The History Show

The History Show

The History Show Sunday 2 May 2021

The History Show

The History Show

On this week's programme - Sean Nós songs in 19th century Pennsylvania; how the USA closed its door to Irish immigrants; and when the Nazis bombed Dublin's North Strand.

The Reverend Daniel Murphy Archive

The Reverend Daniel Murphy Archive

Traditional Sean Nós songs in the Irish language are an important part of Irish social and cultural history. In centuries gone by, the collectors who transcribed and preserved Irish music, like Sean Nós songs, recognised this – and worked to preserve this vital part of our heritage.

We're going to look now at one particular collection, the Reverend Daniel J. Murphy Archive at NUI Galway – which contains around 1200 of these songs.

The collection is named for Daniel Murphy from Sligo, an emigrant to the United States. Along with another emigrant, JJ Lyons from Galway, he spent decades – from the 1880s to the 1930s - transcribing folklore and songs from his fellow countrymen and women all around Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

To talk about it, Myles is joined by Dr. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile, who this week presented her research in a keynote lecture to the Irish embassy in the USA.

Click here for more information about the archive.

The song heard at the beginning and end of this segment is An Abhainn Mhóir performed by Saileog Ní Cheannabháin. It's taken from Saileog's album Roithleán from Raelach Records. Click here for more information.

The 1930 recording of Brighid Ní Mháille singing Céad slán dhuit, a Abhainn Mhór comes courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy - the full recording is available here.

How America's Door was Closed to the Irish

How America's Door was Closed to the Irish

President Joe Biden, in his address to Congress earlier this week, spoke of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States and encouraged legislators to take action.

Among these undocumented immigrants are many Irish people. Estimates vary, but thousands or even tens of thousands of undocumented Irish-born people live in the US – unable to leave out of fear of being barred re-entry.

The logistics of emigrating and pursuing the fabled 'American dream' has changed a lot in the past sixty years or so – due to various legislative reforms in the US Congress.

This story is told in a new book Unintended Consequences: The Story of Irish Immigration to the US, and how America’s Door Was Closed to the Irish. Myles is joined by the author is Ray O’Hanlon, editor of the New York City-published Irish Echo newspaper.

North Strand Bombing

North Strand Bombing

Despite officially declaring its neutrality at the start of World War Two, Ireland suffered several bombing raids during the conflict. The worst of these occurred 80 years ago in North Dublin City.

Our reporter, Marc McMenamin found out more about the North Strand Bombing. He speaks to historian Aaron O'Maonaigh and Dr Ciaran Reilly of the Arts and Humanities Institute, Maynooth University.

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

An Abhainn Mhóir .

An Abhainn Mhóir .

Saileog Ní Cheannabháin


Route 12

Route 12

Thomas Newman




Contact the Show

Presenter: Myles Dungan

Producer: Lorcan Clancy

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