Mondays at the Mess is a monthly lecture series that takes place at Richmond Barracks. Our lecture themes cover a broad spectrum of interest with particular reference to Richmond Barracks and Goldenbridge Cemetery.  Admission fee includes tea/coffee and a scone in our café and ample opportunity to continue the conversation.

Select a tile below to listen to a recording from our Mondays at the Mess talks about the people and events that shaped the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution.

Information about upcoming talks can be found here.

“No one had ever hated me in Germany”: Experiences of an Officer’s Wife in Ireland during the War of Independence

Mondays at the Mess – 2nd March 2020 at 11am

Lecturer: Mary Muldowney, Historian

In July 1920 the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers were deployed to Ireland, including one of their intelligence officers, Major Wilfrid Woodcock, whose wife Caroline also came to Dublin in the same month. The couple had been in Germany with the regiment, in the aftermath of the First World War.

Major Woodcock was one of those wounded on the morning of 21 November 1920 in Pembroke Street, when the house was attacked by members of Michael Collins’ ‘Squad’. His wife returned to London in early 1921, where she published a book about her time in Ireland, which is the main source for this lecture.

Mary’s talk focuses on Mrs. Woodcock’s account which provides an eye-witness report on a pivotal event during the War of Independence and offers fascinating insights into the daily life of Dublin from the perspective of the British ruling class.

A History of Lemon’s Pure Sweets

Mondays at the Mess – 3rd February 2020 at 11am

Lecturer: Cormac Moore, Dublin City Council Historian in Residence, North Central area

A look at the history of one of Dublin’s most famous names in confectionery, Lemon’s Pure Sweets, founded by Graham Lemon in 1842.  Find out about its early beginnings as a little sweet shop on Capel Street to the closure of its Drumcondra factory in 1983.

Sass Mouth Dames: When Women Ruled the Big Screen 1929-1959

Mondays at the Mess – January 2020 at 11am

Lecturer: Dr Megan McGurk

For three decades in Hollywood, films built around female stars were considered prestigious and profitable. From 1929-1959, cinema patrons chose among a variety stories that placed women at the centre of the celluloid universe. Women played writers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, gangsters, showgirls, entrepreneurs, shop girls, sex workers, and con artists. No matter what role men played (scoundrel, monster, swoon merchant, or patsy), it was always secondary to the leading woman. Themes from woman’s pictures about sex, success, style, and strategies for living in a man’s world have never been more relevant than they are today. Let’s recall a time when Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich, Constance Bennett, Irene Dunne, Carole Lombard, Margaret Sullavan, and Susan Hayward ruled the big screen.

Dr Megan McGurk is the Director of the Business Academic Writing Centre in UCD. She hosts a podcast and film club called Sass Mouth Dames

Josie McGowan: A Brief Flame

Lecturer: Micheál Ó Doibhilín

Josie McGowan was only 20 when she died from injuries received in a Dublin Metropolitan Police baton charge.  A member of Inghinídhe nah Éireann and later Cumann na mBan, she had taken an active part in the Easter Rising, fighting in Marrowbone Lane Garrison.  She is one of the 77 Women depicted on the Commemorative Quilt at Richmond Barracks.  After the Rising she remained an active member of Cumann na mBan, paving the way for what was to follow.

Josie was the first Cumann na mBan member to be killed in the Irish rebellion, and was posthumously awarded a 1916 and a Tan War medal, but left no record of her actions.

Mícheál Ó Doibhilín has spent almost 15 years tracking down this elusive young girl’s life.  He is the author of several books including “Joe Poole – the sixth invincible?” and “Anne Devlin – the bravest of the brave”, and is currently writing a biography of Josie McGowan.

Date of original lecture: 4th November 2019 at 11am

Social Life in Pre-Reformation Dublin, 1450-1540

Lecturer: Peadar Slattery

Dublin was thriving city in Pre-Reformation Dublin, as the centre of English administration in Ireland. Peadar Slattery looks at the social life in Pre-Reformation Dublin, taking into account its ruling class, wealthy merchants, all-powerful traditional church, and the city’s various personalities, not to mention Dublin’s ‘unwanted Irish’.

Date of original lecture: Monday 2nd September at 11am

The Workhouse of the South Dublin Union

Lecturer: Prof. Davis Coakley

This talk discusses the formation of the workhouse system in Ireland with particular reference to the workhouse of the South Dublin Union in 1840. It describes conditions within the workhouse and its role during the Famine.  After the Famine the workhouse developed into what was described as a ’vast hospital for the destitute and sick poor’. There were complaints about the standard of care, and the governors responded by inviting nuns from the Mercy order to reform the institution.

During the Easter rebellion of 1916 the workhouse was occupied by the 4th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and two battles were fought in the grounds during Easter week. During the early 1950s, the South Dublin Union was extensively refurbished and became St Kevin’s Hospital. In 1971 St Kevin’s Hospital became St James’s Hospital.

Date of original lecture: 1st July 2019 at 11am

Beyond 2022: Retrieving lost memories

Lecturer: Dr Ciarán Wallace, Department of History, TCD

In 1922, seven centuries of priceless records were lost in the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland during the Irish Civil War. The loss has limited Irish historical scholarship ever since. As the centenary of the calamity approaches, however, a new research project involving historians, archivists and computer scientists, is virtually recreating the building and – as far as possible – its contents. 

‘Beyond 2022’ has already identified extensive volumes of transcripts, summaries, calendars and indexes created by archivists, administrators and scholars in the years preceding the fire (over 20 million words to date). Digitally reuniting them in a Virtual Reality recreation of the destroyed building offers exciting opportunities to restore Ireland’s lost archival and historical record.

Date of original lecture: 10th June 2019 at 11am

St. Ultan’s: a ground-breaking institution for its patients and staff alike!

Lecturer:  Maeve Casserly, Dublin City Council, Historian-in-Residence, South East Area

Marking the 100th anniversary of St. Ultan’s foundation in May 1919, listen to Maeve Casserly, NLI staff member and Historian in Residence with Dublin City Council talk about the innovative work of doctors in St. Ultan’s paediatric hospital – the first of its kind in the British Isles. Work by doctors like Kathleen Lynn and Dorothy Stopford-Price was integral to the eradication of diseases like TB in the National BCG campaign with its HQ in St. Ultan’s.

The lecture is followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Date of original lecture: 13th May 2019 at 11am

From one War to another: Dublin 1916-1919

Lecturer: Bernard Kelly, Dublin City Council, Historian-in-Residence, City Archives

Q&A with Bernard Kelly, Dublin City Council, Historian-in-Residence for City Archives on his April 2019 lecture “From one War to another: Dublin 1916 – 1919’ which looks at the effect of First World War in Dublin, taking into account the wartime effort and the outbreak of the War of Independence.

Date of original lecture: 1st April 2019 at 11am

The heart of Inchicore: The Railway Works

Lecturer: Mary Muldowney, Dublin City Council,Historian-in-Residence, Central Area

The railway works at Inchicore have played a significant role in the operation of the Irish railway network since they were opened in 1846. Over more than 170 years, the Inchicore works have also been a focal point of the development of the village and the surrounding area, providing employment and housing and contributing to the development of the area. The lecture will be followed by a discussion session, in which it is hoped that local residents will share their memories of living in the neighbourhood of ‘the Works’.

Date of the original lecture: 4th of March 2019 at 11am

Revolutionary diplomats: Dáil Éireann’s foreign service, 1919-1922

Lecturer: Dr John Gibney, Royal Irish Academy

In 1919 the First Dáil set up its very own foreign service. Since before the Easter Rising of 1916 Irish republicans had anticipated Ireland making a claim for the recognition of its independence at a post-war peace conference, and to that end the Dáil established a diplomatic mission in Paris. But over the next few years Sinn Féin made use of a wide range of agitators and propagandists scattered across the US, Europe and farther afield to disseminate anti-British propaganda, to lobby politicians, raise money and even obtain weapons for the IRA. The IRA’s guerrilla campaign tends to hog the limelight in discussions of the period 1919-23 in Irish history, but the colourful activities of the Dáil’s very own diplomatic service remains an overlooked aspect of the revolutionary period.

Date of the original lecture: 4th February 2019 at 11am

The impact and legacy of the 1918 Election of Countess Markievicz

Lecturer: Dr Mary McAuliffe, Gender Studies, UCD

In response to our recent audio-visual exhibition and online exhibition “You never saw such excitement: the 1918 Election of Countess Markievicz”, Dr Mary McAuliffe will discuss the impact of Markievicz’s ground-breaking election and its legacy in relation to women’s representation in Irish public life today.

The online exhibition can be found on the Google Arts & Culture site at

Date of the original lecture: 7th January 2019 at 11 am

The Beautiful Game in Dublin: Early Days and Glories

Lecturer: Donal Fallon, Dublin City Council Historian-in-Residence

This talk looks at the birth of Association Football in Dublin taking into account the contribution of St Patrick’s Athletic and others to the beautiful game.

Families, Memoirs and Local Histories

Lecturer: Liz Gillis

Historian and author Liz Gillis talks about the importance of researching family stories, personal narratives and local history and the value they add to our understanding of the Irish Revolution.

Feature image: the Marrowbone Lane Veterans, 1966

Monday 2nd July at 11am – Votes for Women: Suffrage in the Suburbs

Lecturer: Maeve Casserly, Outreach and Education, National Library of Ireland and Dublin City Council, Historian-in-Residence

Listen to Maeve Casserly talk about the lives, connections and networks of women and men from all manner of backgrounds brought together by their involvement in the suffrage movement in Dublin.

The 1918 General Election – Lecture by Cormac Moore

Lecture by Cormac Moore

Dublin City Libraries Historian-in-Residence, Dublin North Central

A look back at one of the most consequential general elections in Irish history, held just after the First World War had ended in December 1918.  The franchise had increased dramatically, giving some women the right to vote for the first time. The talk will explore the spectacular success of Sinn Féin and the implosion of the Irish Parliamentary Party, as well as the unique circumstances in Ulster where Ulster Unionists won the majority of seats.

Q&A with John Dorney, author of The Civil War in Dublin – April 2018

Listen to John Dorney, author of The Civil War in Dublin: The Fight for the Irish Capital 1922-1924, answer questions on how the city became the site of a nine month long guerrilla war, in which over 250 people were killed and 500 wounded in the Dublin area.  While the cycle of executions, atrocities and reprisals was taking place in the city, ordinary citizens tried to get on with their daily lives.

Memento mori : Post-mortem photography and child mortality in early 20th century Dublin

Lecture by Orla Fitzpatrick

Photo Historian

Since its invention in 1839, photography has been used to record and commemorate the dead. Did this happen in Dublin? Examples are rare; however, evidence shows that the city’s photographers provided such a service.
Drawing on mortality statistics, newspaper accounts and detailed case studies this talk will examine post-mortem portraits of Dublin children who died in the early twentieth century.

The Devout and the Deviant

Lecture by Molly O’Duffy

In 1935 The Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed in the Irish Free State. It dealt with sexual crime and sexual activity.
Molly’s talk will outline the context that led up to the Act, it will examine how women were viewed in the act, and the impact that had on the women of Ireland.

The talk will also discuss the way in which the purity of women became an essential part of the how the new State viewed itself, thereby branding sexually active women as “deviant”. This Act was a crucial episode in the development of relations between men and women in Ireland and was a missed opportunity to address the real problem of increasing sexual assault.

Gala Days – Executions in Late Medieval Dublin

Lecture by Dr Áine Foley

This talk explores execution in Dublin city and county in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Public execution was the norm in the medieval period and some executions could draw large crowds. The modern expression Gala Day is derived from the Anglo-Saxon gallows day, confirming that these were public events from a very early period. This talk will discuss where the gallows were located in Dublin, why people were executed, as well as examining the different methods of execution used in the medieval city and county.

Surgeons, Starlets and Storytellers

Lecture by Maeve Casserly

Historian-in-Residence with Dublin City Council – South East Area

Listen to Maeve Casserly as she retraces the footsteps of some famous (and not so famous) women of Dublin’s South-East area. Delve into the interesting world of the women who lived and worked in this historically rich area. From Dr. Kathleen Lynn’s home practice in Rathmines to the stained glass studio of An Túr Gloine founded by Sarah Purser in Ringsend – and everything in between!

All Quiet on the Southern Front

Lecture by Cathy Scuffil

An overview of South Circular Road on the Eve of World War One which focuses on the social and economic life of the area based on the 1911 census and the subsequent years and introduces us to some of the people that lived there.

The Finest Men Alive

Part 1:

Part 2:

Image courtesy of UCD Archives:

A letter from Bernard O’Rourke, (who was held at Richmond Barracks, Dublin) to his wife Clare.
13 May 1916, Papers of Bernard O’Rourke P117/3.