Personal Histories

Personal Histories is an initiative by History Ireland, which aims to capture the individual histories of Irish people both in Ireland and around the world. It is hoped to build an extensive database reflecting Irish lives, giving them a chance to be heard, remembered and to add their voice to the historical record.
If you wish to be part of this historical record, please enter your own Personal History by clicking here.


Political Lessons in Castleblayney The 8th of March 1976 was a memorable school day for me but for the wrong reasons. The night before, a loyalist bomb had exploded in […]

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In this year of centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising, I recall my happy discovery two years ago of a photo that reminded me – nostalgically – of my own […]

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On the 30th Nov 1920 during the War of Independence a tram was travelling down North Frederick Street Dublin when it was suddenly stopped by the Black & Tans . […]

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Nobody knows for sure if William Diggin began his 1913 emigration with a ride aboard the Lartigue monorail from Ballybunion to the mainline train at Listowel. The monorail began operating […]

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My guardian told me a story about one of his adventures in the boarding house of the school that he used to study. This story is around the 1970s in […]

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When my granddad was a lot younger than he is now, he was in the navy in around the 1950’ He was in the royal navy but he wasn’t fighting […]

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Oh, The story’s I could tell you about my mother and her siblings. The things that they would get up to is hilarious. Hmmm, where shall I begin… The Solid […]

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At the age of thirteen, in the late 1950’s, my dad stole a horse. Well, when he tells the story he always insists that he only borrowed the horse, and […]

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In the 1930’s my great granddad had bought a car which he needed for his job involved in the department of agriculture. It was a car that needed to be […]

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My granddad when he was just 17 decided to drop everything , family , school , friends and his life to go and find work in England. He started his […]

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In the early 1970s when my dad was five years old, my granddad and granny brought him along with his two younger brothers and his younger sister to the spring […]

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My  mums  name  is  Dolores  Henderson  now  but  back  in  1970  she  was  known  as  Dolores  Mc  Dermott. A little back ground to my mum.  She lived in a Place […]

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During the midterm I talked to a very interesting man, he was a former teacher in the SligoGrammar School and his name is Damhlaic MagShamhrain. He was a man born […]

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From the age of five my mother, her sister and her three brothers would spend four to six long lazy weeks at her Auntie Annie’s farm in the country in […]

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My grandmother Peggy Butler was born in the south Dublin suburb of Cabinteely in September 1922. She spent all of her childhood there and in the surrounding parts of the […]

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I lived in London until I was 8, then my family (Mam, Dad and I) returned to live on a farm outside Boyle.  Both my parents were Irish, having emigrated […]

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My Granda always told me stories about his job. He was a photographer. He moved from Glasgow to Buncrana in Donegal. The reason his family moved was because my great […]

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My great, great,Uncle was James Connolly. He was born on the 11th of September 1897 in Kinlough, County Leitrim. He was the Captain of the Third Western Division in the […]

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My story comes from my mother who was told this by her mother my grandmother. During the war of independence my grandmother was only a baby she lived through many […]

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In Castletown, Wexford around the 1960’s I lived on a farm with my ma, da and 7 brothers and sisters. My Dad was a farmer so we lived out in […]

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Secondary School Life during the 1940s in Sligo These are the memories of a lady who lived in Ballyshannon and attended boarding school in Markievicz House in Sligo during the […]

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This story is from a first-hand account from my father. It happened when he was only five or six. At the time him, his parents, and his grandfather, lived in […]

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My grandparents lived in a cottage in killery Balintogher near Lough gill. They had no electricity and there was no water and tap in the house for water. My grandfather […]

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Michael Manning, Battalion Adjutant, Old IRA, Clifden District, Co Galway, received   intelligence that the Black and Tans were searching for an informer in Clifden who had set up an ambush […]

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I was too young to remember the start of the Second World War but as a young child one of the things I remember during the war the newspapers. On […]

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“Don’t forget your music bag, Winifred.” Mother called as she came down the front steps waving the multi-colored canvas bag in my direction. Today was my piano lesson with Mrs. […]

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My granny was talking to me about walking to school when she grew up in the 1930’s. She walked 3miles to school everyday bare footed on the summer time, with […]

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Back in 1979 most people in her neighbourhood did not go away very much. So when she went to a summer camp for 5 nights to Ballina, Co Donegal, it […]

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My grandad’s name is Michael Smith, he is 85 years old and has lived through many historical events such as World War II and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He […]

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One day in the late 1970s, the natural curiosity of childhood led me to my parents’ sitting room in Co. Roscommon and a press full of books, papers and assorted […]

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I could never have imagined that a shopping trip to the market of Antibes in Southern France could have triggered dormant memories of my childhood days in the village of […]

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John Henry (Harry) Spackman was born on March 15th 1890 in Fyfield, Wiltshire. He was one of nine children all of whom were born before 1901 and all of whom […]

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As a young Air Corps pilot in August 1972, I was on Search and Rescue standby duty with my two Alouette 111 helicopter crew at our base in Baldonnel, near […]

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Benjamin granted Mt Lucas by CromwellOrdered by the lord protector to“put to the sword every man and boy of an area inIreland that had resisted the English invasion”Benjamin replied“I will […]

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Life in rural west Tyrone in the years immediately following the Second World War was simple when compared to the present. Homes were small, usually just two or three rooms, […]

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Irish immigrants to American during An Gorta Mor may have found much more than they bargained when they were caught up on the battlefields of the American Civil War. Into […]

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AS Kerry prepared the 2006 All Ireland final against Mayo, a Donegal man recalled his first trip to a decider 60 years previously which attracted more than 90,000 fans. John […]

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When Croke Park was opened up to rugby and soccer in 2007 I thought of my grandfather, P.J. O’Loughlin, who died in 1965. Originally a Cork man from Newmarket, he […]

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I was very fortunate that both my grandmothers were still alive while I was studying twentieth century history in college. My maternal grandmother was born the same year the Great […]

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In November 1973, it fell to me and my crew to respond to an Air Ambulance request to fly a patient by helicopter from Tullamore General Hospital to the Royal […]

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