Archive for the ‘dublin’ Category

The book I read to research this post was The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton which is a very good book that I bought from a car boot sale. This is an autographhical book about a German growing up in 50’s Dublin. A lot of the Irish boys called him a kraut and accused him of genocide. Interestingly some of his relatives fought on opposing sides during the war. Growing up in Dublin was nice because it was like the seaside and a cosmopolitan city combined. His family very much embraced the Irish way of life although his dad sometimes thought some of the things popular in Germany should be popular in Ireland and tried to make and sell one item unsuccessfully. This book is around 290 pages so is a decent length. My mum who grew up in Ireland in the 40’s told me a lot of German orphans were sent to Ireland for safety on account of it being a neutral country. I also know if Hitler had defeated Britain he intended invading the rest of Europe including the neutral countries. I did enjoy this book and do recommend it. Apparently Hugo has written a sequel to this book and does have a nice distinctive style of writing.

The book I read to research this post was Rail Centres: Crewe by Rex Christiansen which is an excellent book which I bought from Amazon. Crewe is the equivalent of a victorian new town & was just greenbelt land prior to that. In 1974 it merged with nearby Nantwich to form a bigger. It would have probably not existed had it not been an important junction between Holyhead, Liverpool, the Midlands, London & the North West. The route to Holyhead was delayed for 6 years mostly due to problems building the Menai Straits Tubular Bridge. Trains tend to stop at Crewe & passengers change trains but rarely go into the town. The night train to Holyhead The Irish Mail is the oldest named train in the world & has always stopped at Crewe. There is a non stop train to Swansea which is the longest non stop train from Crewe & is only 2 miles nearer than London Euston. Crewe is named after a nearby stately home called Crewe Hall. Trains were manufactured here and the railway company provided decent accommodation for their workers. More recently it has become a major freight centre. The railway station was also rebuilt in the 1980’s.

The book I read to research this post was The Fall of Dublin by Liz Gillis which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. There was an Irish War of Indepence in 1921 & Michael Collins & several others signed a treaty with Britain which gave Ireland independence but left Northern Ireland under British control. Collins saw it as a stepping stone to achieving independence for all Ireland. Also there would have been full scale war if he hadn’t signed. Collins who would become the president of Ireland would be assassinated the following & many thought he had sold them out. The government in the Dail ratified the treaty by 64 votes to 57 & many of the government walked out. Incidentally there’s an excellent film called Michael Collins which stars Liam Neeson. Anyway many thought the IRA or Irish Army should be independent of the government. The Irish government feared being deposed & so weren’t having any of this. The British when they left allowed the Irish to take over the various barracks regardless whether they were pro or anti treaty everywhere but Dublin. Also the Anti treatyites raided a British ship in Cork & stole a load of weapons & ammo. Something Collins thought the British let happen to destabilize the Irish government. Also because the Antitreatyites weren’t getting paid they robbed some banks & gave them IOU’s. The antitreatyites outnumbered the protreatyites & many people left the Irish Army because they didn’t want to kill fellow Irish men. When the war did kick off it was because the protreatyites arrested an antitreatyite & when the protreatyites sent someone to negotiate he was arrested in retaliation. The antitreatyites had comandeered the Four Courts Hotel which was their headquarters & that’s where most of the fighting took place in Dublin.  In Belfast many catholics were murdered & in Ireland there was a Belfast boycott where they boycotted Belfast goods & services. Anyway back to Dublin the antitreatyites hadn’t got enough sandbags so the bullets passed through there was a chemical plant next door which caught fire. They had to evacuate the wounded & they called a ceasefire for this. A lot of soldiers were injured but not that many were killed in that clash. The protreatyites overwhelmed them but the war spread elsewhere.

The book I read to research this post was The Liffey Ships & Shipbuilding by Pat Sweeney which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This book is about the shipbuilding industry in Dublin & its history, the Liffey is a river which runs through Dublin. My family on my mums side are from Dublin & while as far as I know none of my family worked in the shipbuilding industry I thought it’d be interesting. The early days of Dublin as a shipbuilding city can be traced back to at least the 17th century making it older than the shipbuilding industry in Belfast which was the world capital of shipbuilding. In 1667 a dubliner designed & built the first catamaran in a small Dublin shipyard & had a race against 3 other boats which he promptly won. He built catamarins for a while until he built one that was 50 feet long that had such poor handling that the crew refused to sail in her after which he lost interest in catamarins. Another dubliner took out a patent for a steamer which used a steam powered wooden to power it but it was no where near as efficient as the later screw propeller. The Dublin shipbuilding industry really took off in the 19th & 20th centuries. It’s interesting that when Ireland became independent Britain still claimed 3 treaty ports until 1938 because Irelands ports were important to the british empire. Not many boatyards lasted very long they would be set up at boom times of shipbuilding but the ships typically lasted approximately 40 years so often they would have to try & get by doing ship repairs. In the first world war the shipbuilding industry boomed due to the huge amount of shipping lost. The british government put the irish shipyards under tremendous pressure to increase production with the prime minister David Lloyd George even writing to some personally. Between 1914 & 1920 the number of shipyards in Britain & Ireland increased by a huge amount. This caused a huge amount of unemployment when the first world war ended & there was a slump & also because Germany had to make reparations she gave the UK a load of her ships. What caused further unemployment for the Dublin shipyards was the british governments decision to have ships built in Belfast regardless of the cost. A dry dock was built was built in Dublin in the 60’s but nowadays most ships are built in the developing world & the last of the Dublin shipyards was filled in, in 2009.

The book I read to research this post was Irish History for Dummies by Mike Cronin and it’s an excellent book. I must admit these kind of niche histories that they do in these dummies books. I did read african american history for dummies recently which I also recommend. I live in england but am of irish descent and was brought up a catholic although I’m not a practising one actually my beliefs are probably more in line with spiritualism although I’ve never actively followed them.

One interesting point in the book was that there is a massive burial site at newgrange that’s set out celestially like stonehenge but is a 1000 years older and is 600 years older than the egyptian pyramids. Thousands of people flock to newgrange every year but irelands biggest tourist attraction is the giants causeway where lava from a volcano now long extinct has set in hexagonal columns some upto 12 metres high.

My mums family are from Dublin and I have visited but somewhere in Dublin I’d like to visit is the Natural History Museum which boasts the largest shark ever caught in irish waters among its exhibits.

I’ll tell you one bit of history which isn’t in the book apparently when Michael Collins and David Lloyd George were negotiating Irelands independance. The english prime minister threatened to flatten Dublin with a battleships cannons if Collins didn’t sign the agreement. Collins was later assassinated.