Irish History Podcast

The turkey only arrived in Northern Europe in 16th century so what did people eat for Christmas Dinner? In this episode I look at the foods available in medieval Ireland. This includes everything from larks cooked in cinnamon and cloves, geese cooked in garlic to soggy pies and lethal takeaways!

Direct download: Medieval_Feast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:47am EST

Strange as it may sound, if you lived in the Northwest of Ireland 1000 years ago you may well have witnessed your king attempting to mate with a horse! Medieval Ireland was a very strange place and this show looks at the stranger aspects of magic, superstition and the custom from the world of our medieval ancestors...

Direct download: Superstitions__Custom_in_Medieval_Ireland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05am EST

Its Christmas and to celebrate I am releasing three podcasts this week. This episode looks at the Ireland's hidden hand in history - Irish people who you have never heard of but nevertheless played key roles in history. For example the first is a 50 year old Irish woman who tried to assassinate the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1920s. Others include Eliza Lynch a cork woman who became the first lady of Paraguay in the 19th century and Joseph Kavanagh a leading figure in the French Revolution. This show also includes a competition and an update about my book on the Black Death.

Direct download: The_Hidden_Irish_hand_in_History.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21am EST

In the aftermath of the famine the people of Castlecomer were shell-shocked, reeling from years of death, disease and emigration. However by the 1880s this had changed. When yet another famine threatened in 1879, and landlords threatened eviction, tenants across Ireland rose up in rebellion. The miners of Castlecomer, not to be left behind, launched the Great Coal Strike of 1881. Hear this fascinating story here in this latest episode of Secret Societies, Communism and Coal – Life in the Castlecomer Colliery.

 


In 1845 life in the Castlecomer Coalfields was racked by economic recession and grinding poverty. When the potato crop, the staple diet of millions across Ireland, failed disaster struck. In the following years around one million Irish people died and over one million emigrated.

In Castlecomer the fate of thousands lay in the hands on one man - Charles Wandesforde - the mine owner and local landlord. His decisions were controversial but it not easy to decide whether they were good bad. One thing is for certain life in the coalfield would never be the same again.

Direct download: Castlecomer_The_Famine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21am EST

For three centuries the town of Castlecomer in North Co. Kilkenny staged one of the most fascinating but forgotten struggles in Irish history. Miners who worked in some of the most harsh working conditions constantly struggled against the mine owner. Given it was often a matter of life and death this struggle was often bitter and conflict was never far from the surface. This saw the miners form secret societies, trade unions, republican and indeed even communist organisations. This is the first of four podcast to tell their story being in the 17th century.

Direct download: Castlecomer_Coal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12am EST

Fin hasn't joined a Black Metal band. However this episode is a break from the usual format and explores three very different topics. The Black Death section takes you through the medieval equivalent of the Battle of Stalingrad - The Siege of Calais 1346-47, while updating you on when my upcoming book on the plague is out. Then the show delves into the harsh world of mining in the 19th century before turning to some thoughts on the Great Famine.

Direct download: Black_Death_Black_Lung.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:41am EST

By 1190 the Normans were utterly dominant throughout much of Ireland. As undisputed masters they set about tranforming their lands into societies modelled on their homelands in Wales and England. Gaelic Society was destroyed. This podcast looks at what exactly this change was like, what happened and what it was like to live in the Norman Colony. In order to gain a clear insight the show focuses on the Gaelic Kingdom of Ossory and how it became the Norman County of Kilkenny.

Direct download: 23_The_Conquered_Lands.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42am EST

In this episode the Normans push far into the North and North west. There they come up against one of the greatest powers in medieval Ireland  - the kingdom of Tyrone and its ruling families - the O’Neills and their cousins the McLochlainns. The last of the great Gaelic Irish kingdoms faces an onslaught but will it survive? Hear the full story in this podcast. 

Direct download: Normans_XXII.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18am EST

The Kingdom of Connacht in the west of Ireland represented one of the greatest obstacles to Norman domination of Ireland. The ruling family, the O'Connors had resisted Norman intrusion into their kingdom on several occasions. However in the 1190s their power began to fade.  As three members of the family  - Cathal 'of the Red Hand' O'Connor, his brother and grandnephew battled for the crown, the Normans were quick to intervene. The results were disastrous. Led by William Burke and the self styled 'Prince of Ulster' John de Courcy, their arrival saw Connacht explode in violence.

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This show proved to be one of the most difficult to write and make. While I have a fairly good handle on the topic, the intrigues that make it interesting are byzantine in nature.

The very essences of the story - a dispute within the O'Connor family is deeply confusing. There are four distinct factions all lead by relatives who share similar names.

The faction is lead by Rory O'Connor while two others are lead by his brother Cathal 'of the Red Hand' and his son Conor (yes his name is Conor O'Connor!). Finally to make matter even more complicated a fourth faction is lead by Conor's son, another Cathal. He was known as a Cathal 'Carrach' O'Connor.

To make the storyflow easier I changed Cathal 'Carrach' O'Connor's name to the simpler Carrach (pronounced Carr-ock)O'Connor.

The Norman side is equally complex. The two leading figures are John de Courcy and William Burke. Burke supported three differing factions and this makes their involvement labyrinthine at times.

When you listen to the show I would be really grateful if you could let me know what you thought - feedback is very useful when I am making future shows. Thanks
Fin

Direct download: Norman_Invasion_XXI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:24am EST