South Dublin County Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme has explored the impact of the pivotal events of 100 years ago at both a national and local level, through cultural events, historical reflections, artistic interpretations, lectures and exhibitions. We also reflected on life at the time in a broader context, including the social conditions experienced by local people during the revolutionary period, cultural life, the role of women, and the experiences of children during this time.
In this, the final year of the Decade of Centenaries, we are delighted to present this seminar with leading historians of the period, looking at some of the key events and personalities of 1923, as well as looking back on the Decade of Centenaries.
South Dublin County Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.
Schedule for the day (subject to change)
11.00am Introduction and Welcomes
11.15am Liz Gillis | The Story of Noel Lemass: His Life and Death
12.15pm David McCullagh | & ‘Nothing but a bullet will stop me’ : De Valera’s 1923
2.00pm Flor Mac Carthy | The Dauntless Man
3.00pm Niall Quinn & Liz Gillis | Oscar Traynor: A Re-evaluation of a football, rebel, politician and football administrator
4.00pm Catriona Crowe | The Decade of Centenaries: a retrospect
5.00pm Event Closes
Historian and Podcaster Turtle Bunbury will host all seminar sessions.
Liz Gillis: The Story of Noel Lemass: His Life and Death
On 23rd October 1923 the jury at the inquest into the death of Noel Lemass returned a verdict of ‘wilful murder against unknown persons’. The murder of Noel Lemass was one of the most horrendous acts carried out by member of the National Army, made worse by the fact that it happened two months after the Civil War had ended. South Dublin County Decade of Centenaries Historian in Residence Liz Gills will discuss the life and death of Noel Lemass, a figure who has come to symbolise the savagery and tragedy of the Irish Civil War.
David McCullagh: “Nothing but a bullet will stop me” de Valera’s 1923
Éamon de Valera began 1922 as President of the Republic, the undisputed leader of Irish nationalism. By 1923, de Valera seemed to be finished – a hunted man, in danger of execution; politically sidelined, powerless to bring the Civil War to an end. The 1923 General Election saw his dramatic arrest, but it also ensured his return to political prominence.
Flor Mac Carthy: The Dauntless Man
The deeply personal story of Flor’s family’s links on both sides of the War of Independence.
Niall Quinn (in conversation with Liz Gillis): Oscar Traynor – A Re-evaluation of a footballer, rebel, politician and football administrator
Despite playing a significant part in Irish Political and sporting history, Oscar Traynor has been an unrecognised figure. He was goalkeeper for Belfast Celtic, 1916 rebel, Commanding Officer of the Dublin Brigade of the IRA, Fianna Fail T.D. and President of Football Association of Ireland for fifteen years. Legendary Irish footballer Niall Quinn has changed that by researching the life of a man who dedicated his life to his country. Join South Dublin County Council Historian in Residence Liz Gillis in conversation with Niall Quinn who, in his examination of events reconfigures Traynor as a soldier, a strategist and a sportsman of weight and influence, whose impact on Irish society has been consistently undervalued.
Caitriona Crowe: The Decade of Centenaries: a retrospect
No public historian has made more impact on the commemorative decade than former National Archives curator Catriona Crowe, shepherd of the digitisation of the 1901 and 1911 censuses, without which the decade would have had far less meaning. In this talk she looks back at how we managed to commemorate (and occasionally came close to sabotaging) the centenary of the revolutionary decade. There will be plaudits … and a few brickbats.
Turtle Bunbury is one of Ireland’s most prolific historians, the author of more than 20 books including The Irish Diaspora – Tales of Emigrants, Exile & Empire (2021). He is also a podcaster and a frequent figure on Irish television and radio.
Flor Mac Carthy is a journalist and author. Her bestselling book, The Presidents’ Letters, was shortlisted for Best Irish-Published Book 2021. She presents political debates on Oireachtas TV from Leinster House and the European Parliament, and is a former news reporter and television presenter with RTÉ. Flor contributes to a variety of arts and history programmes and has presented at several events for the Decade of Centenaries.
Dr. David McCullagh is an anchor presenter of the RTE news flagship, The Six-One News. He is a former presenter of Prime Time, and was Political Correspondent for RTÉ for 12 years. He has a PhD in politics from University College Dublin and is the author of five books on Irish history, including De Valera Rise and De Valera Rule, the acclaimed two-volume reassessment of Eamon de Valera. His most recent book, The Great Irish Politics Book, is a guide to politics for children – and for some adults.
Catriona Crowe is former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She was Manager of the Census Online Project, which placed the Irish 1901 and 1911 censuses online free to access. She presented the RTÉ documentaries, Ireland before the Rising (2016), and Life After the Rising (1919). She is a former President of the Women’s History Association of Ireland, and in receipt of four honorary doctorates, from the University of Limerick, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, and University College, Dublin.
Liz Gillis is the Decade of Centenaries Historian in Residence for South Dublin County. She has a degree in Modern Irish History and specialises in the Irish Revolutionary period. She is a lecturer at Champlain College Dublin and has worked as a researcher on The History Show on RTE Radio, a curator on the RTE 1916 Centenary Project, as a tour guide in Kilmainham Gaol, and as historical consultant on projects including the Custom House Visitor Centre and Hyatt Centric Liberties Hotel. She is the author of several books including Revolution in Dublin: A Photographic History 1916-1923, Women of the Irish Revolution, and May 25: Burning of the Custom House 1921. She was the recipient of the Dublin City Lord Mayor’s Award in 2018 for her contribution to history and was co- organiser of the online conference to mark the centenary of the burning of the Custom House in May 1921.
Niall Quinn is a renowned Irish sportsman and a respected figure in the world of football. Niall’s professional career saw him play for several notable clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland. He earned a reputation as a versatile and skilled striker, celebrated for his ability to score goals and create opportunities for his teammates. Beyond his club successes, Niall was a pivotal figure for the Republic of Ireland, earning 92 caps and representing his country with distinction on the international stage including at the World Cup in 1990 and 2002. His contribution to his national team made him an icon in Irish football history. He remains Ireland’s second highest goal scorer of all time.
Off the field, Niall has also made significant contributions to the sport. His involvement in football administration and broadcasting as well as his philanthropic endeavours, have further solidified his standing as an influential figure in the world of sports. In 2022, he graduated from Dublin City University with a Master’s degree in history. His thesis focussed on the life of Oscar Traynor.