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Browse the latest blog posts from the Dictionary of Irish Biography

McDaid's of Dublin: chasing the drunken muse

8 April 2024

In our April blog, Terry Clavin explores the heyday of McDaid’s, one of Dublin’s most (in)famous literary pubs. In mid-twentieth century Dublin, respectable men of letters would gather in well-appointed pubs like the Bailey, the Palace, the Pearl, and Davy Byrne's. Securely…

‘The will of the people’: putting the referendum in the Irish constitution

Kinsella, Eoin
4 March 2024

With voters due at the polls on 8 March to vote on two proposed constitutional amendments, Eoin Kinsella looks at how the referendum - one of the core elements of our democratic system - was embedded in the constitution. Since coming into effect on 29 December 1937, the Irish…

GUBU – origins of the phrase

O'Riordan, Turlough
12 February 2024

In our February blog, Turlough O’Riordan discusses the sequence of events that led to the resignation of attorney general Patrick Connolly in August 1982, and the origins of GUBU – a phrase that has become firmly embedded in our political and cultural lexicon. At a dramatic…

Ireland’s Victorian ‘great detectives’

Maume, Patrick
11 January 2024

In our first Dictionary of Irish Biography blog of 2024, Patrick Maume highlights some examples of Irish ‘great detectives’, elusive figures who have nevertheless become prominent in our fiction, politics and popular culture. The now familiar image of the heroic ‘great…

Pirates of west Cork

Clavin, Terry
4 December 2023

As demonstrated by the recent publication of a DIB entry on Sir William Hull, during the early seventeenth century west Cork briefly became the…

Spotlight on the ‘Mandarins’ of the Irish Civil Service

O'Riordan, Turlough
6 November 2023

As integral as government ministers and senior politicians are to the formation of national policies that affect our daily lives, senior civil servants are arguably even more important. This might be nowhere more apparent than in Ireland’s economic and financial development over the…

MACMORRIS and the DIB: constructing an interactive network graph of early modern Ireland

Bourke, Evan
2 October 2023

In this month’s guest blog post, Dr Evan Bourke explores the Dictionary of Irish Biography’s contribution to the MACMORRIS project, a newly launched, open access digital humanities project that allows readers…

A rising tide: women and the natural sciences in nineteenth-century Ireland (Part 2)

Gallagher, Niav
8 September 2023

Part 1 of our blog on the contribution of Irish women to the natural sciences in nineteenth-century Ireland focused on the lives and careers of…

A rising tide: women and the natural sciences in nineteenth-century Ireland (Part 1)

Gallagher, Niav
1 September 2023

Children’s education in Ireland has long been influenced by gender, class and religion. During the nineteenth century, girls from the lower classes – if they were educated at all – were taught basic reading, writing and arithmetic, and domestic skills such as needlework. For middle- and…

Renaming (and legalising) an army

Kinsella, Eoin
28 July 2023

This week sees the centenary of the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, signed into law on 3 August 1923. Not only did it rename the state’s military forces (dropping the original moniker of…