04 Oct 2022

Kildare history lovers encouraged to explore the Dublin Festival of History's programme of events

Kildare history lovers encouraged to explore the Dublin Festival of History's programme of events

Launching the Dublin Festival of History in DIAS Dunsink Observatory were Cillian Byrne and  Sebastian Licciardi. Pic: Marc O'Sullivan

Kildare history lovers are encouraged to explore the Dublin Festival of History's free programme of events next week.

The Festival features a mix of in-person, hybrid and online events this year.

Dublin Festival of History — brought to the public by Dublin City Council and organised by Dublin City Libraries in partnership with Dublin City Council Culture Company — is now in its tenth year.

It will play host to an international and Irish line-up of speakers, as well as walks, tours and exhibitions. 

Three weeks of more than 130 free-to-attend events will be held across 71 venues, with special events for children also set to take place, offering something for everyone.

The festival will shine a light and fresh perspectives on topics such as the centenary of the Irish Civil War, trailblazing female figures, and queer activism in 1970s and 1980s Ireland.

The festival’s Big Weekend is happening on Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of October, at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, 152-60 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

The line-up for it includes in-person talks and seminars that will also be livestreamed, allowing people in Kildare to also tune in online.


Some of the highlights of The Big Weekend include:

The Van Gogh Sisters — Willem-Jan Verlinden
Dutch-born art historian and writer Willem-Jan Verlinden will be discussing his historical biography that brings Vincent Van Gogh’s three sisters out from their brother’s shadow, poignantly portraying their dreams, disappointments and grief. He will uncover the previously neglected voices of his sisters Anna, Lies and Willemien, with whom Vincent had intimate and sometimes turbulent relationships.

The Wrath to Come: Gone with the Wind and the Myth of the Lost — Sarah Churchwell
American professor and author Sarah Churchwell will be discussing her razor-sharp examination of Margaret’s Mitchell’s 1936 epic novel Gone with the Wind. Churchwell traces the novel and film’s relationship to the myth of ‘the Lost Cause’ and how they foreshadow the controversies in America today, from race riots to Trump.

Sister Against Sister: Women and the Irish Civil War
Why did Cumann na mBan reject the Treaty and what role did women play in a war where their contribution led to over 500 women being imprisoned by their former comrades? Why were women denounced as ‘furies’, with measures enacted by the Free State to force their return to the home? Leading historians Dr Siobhra Aiken (Queens University Belfast), Dr Leeann Lane (DCU), Dr Mary McAuliffe (UCD), Dr Margaret Ward (Queens University Belfast) and Dr Fionnuala Walsh (UCD) will reflect on events leading to the Irish Civil War and the contribution made by women to the war — from both sides of the divide.

The Extraordinary Life of Rose Dugdale — Sean O’Driscoll
Irish journalist and author Sean O’Driscoll will talk about the English heiress Rose Dugdale, who devoted her life to the IRA and who is the subject of his latest book. Presented to the Queen as a debutante in 1958, trained at Oxford as an economist, where she had a love affair with a female professor, in 1972 Dugdale travelled to Ireland and joined the IRA.

The Celts: A Sceptical History — Simon Jenkins
British writer Simon Jenkins will be discussing how theories of Celticism continue to fuel many of the prejudices and misconceptions that divide the peoples of the British Isles to this day. In his latest book, he sets out that the history of the Celts is the history of a misnomer, pointing out how the word “keltoi” first appears in Greek and applied generally to aliens or barbarians.

Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World — Kate Mosse
Award-winning British novelist and writer Kate Mosse will talk about her alternative feminist history of the world and personal memoir about the nature of women’s struggles to be heard, about how history is made and by whom. Her latest book tells the stories of female inventors and scientists, philanthropists and conservationists, authors and campaigners, such as Sophie Scholl, Mary Seacole, Cornelia Sorabji, Helen Suzman, Shirley Chisholm, and Violette Szabo, as well as passages about the life of her great-grandmother, Lily Watson.

The Stand with Eamon Dunphy Podcast
Writer and broadcaster Eamon Dunphy will be bringing his podcast, The Stand, which he launched in 2016, to a live audience, promising lively and informative conversation.

Ali at Croke Park
To mark the 50th anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s fight at Croke Park, the GAA Museum will present an evening of conversation and talks about this memorable sporting occasion, with guest speakers Dublin Historian-in-Residence James Curry and journalist and lecturer Dave Hannigan. Attendees will also have a chance to see Ali’s shorts and glove which are on display in the museum alongside a ticket from the fight.

Gay and Lesbian Activism in the Republic of Ireland, 1973-93
Academic and author Patrick McDonagh will trace the emergence of visible gay and lesbian communities across the Republic of Ireland and their impact on public perceptions of homosexuality.

How to be a Historian: Children’s Tour
The GPO Museum will run a Young Historian’s Tour for children, who will be shown how to use evidence, such as photographs and artefacts on display in the museum, and their imagination to reconstruct the past. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Although all Dublin Festival of History events are free, but booking may be required. 

Full programme details, along with information about how to book, is available online at

The festival is taking place from Monday, September 26 to Sunday, October 16.


Dublin City Council Culture Company runs cultural initiatives and buildings across the city with, and for, the people of Dublin.

The organisation collaborates with people, communities, cultural organisations, businesses, and Dublin City Council to embed cultural experiences and increase cultural participation throughout Dublin. 

The Dublin Festival of History partners with a number of organisations.

These include: Richmond Barracks, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Irish Historic Towns Atlas: Royal Irish Academy, Irish Research Council, Irish Film Institute, GAA Museum, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), Acadamh na Lianna, The Edward Worth Library, National Library of Ireland, Chester Beatty, National Library of Ireland, 14 Henrietta Street, Irish Manuscripts Commission, Kilmainham Gaol Museum, Irish Society for Archives, Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again, Registry of Deeds Archive Services, Grangegorman Histories, Central Bank of Ireland Archives, Dublin City Council, the National University of Ireland, Dublinia, Friends of Medieval Dublin, Fingal Festival of History, Rathfarnham Castle, The Pearse Museum and Little Museum of Dublin.

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