Home/Dublin Festival Of History

We are delighted to once again be Official Booksellers for Dublin Festival of History and, although we’re sad that we can’t see you all in person this year with one of our “pop-up festival bookshops”, we’ll have all the books for participating authors available for purchase through the website. So do book a free ticket & support the authors, festival and an Irish indie bookshop with a great new read! And remember, postage is FREE on orders over €30 for delivery in the Republic of Ireland. Just choose the Free Shipping option at checkout.

See www.dublinfestivalofhistory.ie for more information.

  • From war to revolution, famine to emigration, The Darkness Echoing travels around Ireland bringing its dark past to lifeIreland is a nation obsessed with death. We find a thrill in the moribund, a strange enchantment in the drama of our dark past. It's everywhere we look and in all of our beloved myths, songs and stories that have helped to form our cultural identity. Our wakes and ballads, our plays and famine sites, all of them and more come together to tell ourselves and the world who we are and what we have suffered to get here. Gillian O'Brien had a beloved grandmother who tried on outfits in preparation for her wake. Always fascinated by the Irish preoccupation with death and the rituals around it, Gillian sets out to explore this intriguing habit of ours, to be compelled to celebrate the macabre and relish the darkness of own mortality. In The Darkness Echoing she tours Ireland to find our most haunted and fascinating historical sites, to discover the stories behind them and reveal what they say about Ireland as a nation. ISBN 9781781620502
  • When Dubliner Derek Scally goes to Christmas Eve Mass on a visit home from Berlin, he finds more memories than congregants in the church where he was once an altar boy. Not for the first time, the collapse of the Catholic Church in Ireland brings to mind the fall of another powerful ideology - East German communism. While Germans are engaging earnestly with their past, Scally sees nothing comparable going on in his native land. So he embarks on a quest to unravel the tight hold the Church had on the Irish. He travels the length and breadth of Ireland and across Europe, going to Masses, novenas, shrines and seminaries, talking to those who have abandoned the Church and those who have held on, to survivors and campaigners, to writers, historians, psychologists and many more. And he has probing and revealing encounters with Vatican officials, priests and religious along the way. The Best Catholics in the World is the remarkable result of his three-year journey. With wit, wisdom and compassion Scally gives voice and definition to the murky and difficult questions that face a society coming to terms with its troubling past. It is both a lively personal odyssey and a resonant and gripping work of reporting that is a major contribution to the story of Ireland. 'An engaging and incisive book that asks what keeping the faith cost us, how it shaped us and what it means now' Caelainn Hogan, author of Republic of Shame 'Offers some challenging end-of-an-era reflections on being Catholic in the scandal-ridden church of contemporary Ireland' Mary McAleese 'At once intimate and epic, this is a landmark book' Fintan O'Toole 'A great achievement ... Brilliant, engaging and essential' Colm Toibin 'A clear-headed account of a changing country and a provocative insight into a time that many would rather forget' John Boyne ISBN 9781844885268
  • Blending the drama of real events with Jordan's inimitable storytelling ability, this work spotlights a long-forgotten chapter in Ireland's history. The tale is related by Lord Edward Fitzgerald's manservant Tony Small, a runaway slave who rescued Lord Edward after the Battle of Eutaw Springs during the American War of Independence. While the details of Lord Edward's life are well-documented, very little is known of Tony Small, who, in this gripping narrative, examines the ironies of empire, captivity and freedom. Small, who knows too well the consequences of rebellion and resistance, reflects on Lord Edward's journey from being a loyal servant of the British Empire to becoming a 1798 rebellion leader. ISBN 9781843518037
  • Once Dublin's most exclusive residential street, Henrietta Street was home to country's foremost figures from church, military, and state throughout the eighteenth century. In this elegant setting on the north side of the city, peers rubbed shoulders with property tycoons, clerics consorted with social climbers, and celebrated military men mixed with the leading lights of the capital's beau monde, establishing one the principle arenas of elite power in Georgian Ireland. Looking behind the red-brick facades of the once grand terraced townhouses, this richly illustrated volume focuses on the people who originally populated these spaces, delineating the rich social and architectural history of Henrietta Street during the first fifty years of its existence. By weaving the fascinating and often colourful histories of the original residents around the framework of the buildings, in repopulating the houses with their original occupants and offering a window into the lives carried on within, this book presents a captivating portrait of Dublin's premier Georgian street, when it was the best address in town. ISBN 9781846828478
  • A vivid and original account of one of Ireland's greatest poets by an acclaimed Irish historian and literary biographerThe most important Irish poet of the postwar era, Seamus Heaney rose to prominence as his native Northern Ireland descended into sectarian violence. A national figure at a time when nationality was deeply contested, Heaney also won international acclaim, culminating in the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. In On Seamus Heaney, leading Irish historian and literary critic R. F. Foster gives an incisive and eloquent account of the poet and his work against the background of a changing Ireland. Drawing on unpublished drafts and correspondence, Foster provides illuminating and personal interpretations of Heaney's work. Though a deeply charismatic figure, Heaney refused to don the mantle of public spokesperson, and Foster identifies a deliberate evasiveness and creative ambiguity in his poetry. In this, and in Heaney's evocation of a disappearing rural Ireland haunted by political violence, Foster finds parallels with the other towering figure of Irish poetry, W. B. Yeats. Foster also discusses Heaney's cosmopolitanism, his support for dissident poets abroad, and his increasing focus in his later work on death and spiritual transcendence. Above all, Foster examines how Heaney created an extraordinary connection with an exceptionally wide readership, giving him an authority and power unique among contemporary writers. Combining a vivid account of Heaney's life and a compelling reading of his entire oeuvre, On Seamus Heaney extends our understanding of the man as it enriches our appreciation of his poetry. ISBN 9780691174372
  • For the past two decades, you could cross the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic half a dozen times without noticing or, indeed, turning off the road you were travelling. It cuts through fields, winds back-and-forth across roads, and wends from Carlingford Lough to Lough Foyle. It is frictionless - a feat sealed by the Good Friday Agreement. Before that, watchtowers loomed over border communities, military checkpoints dotted the roads, and smugglers slipped between jurisdictions. This is a past that most are happy to have left behind but might it also be the future? The border has been a topic of dispute for over a century, first in Dublin, Belfast and Westminster and, post Brexit referendum, in Brussels. Yet, despite the passions of Nationalists and Unionists in the North, neither found deep wells of support in the countries they identified with politically. British political leaders were often ignorant of the conflict's complexities, rarely visited the border, and privately disliked their erstwhile unionist allies. Southern leaders' anti-partition statements masked relative indifference and unofficial cooperation with British security services. From the 1920 Government of Ireland Act that created the border, the Treaty and its aftermath, through the Civil Rights Movement, Thatcher, the Troubles and the Good Friday Agreement up to the Brexit negotiations, Ferriter reveals the political, economic, social and cultural consequences of the border in Ireland. With the fate of the border uncertain, The Border is a timely intervention by a renowned historian into one of the most contentious and misunderstood political issues of our time. ISBN 9781788161794
  • Twenty years on from her critically acclaimed book, 'Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People', Susan McKay talks again to the Protestant community in Northern Ireland. Based on almost 100 brand-new interviews, and told with McKay's trademark passion and conviction, this is essential reading. This new title will be accompanied by a new edition of 'Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People'. Containing interviews with politicians, former paramilitaries, victims and survivors, business people, religious leaders, community workers, young people, writers and others, it tackles controversial issues, such as Brexit, paramilitary violence, the border, the legacy of the Troubles, same-sex marriage and abortion, RHI, and the possibility of a United Ireland, and explores social justice issues and campaigns, particularly the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. Interviewees include: Eileen Weir, Dee Stitt, Dawn Purvis, Chrissie Quinn, Clare Sugden, Toni Ogle, Kyle Black, Sammy Wilson and others, and ties in to topical debates around identity in the context of Brexit and the centenary of the foundation of Northern Ireland. Susan McKay is an award-winning writer and commentator and contributes regularly to print and broadcast media, including Guardian/Observer, New York Times, Irish Times and London Review of Books. ISBN 9781780732640
  • Delving into a hitherto unexplored aspect of Irish art history, Painting Dublin, 1886-1949 examines the depiction of Dublin by artists from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Artists' representations of the city have long been markers of civic pride and identity, yet in Ireland such artworks have been overlooked in favour of the rural and pastoral. Framed by the shift from city of empire to capital of an independent republic, this book examines artworks by Walter Osborne, Rose Barton, Jack B. Yeats, Harry Kernoff, Estella Solomons and Flora Mitchell, encompassing a variety of urban views and artistic themes. While Dublin is already renowned for its representation in literature, this book will demonstrate the many attractions it held for Ireland's artists, offering a vivid visualisation of the city's streets and inhabitants at a crucial time in its history. ISBN 9781526144102
  • Michael Collins knew the power of his persona, and capitalised on what people wanted to believe. The image we have of him comes filtered through a sensational lens, exaggerated out of all proportion. We see what we have come to expect: ‘the man who won the war’, the centre of a web of intelligence that ‘brought the British Empire to its knees’. He comes to us as a mixture of truth and lies, propaganda and misunderstanding. The willingness to see him as the sum of the Irish revolution, and in turn reduce him to a caricature of his many parts, clouds our view of both the man and the revolution. Drawing on archives in Ireland, Britain and the United States, the authors question our traditional assumptions about Collins. The eight thematic, highly illustrated chapters scrutinise different aspects of Collins’s life: his origins, work, war, politics, celebrity, beliefs, death and afterlives. Approaching him through the eyes of contemporaries and historians, friends and enemies, this provocative book reveals new insights, challenging what we think we know about him and, in turn, what we think we know about the Irish revolution. ISBN 9781848892101
  • At the end of the Irish War of Independence, Dublin signed an unsatisfactory treaty with London, that amongst other things, required oaths of allegiance to the British Empire. To many this was a price worth paying, but for others it was impossible. Very quickly, in 1922 the country collapsed into a cruel civil war that split organisations like Sinn Fein and the IRA, local communities, and families. It was less devastating than some other European civil wars but it left a ghastly number of dead, injured and immiserated across Ireland, north and south. And it cast a long shadow across Ireland. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, the two parties that grew out of the rival factions, have ruled Ireland since the end of the civil war. It was only in 2019 - almost a century after the conflict - because of Sinn Fein's electoral success that the two parties could see their way to officially working together. Drawing on completely new sources, Ireland's most brilliant historian shows how important this tragic war was for understanding Ireland now. ISBN 9781788161749
  • The story of a single family during the Irish Revolution, Four Killings is a book about political murder, and the powerful hunger for land and the savagery it can unleash. Myles Dungan's family was involved in four violent deaths between 1915 and 1922. Jack Clinton, an immigrant small farmer from County Meath, was murdered in the remote and lawless Arizona territory by a powerful rancher's hired assassin; three more died in Ireland, and each death is compellingly reconstructed in this extraordinary book. Mark Clinton was murdered by a group of agrarian 'bandits' who resented his family's possession of some disputed acres; his killer was tried and executed by the dead man's relatives and comrades in the Meath IRA. A mentally challenged youth was shot as an informer by another relative of Dungan's, and buried in secrecy and silence. What unites these deaths is the violence that engulfed Ireland during the campaign against the British, but also the passions unleashed by arguments over the ownership of the soil. That often brutal struggle between landless labourers and smallholders and more prosperous farmers is a forgotten aspect of the war of independence. Myles Dungan's book, focused on one family, offers an original perspective on this still controversial period: a prism through which the moral and personal costs of violence, and the elemental conflict over land, come alive in surprising ways. ISBN 9781800244849
  • The First World War was the biggest conflict in Irish history. More men served and more men died than in all the wars before or since that the Irish fought in. Often forgotten at home and written out of Irish history, the Irish soldiers and their regiments found themselves more honoured in foreign fields. From the first shot monument in Mons to the plaque to the Royal Irish Lancers who liberated the town on Armistice Day 1918, Ronan McGreevy takes a tour of the Western Front. At a time when Ireland is revisiting its history and its place in the world, McGreevy looks at those places where the Irish made their mark and are remembered in the monuments, cemeteries and landscapes of France and Flanders. The paperback version of this book, published in 2017, includes a foreword by Mary McAleese and a new chapter on the Irish at Passchendaele. ISBN 9780750983587
  • In 1800, Dublin was one of the largest and most impressive cities in Europe. The city's townhouses and squares represented the pinnacle of Georgian elegance. Henrietta Street was synonymous with this world of cultural refinement, being one of the earliest and grandest residential districts in Dublin. At the end of the eighteenth century, the street was home to some of the most powerful members of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy. Yet, less than a century later, Dublin had been transformed from the playground of the elite, into a city renowned for its deprivation and vast slums. Despite once being 'the best address in town', by 1900 almost every house on Henrietta Street was in use as tenements, some shockingly overcrowded. How did this happen? How did a location like Henrietta Street go from a street of mansions to one of tenements? And what was life like for those who lived within the walls of these houses? This is a story of adaptation, not only of buildings but of people. It is a story of decline but also of resilience. Spectral mansions charts the evolution of Henrietta Street over the period 1800 to 1914. Commencing with the Act of Union and finishing on the eve of the First World War, the book investigates the nature and origins of Dublin's housing crisis in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Commissioned by Dublin City Council Heritage Office in conjunction with the 14 Henrietta Street Museum, the book uses the story of one street to explore the history of an entire city. Publication now moved to April 2022 - Order Now. ISBN 9781846828676
  • Before 1871, Germany was not a nation but an idea. Its founder, Otto von Bismarck, had a formidable task at hand. How would he bring thirty-nine individual states under the yoke of a single Kaiser, convincing proud Prussians, Bavarians and Rhinelanders to become Germans? Once united, could the young European nation wield enough power to rival the empires of Britain and France - all without destroying itself in the process? In a unique study of five decades that changed the course of modern history, Katja Hoyer tells the story of the German Empire from its violent beginnings to its calamitous defeat in the First World War. It is a dramatic tale of national self-discovery, social upheaval and realpolitik that ended, as it started, in blood and iron. 'The best biography of the Second Reich in years ... It will undoubtedly become the essential account of this vitally important part of European history' Andrew Roberts ISBN 9780750996228
  • The German Revolution of November 1918 is nowadays largely forgotten outside Germany. It is generally regarded as a failure even by those who have heard of it, a missed opportunity which paved the way for the rise of the Nazis and the catastrophe to come. Robert Gerwarth argues here that to view the German Revolution in this way is a serious misjudgement. Not only did it bring down the authoritarian monarchy of the Hohenzollern, it also brought into being the first ever German democracy in an amazingly bloodless way. Focusing on the dramatic events between the last months of the First World War in 1918 and Hitler's Munich Putsch of 1923, Robert Gerwarth illuminates the fundamental and deep-seated ways in which the November Revolution changed Germany. In doing so, he reminds us that, while it is easy with the benefit of hindsight to write off the 1918 Revolution as a 'failure', this failure was not somehow pre-ordained. In 1918, the fate of the German Revolution remained very much an open book. ISBN 9780199546473
  • On a sunlit evening in l882, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, Chief Secretary and Undersecretary for Ireland, were ambushed and stabbed to death while strolling through Phoenix Park in Dublin. The murders were carried out by the Invincibles, a militant faction of republicans armed with specially-made surgeon's blades. They ended what should have been a turning point in Anglo-Irish relations. A new spirit of goodwill had been burgeoning between Prime Minister William Gladstone and Ireland's leader Charles Stewart Parnell, with both men forging in secret a pact to achieve peace and independence in Ireland - with the newly appointed Cavendish, Gladstone's protege, to play an instrumental role. The impact of the Phoenix Park murders was so cataclysmic that it destroyed the pact, almost brought down the government and set in motion repercussions that would last long into the twentieth century. In a story that spans Donegal, Dublin, London, Paris, New York, Cannes and Cape Town, Julie Kavanagh thrillingly traces the crucial events that came before and after the murders. From the adulterous affair that caused Parnell's downfall to Queen Victoria's prurient obsession with the assassinations and the investigation spearheaded by the 'Irish Sherlock Holmes', culminating in a murder on the high seas, The Irish Assassins brings us intimately into this fascinating story that shaped Irish politics and engulfed an empire. ISBN 9781611854510
  • The Dublin suburbs situated between the Grand Canal and the River Dodder consist of distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own character and style. It is an area that was, and continues to be, home to poets, writers, artists, politicians and academics, all of whom, in their own way, contributed to Irish life. Those featured include: Jack B. Yeats, artist; Mother Mary Aikenhead, Founder of the Religious Order; Brendan Behan, writer and dramatist; Mary Lady Heath, aviator and international athlete; Sophie Bryant, mathematician, educationist and suffragette; James Franklin Fuller, architect and Seamus Heaney, poet. In this book, Dr Beatrice M. Doran tells of the lives of some of the most fascinating people who once lived on the leafy roads and avenues of this interesting area of the city. ISBN 9780750995573
  • The Polish campaign is the forgotten story of the Second World War. The war began on 1 September 1939, when German tanks, trucks and infantry crossed the Polish border, and the Luftwaffe began bombing Poland's towns and cities. The Polish army fought bravely but could not withstand the concentrated attack. When the Red Army invaded from the east, the country's fate was sealed. This is the first history of the Polish war for almost half a century. Drawing on letters, memoirs and diaries from all sides, Roger Moorhouse's dramatic account of the military events is entwined with a human story of courage and suffering, and a dark tale of diplomatic betrayal. 'Deeply researched, very well-written... This book will be the standard work on the subject for many years to come' Andrew Roberts. 'Moorhouse has a wonderful knack for reminding us about the parts of the Second World War that we are in danger of forgetting' Dan Snow. ISBN 9781784706241
  • Delving into a hitherto unexplored aspect of Irish art history, Painting Dublin, 1886-1949 examines the depiction of Dublin by artists from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Artists' representations of the city have long been markers of civic pride and identity, yet in Ireland such artworks have been overlooked in favour of the rural and pastoral. Framed by the shift from city of empire to capital of an independent republic, this book examines artworks by Walter Osborne, Rose Barton, Jack B. Yeats, Harry Kernoff, Estella Solomons and Flora Mitchell, encompassing a variety of urban views and artistic themes. While Dublin is already renowned for its representation in literature, this book will demonstrate the many attractions it held for Ireland's artists, offering a vivid visualisation of the city's streets and inhabitants at a crucial time in its history. Paperback Edition published 19th October 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9781526161185
  • Out of stock
    These publications are commissioned, edited and published by Dublin City Council Culture Company, written by historians Dr Melanie Hayes, Dr Tim Murtagh and Donal Fallon, and designed by Atelier TypoGraphic Design. They are an extension of the engagement work that runs through the museum. The three publications are: 14 Henrietta Street: Georgian Beginnings, 1750 - 1800 By Melanie Hayes (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-6-0) 14 Henrietta Street; Grandeur and Decline, 1800 - 1922 By Timothy Murtagh (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-7-7) 14 Henrietta Street; From Tenement to Suburbia, 1922 - 1979 By Donal Fallon (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-8-4) These titles are available to order via 14 Henrietta Street only - please see www.14henriettastreet.ie to order.
  • Out of stock
    These publications are commissioned, edited and published by Dublin City Council Culture Company, written by historians Dr Melanie Hayes, Dr Tim Murtagh and Donal Fallon, and designed by Atelier TypoGraphic Design. They are an extension of the engagement work that runs through the museum. The three publications are: 14 Henrietta Street: Georgian Beginnings, 1750 - 1800 By Melanie Hayes (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-6-0) 14 Henrietta Street; Grandeur and Decline, 1800 - 1922 By Timothy Murtagh (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-7-7) 14 Henrietta Street; From Tenement to Suburbia, 1922 - 1979 By Donal Fallon (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-8-4) These titles are available to order via 14 Henrietta Street only - please see www.14henriettastreet.ie to order.
  • Out of stock
    These publications are commissioned, edited and published by Dublin City Council Culture Company, written by historians Dr Melanie Hayes, Dr Tim Murtagh and Donal Fallon, and designed by Atelier TypoGraphic Design. They are an extension of the engagement work that runs through the museum. The three publications are: 14 Henrietta Street: Georgian Beginnings, 1750 - 1800 By Melanie Hayes (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-6-0) 14 Henrietta Street; Grandeur and Decline, 1800 - 1922 By Timothy Murtagh (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-7-7) 14 Henrietta Street; From Tenement to Suburbia, 1922 - 1979 By Donal Fallon (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-8-4) These titles are available to order via 14 Henrietta Street only - please see www.14henriettastreet.ie to order.
  • Out of stock
    These publications are commissioned, edited and published by Dublin City Council Culture Company, written by historians Dr Melanie Hayes, Dr Tim Murtagh and Donal Fallon, and designed by Atelier TypoGraphic Design. They are an extension of the engagement work that runs through the museum. The three publications are: 14 Henrietta Street: Georgian Beginnings, 1750 - 1800 By Melanie Hayes (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-6-0) 14 Henrietta Street; Grandeur and Decline, 1800 - 1922 By Timothy Murtagh (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-7-7) 14 Henrietta Street; From Tenement to Suburbia, 1922 - 1979 By Donal Fallon (ISBN: 978-0-9957446-8-4) These titles are available to order via 14 Henrietta Street only - please see www.14henriettastreet.ie to order.
  • This volume contains a wealth of new research on Dublin's medieval past, including paired papers by Joseph Harbison and Rene Gapert that re-examine skulls found on the site of the Hospital of St John the Baptist, Thomas Street. Alan Hayden reports on his excavation of property plots fronting onto Kevin Street and New Street and what they tell us about the supposed fourteenth-century decline of Dublin, and Aisling Collins explains the significant findings from the dig of the church and graveyard at St James's. Antoine Giacometti examines a medieval tanning quarter that showcases leatherworking and shoemaking in medieval Dublin, complementing work by John Nicholl that analyses footwear styles in the late medieval city based on evidence excavated from Chancery Lane. This aspect of life is illustrated too in the findings of Paul Duffy's excavations in Thomas Street, which reveal a great deal about crafts in the western suburb of medieval Dublin. Franc Myles reports on the findings of his excavation at Keysar's Lane beside St Audeon's church in High Street, including some fascinatingly decorated medieval floor tiles; Jon Stirland reports on the discovery of two parallel ditches of possible early medieval/medieval date located to the rear of nos 19-22 Aungier Street; and Edmond O'Donovan describes his discoveries while excavating in the internal courtyard at the site of the Bank of Ireland at College Green, marked on Speed's 1610 map of Dublin as 'the hospital'. Historical papers include Denis Casey's analysis of Dublin's economy in its twelfth-century Irish context and Brian Coleman's study of taxation and resistance in fifteenth-century Dublin. Thomas W. Smith shines light on papal provisions to ecclesiastical benefices in thirteenth-century Dublin, while Stephen Hewer examines the oldest surviving original court roll of the Dublin bench, dating from 1290. ISBN 9781846828164