Mon, 14 November 2016
In this final episode on the Maamtrasna murders, we begin by picking up the story of this fascinating murder case in December 1882. Eight men have been sentenced to die in Galway Jail on December the 15th for their role in the brutal killings of the Joyce family.
While five get their sentences commuted to the life imprisonment three are set to die. However at the last minute new evidence emerges. This is sent to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland of Ireland John Poyntz Spencer. However he doesn't have much time to decide what to do - the hangman William Marwood was already on his way to Galway prison. Find out what happens in the show.
In this episode I also launch a new patreon campaign where you can support the podcast as I build towards my upcoming major series on the Great Famine. You can find out more at patreon.com/irishpodcast where i also have a new video. Filmed in an abandoned famine village in the Cooley Mountains, it explains what you can expect from the podcast in 2017. For more check out patreon.com/irishpodcast
Wed, 9 November 2016
In Part I of this series on the Maamtrasna murders I looked at one of the most brutal killings in 19th century Ireland when the Joyce family were attacked in their remote home in Maamtrasna on the Mayo-Galway border.
This podcast follows looks at the trials. While the police made a major break through within days of the murder a botched attempt at swift justice would see the story of the trials become nearly as famous the murders themselves.
Tue, 1 November 2016
Prior to 1882, Maamtrasna a remote townland in the west of Ireland, was known to few outside Co. Galway. That all changed on the night of August 17th 1882 when one of the most brutal murders in 19th century Ireland took place there.
Five members of the Joyce family were killed in a horrific and disturbing attack. In a deeply unnerving aspect of a case still shrouded in mystery, the perpetrators were almost certainly known to the victims.
This first podcast looks at what exactly happened in Maamtrasna on that fateful summers night in 1882 before looking at some possible motives. Following shows will look at the trials and scandal that followed brutal murders.
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Mon, 24 October 2016
Medieval outlaws have captured the human imagination for centuries. The story of Robin Hood who famously robbed from the rich to give to the poor has proved the most enduring. However most were ruthless individuals, many were willing to rob from the rich but few ever gave their bounty to the poor.
This podcast is about a Irish man who was an outlaw in all but name. While Jack would avoid being declared an outlaw his life gives a much better sense of what a medieval outlaw was like rather than the oft recounted tales of Robin Hood. His story is a the real life tale of an Irish man who ran amok across the North of England living well beyond the bounds of what was legal but was protected by friends in very high places!
You can get my copies of my book "1348: A Medieval Apocalypse - The Black Death in Ireland" at www.irishhistorypodcast.ie/p
I will be speaking about The Black Death in Dublin at the Street Stories History Festival in the Cobblestone Pub, Smithfield, Dublin 7 at 12 noon, Saturday October 29th https://www.facebook.com/events/325711434474828/
Mon, 17 October 2016
This podcast was funded by the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund.
We don’t remember 1980s fondly in Ireland. Emigration and recession were features of life. The political atmosphere was defined by divisive and bitter debates around abortion in 1983 and divorce in 1986.
There was also a third deeply discomforting debate that rocked Irish society. Almost completely forgotten, this debate around child sexual abuse lifted the lid on a topic previously shrouded by shame, taboo and a code of silence. Contrary to what we might expect this did not involve priests, institutions or the Catholic Church. This debate has had an enduring legacy - shaping stereotypes and misinforming how we understand child sexual abuse in the 21 Century.
This podcast deals with Child Sexual Abuse. It is not suitable children. If you find this is a topic distressing you may not want skip this show.
If you are affected by issues in this podcast these organisations may be of help.
The podcast is part of a wider investigation funded by the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund where myself and Peter McGuire looked into child sexual abuse in the recent past and the present. You can find more material here.
Tue, 11 October 2016
In November 1867 tension and fear gripped the city of Manchester. A regiment of the British Army was drafted in to support a police force already bolstered by an extra 2,000 recruits.
With the most contentious execution in a century due to take place at the New Bailey Prison, it was feared racial tensions in Manchester would erupt into violence.
The three condemned men Michael O'Brien, Michael Larkin and William Allen were all Irish. It was widely believed that the British courts had treated them harshly. As the execution day approached rumours spread that an escape orchestrated by the Fenians was on the cards. The city was on a knife edge...
This podcast tells the fascinating story of these three men remembered as the Manchester Martyrs.
You can see pictures of the individuals involved at www.irishhistorypodcast.ie/manchester
Wed, 5 October 2016
The Fatal Feuds series has tracked the dramatic rise of the de Burgh Lords of the West and Earls of Ulster - the most powerful family in Medieval Irish history.
In 1326 the family Patriarch, the Red Earl, died leaving the family facing an uncertain future. The heir, known as the Brown Earl, was only 15 years of age. He now had to unify his vassals and powerful relations many of whom had ambitions of their own in an Ireland beset by war and hardships. As the title suggests things dont go according to plan in what is a dramatic conclusion to the series.
You can find a de Burgh family tree and biographies of the major figures at www.irishhistorypodcast.ie/fatal
Mon, 19 September 2016
TV series like Downton Abbey offer a sensationalised view of life in Stately Homes but what was it really like? This podcast uses the never before published words of Florence Doreen Wandesforde who wrote a short account of her childhood in Castlecomer House before she died in 1999 at the age 95.
This is a fascinating insight to the world of upstairs-downstairs. Doreen and her family had their own butler, cook, servants and even gym instructor. Their house had a heated swimming pool in the early 20th century! She even met King George V and Queen Mary. However she also gives an insight into the simplicity of children's games and the tragedies inflicted on her family during World War I.
Thu, 8 September 2016
The show picks up the story of the de Burgh family in August 1316 as the biggest battle in medieval Irish history approaches. The De Burghs have paid an huge ransom to free their best battle commander William 'Liath' de Burgh. He will lead the Norman forces against the might of the O'Connors and their king Felim. This battle fought beneath the walls of Athenry will decide the fate of a generation.
This episode also continues the story of the Bruce Invasion and Dublin's earliest popular revolt.
You can find the show on social media @
Tue, 30 August 2016
In 1296 King Edward I of England invaded Scotland. During this campaign he removed the Stone of Destiny (a.k.a. The Stone of Scone) bringing it back to England. The removal of the stone which had been used to inaugurate medieval Scottish Kings, symbolised Scotland's domination by her southern neighbour. That was until Christmas 1950 when three students and a teacher attempted to take the stone back north of the border. Hear the full story of a heist that dominated the headlines around the world.
Buy the audiobook of 1348: A Medieval Apocalyspe - The Black Death in Ireland using the couponcode 'listener' before August 31st and you will receive 20% off.
The book is available now at www.irishhistorypodcast.ie