Irish History Podcast

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Part XX sees us enter the 1190s and the Norman Invasion enters what might be called end game. In this decade they begin to advance in to the far west of the island. The Gaelic Irish response is at times baffling. Old internal feuds only intensify as the ruling families cannot let go of past transgressions and unify against the Normans. This leads to a disasterous otcome. This episode looks at events in Munster while coming shows will look at Connacht and Ulster.

 

Direct download: Part_XX_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28am EDT

This show covers the chaotic years between 1186 and 1189. Assassinations, warfare and violence break out across Ireland as many of  the key figures in the story so far struggle to survive in what is an increasingly unpredictable world. 

My medieval roadtrip is on this weekend. If you want to book a ticket for this unique trip visiting some of the best sites in medieval Ireland contact me now at booking@Irishhistorytours.ie

Direct download: Norman_XIX_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24am EDT

Bad, possibly mad and very dangerous, Prince John was one of the most notorious men of the Middle Ages. While his cruel reputation is preserved in the Robin Hood myths his real life notoriety began in Ireland in 1185. If the Island did not have enough problems in the aftermath of the Norman Invasion, the arrival of this prince threatened not only the Gaelic Irish kings but the existing Norman Colonists aswell. Hear the full story of the Johns escapades in Ireland in this show.

To book tickets for the Bus tour mentioned in the show mail booking@irishhistorytours.ie

Direct download: Prince_John.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:11am EDT

A few weeks ago I hit the road with a recorder taking in some of the best medieval sites in Ireland. The show takes in 1000 years of Irish history in one day-trip. Starting in around the year 600 in the monastery Glendalough at sunrise before driving through the Wicklow mountains to Kilkenny, I visited many places mentioned in the podcast. The trip finished off in the 16th century in a spot off the beaten track, but a real forgotten gem.

You can join me on a similar trip on Saturday June 6th (2015). Mail booking@Irishhistorytours.ie to reserve your spot.

Direct download: Road_Trip_Through_Medieval_Ireland_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:35am EDT