline of events, exclusive interviews, previously unpublished photography and a wealth of memorabilia including original handwritten lyrics and session notes, this is the first-ever book dedicated to the history of HORSLIPS, the legendary pioneers of Celtic Rock.

Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary from the release of their classic concept album, The Táin, it chronicles the unprecedented rise, innovation and 21st century reunion of the band who uniquely fused traditional tunes with hard-edged rock and ancient mythological themes to give Irish music a new and exciting international identity.


The Decade of Centenaries

A public consultation session on the subject of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ 2012-23 will be held in the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork city, at 8pm in the evening of Thursday 7 November.

It is being organised by the Expert Advisory Group, which was established by the Irish Government in 2012 to assist it in its efforts to frame an appropriate approach to the centenary commemoration of the ‘revolutionary decade’ in modern Irish history, 1912-23.

The first part of the session will consist of a brief overview of both the work of the committee itself (its personnel, remit, activities) and the broader range of commemorative initiatives involving the Irish government. The main part of the evening will, however, be a forum in which the Cork public can express their opinions on what considerations the government should take into account in framing its policy towards the commemorative decade, especially in the years leading up to the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

The following members of the Group will be in attendance: Maurice Manning, Chair and Chancellor of the National University of Ireland; Martin Mansergh, vice chair, historian, and former Senator, TD, and Government Advisor; and Gabriel Doherty, School of History, University College Cork

The event is free, and open to all members of the public.

For further details contact Gabriel Doherty, School of History, University College Cork


Pope John Paul II Conference

The School of History, University College Cork, is hosting a major international conference on the life of Pope John Paul II on Saturday 9 November 2013, in the Boole IV lecture theatre.

A range of expert speakers from Ireland and Poland will address various aspects of the late Pope’s career, including:

          The moral theology of Pope John Paul II;

          John Paul II and European politics; 

The Catholic church in Ireland and the pontificate of Pope John Paul II;

          Women in the church of John Paul II;

          John Paul II and the People’s Republic of Poland;

The conference is free, and open to all members of the public. The conference programme can be downloaded from

Coming up on next week's programme.....

November Book Club:

All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel by Erich Maria Remarque who was a German veteran of World War I. 

The book describes life in the trenches from the German soldier’s perspective and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.  

We’ll also be marking the 60th anniversary of the evacuation of the Great Blasket.


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. 

Music Played on the Show

All My Loving

All My Loving

The Beatles


Till There Was You

Till There Was You

The Beatles


I Saw Her Standing There

I Saw Her Standing There

The Beatles


Cardinal Knowledge

Cardinal Knowledge



Bodhran Solo

Bodhran Solo

Ivan Smyth




Contact the Show

Presenter: Myles Dungan

Producer: Lorcan Clancy


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