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look at the past

Executioners, Vikings and women at war... Dublin's history unlocked

The festival will take place later this month – and we have tickets to give away.

DUBLIN’S PAST WILL take centre stage this month when the Dublin History Festival takes place in the capital.

With a variety of events on, it’s a chance to learn more about the city’s past, and hear from experts about pivotal moments in history.

It takes place at Dublin Castle Printworks and venues around the city from 26 September to 8 October, featuring a line up of Irish and international historians.

World War I

It’s the second year of the festival, and one of the main themes this year will be Dublin’s involvement in the First World War.

Whether you’re a history buff or want to know more about our past, you’ll have professional historians on hand to guide you through.

Dublin City Librarian Margaret Hayes said that 4,000 people attended last year’s festival.

“The Festival allows Dublin City Council to mark significant historical anniversaries and this year, Dublin’s involvement in the First World War will be remembered,” she explained.

Among the other events will be a new exhibition of First World War prints at The Hugh Lane Gallery.


The programme will feature renowned historians from around the world – like Alison Weir, Hew Strachan, Richard Evans, and Charles Spencer – as well as Irish historians such as Mary Daly, David Dickson and Sean Duffy.

The main history talks will take place at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle, between Friday 26 and Sunday 28 September.

What can you expect?

Friday 26 September

  • 5.30pm: ‘Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History’ – an exploration of some of history’s great ‘what ifs’ with Sir Richard Evans in conversation with Diarmaid Ferriter.
  • 7pm: ‘Dublin: The Making of a Capital City’ – four leading historians explore Dublin’s changing fortunes.
  • 8.30pm: ‘Killers of The King’ – Charles Spencer discusses the fates of the executioners of Charles I with Jane Ohlmeyer.

Saturday 27 September

  • 11am: ‘We charge at Dawn’ – Poetry Aloud reading of some of the poems of the First World War.
  • 1pm: ‘Dublin in the Viking World’ – an exploration of Dublin during the Viking era, including the 1014 Battle of Clontarf with Philip Parker and Sean Duffy.
  • 5pm: ‘Women at War 1914-18’ – a History Ireland Hedge School looking at women’s responses to and involvement in war.
  • 7pm: ‘The Green Fields: The Road to War’, €5, Bryan Murray and a cast of actors and musicians bring the everyday experiences of Irish soldiers to life.

Sunday 28 September

  • 2pm: ‘Remembering The Great War’ – a talk with Sir Hew Strachan.
  • 4p: ‘The Last Stalinist: The Life of Santiago Carrillo’ – and exploration of the life and legacy of the Spanish communist leader with leading historian of the Spanish Civil War Paul Preston in conversation with Paddy Woodworth.
  • 6pm: ‘Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia’s History’ – discover the role of Moscow’s Kremlin in Russia’s history with Wolfson History prize-winner Catherine Merridale in conversation with Séamus Martin.

There will also be films, talks, and workshops at Dublin City Branch Libraries and other venues until 8 October.

You can find the full programme details at, which is also where you can book the lectures (which are free to attend).


Dublin City Council has three sets of two tickets for the documentary theatre event The Green Fields; The Road to War on 27 September (usually €5 per ticket).

It uses speeches, songs and letters from 1914 and 1915 to chart Ireland’s journey into WW1. To enter, email

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