Dublin Festival of History programme goes live with 200 free events throughout the city and beyondPadraig Conlon 30 Aug 2023
The programme for this year’s Dublin Festival of History has been launched today.
Now in its 11th year, this year’s Festival is the largest yet – with 200 free events taking place across Dublin city and county from 25 September to 15 October.
The event is organised by Dublin City Libraries in partnership with Dublin City Council Culture Company.
New additions to this year’s line-up include a number of walking tours, screenings, exhibitions and theatre performances, with the annual “Big Weekend” of talks taking place in The Printworks in Dublin Castle from Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 1. All events are free, but most require pre-booking.
With the majority of events taking place in library branches throughout the city and county, Festival partners will also be hosting events north and south of the Liffey, including Kilmainham Gaol, the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin and the Casino Marino, the RDS Library and Archives, the National Gallery of Ireland and The Orchard Community Centre in Cherry Orchard, amongst many others.
The programme aims to cater to all audiences, with both daytime and evening events; a programme of events as Gaeilge; and a host of family-friendly activities. A number of the events will also have Irish Sign Language interpreters.
Speaking at the launch today, Dublin City Librarian Mairead Owens said; “Dublin Festival of History is an annual opportunity to discuss and reflect on the important role of history in our lives and to shine fresh perspectives on the world around us – not just the built environment, but the cultural, social and economic fabric of Dublin, Ireland, and beyond.
“There are fragments and stories of our past in every street and suburb of Dublin. We have a host of new additions to our programme in the form of walking tours, exhibitions, screenings, and much more, with events to cater to all interests. There will be events in libraries and with our festival partners in every neighbourhood of the city and throughout the county, so we are encouraging people to take a look at our programme, find out what events are taking place locally to them and to let the Festival feed their curiosity and unearth the many hidden stories and tales of Dublin.”
Programme highlights this year include:
- Bright stars of the history podcast world feature during the Big Weekend, with Fin Dwyer of the Irish History Podcast, Tom Holland, known for “The Rest is History”, and Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick, hosts of the Bad Bridget podcast which explores the remarkable lives of some Irish emigrant women.
- An event celebrating 50 years of the seminal album “The Táin” by the Horslips, where band members Jim Lockhart and Barry Devlin will discuss their inspiration for the album.
- An exploration of the story of Dublin’s Docklands aboard the historic Old Liffey Ferry No. 11. The ferry will take attendees on a tour through the heart of the Docklands to hear tales of tall ships, historical families and pirates, as well as the secrets of the Pidgeon House Harbour. The tour is suitable for families.
- A screening of “From Dublin to Lyon: A History of Sex Work” in Pearse Street Library. The film documents the occupation of a church in Lyon by over 200 sex workers in 1975 to protest against police harassment. This screening will be following by a panel discussion on the history of sex work in Ireland.
- Events in local libraries, such as an Irish-language event examining the work of Brendan Behan, taking place in Pembroke Library, Dublin 4. Other events in libraries include one for American history enthusiasts with US historian Cecelia Hartsell in Ringsend Library; and on the back of the Irish women’s team first time participating in the World Cup, Dr Conor Curran will explore the development of women’s soccer in 20th century Dublin in Drumcondra Library, Millmount Avenue. There will be a retelling of the tale of the 1973 escape from Mountjoy Prison by helicopter, taking place in Phibsboro Library; and an introduction to the life and work of Harry Clarke taking place in Cabra Library on the Navan Road.
- A special exhibition of personal histories made by a group of people from across Dublin, in collaboration with visual artist Claire Halpin and poet Colm Keegan, as part of The National Neighbourhood, a cultural programme that connects communities, artists and villages with libraries, museums, and creative places across Dublin City. Together with the artists, the group developed their own personal archives, brought to life through objects, stories and poems. The Archive Within Us will be on display in Charleville Mall Library, North Strand.,
- A host of walking tours in locations throughout the city. One such tour will look at veterans’ houses in Cabra, built in the 1920’s specifically for soldiers from WW1 and their families. The style of the houses was subsequently replicated by the government for large-scale housing schemes in the rest of Cabra and elsewhere, including a complete new suburb at Killester in north Dublin.
- Family friendly events including a discussion with beloved children’s author Marita Conlon McKenna and Dublin’s Historian in Residence for Children, Dervilia Roche on Marita’s work and her love of history; a LEGO®-themed workshop; and family-friendly walking tours and a self-guided “Hidden Histories Treasure Hunt” which involves solving clues to unlock some of the hidden parts of Dublin’s history.
Speaking at the festival launch, Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste said: “I am delighted to officially launch this year’s Dublin Festival of History programme. It is wonderful to see a wide range of diverse events, walking tours, exhibitions and more take place in libraries and partner venues the length and breadth of the city. History will be coming alive in Dublin for the three weeks of the festival, and I would encourage as many as possible to check the programme to see what events are taking place on their doorstep.”
Commenting on the launch of the festival programme, Iseult Dunne, CEO of Dublin City Council Culture Company said: “We are delighted to once again be partnering with Dublin City Libraries to present the Dublin Festival of History. Our work at the Culture Company is all about opening up more ways for people to connect with culture in neighbourhoods across Dublin City. This year’s Festival programme is packed with opportunities for people to discover the stories and histories that have shaped the places we call home and the ways we live our lives. We warmly invite you all to enjoy this fantastic festival – and with 200 events across 30 villages in Dublin, featuring 200 speakers covering over 2,000 years of history, we are sure that there really is something for everyone to join in.”
The full programme of events is available online at www.dublinfestivalofhistory.ie and from libraries throughout Dublin city, and from the Festival’s partners.