Ireland’s First Radio Broadcast

On the morning of Thursday, 21st July 2016, a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating Ireland’s first international radio broadcast was unveiled on the city’s main thoroughfare.

Located at the Grand Central Bar, 10-11 O’Connell Street, the plaque was unveiled by Denis Naughten, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Minister Naughten praised Joseph Plunkett’s foresight in recognising the power of radio, and the courage of Irish Volunteers such as Liam Daly and John “Blimey” O’Connor in erecting the aerial and apparatus necessary for the radio transmission under heavy fire.

Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha spoke on behalf of Dublin City Council’s Commemorative Naming Committee, with broadcaster Eugene Murphy also taking part in the unveiling ceremony.

On 25th April 1916, a morse code message written by James Connolly was transmitted from what was then the Wireless School of Telegraphy, declaring to the world that a Republic had been declared in Dublin and the country of Ireland was “rising”.

The plaque was proposed by the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, RTÉ Radio and the Boys and Girls creative agency as part of the celebration to mark the centenary of broadcasting in Ireland.

Those wishing to learn more about the subject of the plaque should consult Eddie Bohan’s booklet Rebel Radio: Ireland’s First International Radio Station 1916 (Kilmainham Tales, 2016).

Submitted by historian in residence James Curry.

Rowsome, Leo – Piper and pipe-maker

Photograph of commemorative plaque to Leo Rowsome, piper

This plaque honours renowned uileann piper, pipe maker, and teacher Leo Rowsome, and is at the corner of Beltorn Park Road and Collins Avenue, Dublin 9.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Born into a piping family in Harold’s Cross, Leo Rowsome went on to become a teacher, pipe-maker, and performer. As a performer he played all over the world, including at New York’s Carnegie Hall.  

Joining the Municipal School of Music, Chatham Row, as a teacher at the age of 17, he went on to teach generations of uilleann pipers, including  Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains, and Liam Óg Ó Floinn. 

A founding member of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann, Leo Rowsome was also one of the founders of Na Píobairí Uilleann

The Rowsome family lived at 9 Belton Park Road, Donnycarney, and Leo Rowsome’s workshop was in the back garden. 

The plaque was unveiled on 4th June 2021.

Royal College of Surgeons

photograph of plaque commemorating the College of Surgeons 1916 garrison

This plaque commemorates those who fought in the 1916 Rising at the Royal COllege of Surgeons on Saint Stephen’s Green.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, and was the fifth in a series of 1916 Rising garrison plaques unveiled by Dublin City Council in 2016.

Skeffington, Hanna Sheehy

commemorative plaque honouring Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, suffragette

This plaque at Dublin Castle, Ship Street, commemorates suffragette Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, who smashed windows at the Castle in the campaign for women’s suffrage.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Read Hanna Sheehy Skeffington’s biography in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

The plaque was unveiled by President Michael D. Higgins on 13th June 2018.

Shelbourne Football Club

Photograph of Dublin City Council plaque honouring Shelbourne Football Club

On Friday, 4th September 2015, a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating the founding of Shelbourne Football Club was unveiled in Dublin 4.

The plaque is located outside Slattery’s Public House (at the junction of Shelbourne Road and Bath Avenue) and was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, and Chairman of Shelbourne Football Club, Joe Casey, with the ceremony hosted by broadcaster Ray Kennedy. Also in attendance were Kevin Humphreys T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, local councillor Paddy McCartan, and members and supporters of Shelbourne Football Club.

It is widely believed that it was in Slattery’s (then known as Nolan’s) that a group of young men who lived in the Bath Avenue area of southeast inner-city Dublin founded Shelbourne F.C in 1895. Spurred on by successful local performances during the next two years, Shelbourne joined the senior ranks of Irish football in 1897, and in 1905 became professional.

Based at Drumcondra’s Tolka Park since 1989, Shelbourne have won the League of Ireland (of which they were a founding member in 1921) championship thirteen times and are one of only three teams to have won both the Irish Football Association Cup and the Football Association of Ireland Cup.

Those wishing to learn more about the history of one of Ireland’s oldest football teams should consult Christopher Sands’s book Shels. A Grand Old Team to Know. A History of Shelbourne Football Club since 1895 (Dublin, 2016).

You can also watch the presentation below by Dr James Curry, Dublin City Council historian in residence, which is part of a Plaques of Dublin online lecture series.

Submitted by Historian in Residence, James Curry. 

Walsh, Edward – Hibernian Rifles

On Saturday, 13th February 2016, a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating 1916 Easter Rising casualty Edward Walsh was unveiled in Dublin 2.

The plaque is located outside the Royal Exchange Hotel, Parliament Street, and was unveiled by relatives of Edward Walsh and councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha, who in his speech described the Dublin carter as “a brave Irish patriot, a man who fought for and died for the freedom of the Irish people 100 years ago”.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

A member of the Hibernian Rifles, Walsh was mortally wounded in the stomach at the beginning of the Easter Rising, close to the spot where the plaque is located. He was 43 years old and left behind a pregnant wife and two young children, who lived nearby at 8 Lower Dominick Street. Walsh’s wife Ellen gave birth to a third son, Edward Pearse Walsh, months after her husband had been buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

The plaque ceremony was attended by four of Edward Walsh’s granddaughters and a great-grandson.

Those wishing to learn more about the marginal nationalist militia with which Walsh fought during the Easter Rising should consult Padraig Og O’Ruairc’s article ‘A Short History of the Hibernian Rifles 1912-1916’ for The Irish Story website.

Submitted by Historian in Residence, James Curry. 

Whelan, Leo – artist

Photograph of Dublin City Council plaque honouring Leo Whelan

On Friday, 2nd October 2015, a Dublin City Council commemorative plaque honouring artist and portrait painter Leo Whelan was unveiled near the Mater Hospital.

The plaque is located at 65 South Eccles Street, where Whelan’s parents operated a small hotel and the artist lived most of his life. This residence is today occupied by ARC Cancer Support Centres. The plaque was unveiled by the then President of the Royal Hibernian Academy, Mick O’Dea, with Councillor Nial Ring speaking on behalf of Dublin City Council.

A prolific and successful artist, Whelan attended the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art after leaving school and was a student of Sir William Orpen, who had a significant influence on his artistic style. Exhibiting annually at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1911 until his death in 1956, he became primarily known for his portraits of nationalist leaders and other leading figures from the spheres of academia, religion, society, medicine, and law. Among his political portraits were Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith, Kevin O’Higgins, Douglas Hyde, Seán T. O’Kelly and Éamon de Valera.

Whelan never married and died in a Dublin nursing home on 6th November 1956, at the age of 64. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Those wishing to learn more about the artist’s life can consult Wanda Ryan-Smolin’s article, ‘Leo Whelan (1892-1956)’ in the Irish Arts Review Yearbook (1994) when Dublin City Library and Archive reopen. 

You can also watch the presentation below by Dr James Curry, Dublin City Council historian in residence, which is part of a Plaques of Dublin online lecture series.

Submitted by Historian in Residence, James Curry.