Irish History Podcast


Getting Dirty in a Digital Archive

What did Dublin look like before the authorities demolished the medieval city? 

How did Irish people address Queen Victoria during the Famine?

The answers to these questions lie in documents stored in Dublin City Library's archives which chronicles 800 years of life in the city. Until now the only way to access the archive and it's fascinating stories was to go in person to Pearse Street Library. 

That is all about to change. 

This week sees the launch of a ground breaking project as Dublin City Library and Archive publish 50,000 documents online. Better still they are asking history fans across the world to help transcribe this archive.

In this podcast librarian Padraic Stack brings you behind the scenes in the archive. He tells the fascinating stories of letters to the Queen during the Famine and how medieval Dublin was demolished. He also explains how you (yes you!) can get involved in transcribing these documents from the comfort of your home. 

Its a rare opportunity to get dirty in Dublin's archives! The link referenced in the show is here

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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Disert - A Place Where Mythology and History Meets

Disert is a remote townland in the Bluestack Mountains in Co Donegal. For reasons that are not entirely clear, our ancestors have been drawn here for thousands of years. There is no question it is a special place.Located in the shade of a sacred mountain - Carnaween - it was a site of pagan worship associated with some of the most famous figures in Irish mythology. There are stories relating to Finn MacCumhail (McCool), Diarmaid and Grainne in the surrounding area.It was also used by early Irish Christians and medieval pilgrims. In the 18th century Catholics were drawn to Disert when their religion was suppressed by the penal laws. Even into the 20th century it was used as a cillín to bury unbaptised children. Today the local community continues to pray at the site.The questions remains why? What is special about this site?Over the last few years archaeologists led by Dr Fiona Beglane from Atlantic Technological University, Sligo have been excavating Disert to try and understand its complex story.Her international team of archaeologists from the Institute for Field Research and California State University Los Angeles have made some fascinating discoveries.Last summer I visited Disert to record an episode at the excavation. In this podcast Fiona shares what her team uncovered in this remarkable place...Thanks to Dr Fiona Beglane for her time and archaeologist Rebekka Grace who arranged the recordings.Find out more about Disert at