Sunday, April 21, 2019


Click on any image for a larger version

This is Mícheál Mac Donncha's mayoral crest on the wall of the Oak Room in Dublin's Mansion House. Mícheál was Lord Mayor in 2017/18 and not being of the nobility got to compose his own crest. The elements he has picked are interesting: the gold fáinne reflecting proficiency in the Irish language, the seven stars representing the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation (and incidentally the plough), the ship evoking his Howth maritime origins, and his motto meaning equality.

Mary Clarke

The occasion was the launch of Mícheál's book, TEACH AN ARDMHÉARA agus RÉABHLÓID NA hÉIREANN - 1912-1923. The book is published by Dublin City Council and it fell to Mary, the Dublin City Archivist, to start the proceedings and introduce our host, the Lord Mayor.

Nial Ring

Nial is the current Lord Mayor, as you may have guessed from the photo, and he is both a serious man and a bit of a ticket. Never short of a story, I think I recounted elsewhere how he brought King Billy to meet the Pope.

Well, tonight he was in his element launching Mícheál's book about the house he himself was currently living in until next June, and its role during the revolutionary period.

Mícheál Mac Donncha

Mícheál then took the floor in this historic setting and recalled how he became fascinated by the Mansion House while he was living there. Its connection with the revolutionary period was already known but was usually mentioned incidentally in other contexts. So he not only decided to bring all this together in one place but he supplemented it with his own further research into history.

He revealed that, out of deference to the second national official language, and no doubt to garner a wider readership, he had included an upside down English language version at the back of the book. This also allowed him to double the number of unique photos which are different in each version. I did notice, however, that Thomas Ashe's funeral managed a double exposure, but no matter.

And Mary was in for a surprise. He had written a little bilingual poem about Horatio Nelson's head which now reposes in Mary's reading room. In gratitude for all her help, he presented her with a framed copy which included a photo of himself with the bould Admiral. The verse is dedicated to Mary.

It would be an understatement to say Mary was thrilled, as well she might be.

If you click on the image above, you'll get a just about readable version.

Ahmad Abdelrazek

In welcoming the attendance, Mícheál made particular mention of the Palestinian Ambassador, and this evoked a clearly spontaneous and heartfelt round of applause (Bibi please note).

Caoimhín Ó Caoláin

I gather Gerry Adams was there but he had gone by the time I was alerted to his presence. Caoimhín will have to do as the next best thing. I did notice Aonghus Ó Snodaigh earlier though.

Las Fallon

I made sure to get this photo so I could give it to Las afterwards. Las knows everything there is to know about the Dublin Fire Brigade, in which he served for years and on which he has published widely.

Mícheál Ó Doibhilín & Las Fallon

I was in school with Mícheál and he has since gone on to better things. He is currently the publisher of Kilmainham Tales, commissioned books which attempt to make sense of some aspects of Irish history but in an easily understandable idiom. His titles also include new scholarship on neglected topics.

Mícheál gave his name to Dublin's hottest curry but, sadly, since the Taj Mahal closed, you have to go to Cork to savour it.

James Connolly Heron and Lorcan Collins

James is a great-grandson of James Connolly. His grandmother was Ina Connolly, James Connolly’s daughter, who married Archie Heron.

Lorcan is an author and in the run up to the 1916 centenary he initiated a series of biographies of those leaders executed by the British. His latest book on the IRA guerrilla campaign during the War of Independence is on the way.

l-r: Caitríona, Liah, Deirdre, Úna, Rita

This is the Michael Mallin group. Michael was Commander in Stephen's Green in 1916 and was execcuted by the British along with the signatories.

Caitríona is a grand niece of Agnes Hickey, Michael Mallin’s wife. Liah's mother, Déirdre Warren, is a granddaughter of Bart Mallin, Michael Mallin’s brother. Úna is a granddaughter of Michael Mallin. Rita is the wife of Seán Tapley whose grandmother was Mary Mallin, sister of Michael Mallin.

This is Úna speaking at an exhibition at Emmet Hall, one of Michael Mallin's old family homes.

Myself and Dónal Donnelly

Dónal is one of the few men to have escaped from Crumlin Road Prison, long considered the Alcatraz of the North. That was in 1960. He has written a book about it and I have a copy which I am only dying to read. There are still two copies left in Easons in the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre and the distributor has only one copy left. I was tempted to buy them up to sell at a profit but thought that mightn't be fair to Dónal's fans.

We had a great chat and swopped some stories on the North. I subsequently found out that Colm Mac Séalaí had taught two of Dónal's children. Small world.

Incidentally, Caitríona in the previous picture is married to Dónal, and vice versa.

Anthony Tierney

Anthony is with Four Courts Press who are distributing the book which is published by Dublin City Council. The copies you see here are just hours off the presses. Yes, I checked and the ink is dry.

Hodges Figgis

Full marks to Hodges Figgis for a perceptive display of Mícheál's book, with every second copy upside down.

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