Red Fortress: the secret heart of Russia’s history – Catherine Merridale in conversation with Séamus Martin

Both beautiful and profoundly menacing, the Kremlin has dominated Moscow for many centuries. Behind its great red walls many of the most startling events in Russia’s history have been acted out. It is both a real place and an imaginative idea; a shorthand for a certain kind of secretive power, but also the heart of a specific Russian authenticity. Catherine Merridale, one of the foremost experts on 20th-century Russian history, discusses her exceptional new book Red Fortress with Séamus Martin.

Catherine Merridale is Professor of Contemporary History at Queen Mary, University of London. In 2013 she won the prestigious Wolfson Prize for History for Red Fortress. Professor Merridale is the author of many books on Russian history including her tour de force on the ordinary Russian soldier, Ivan’s War: The Red Army, 1939-45.

Séamus Martin is the former Moscow correspondent and international editor of the Irish Times.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 28th September 2014.

The Green Fields: the Road to War – A work of documentary theatre on the role of Ireland in the Great War

Over 200,000 Irishmen served in the British Army during the First World War, the biggest single deployment of Irish soldiers in the country’s military history. ‘The Road to War’ uses speeches, songs and letters from 1914 and 1915 to chart Ireland’s journey into the Great War, from the brass bands on the quayside to the horrors of the Dardanelles. We follow the poet and journalist Tom Kettle MP from the recruitment platform to the Somme, and trace the momentous first year of the conflict through the speeches of Redmond and Carson, the writings of Pearse and Connolly, and the letters home of ordinary Irish soldiers. “Green Fields” uses soldiers’ letters from the Monica Roberts Collection, part of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive in the Dublin City Library and Archive.

With Bryan Murray, John Cronin and Danny McColgan; Writer and director Kevin McGee; Original music from the period courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy of Music under composer Jack Cawley.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

Women at War 1914-18: History Ireland Hedge School

The Great War was Europe’s first ‘total war’ which affected whole populations, male and female, and not just the men fighting in the trenches. How did Irish women respond to the war? To what extent was their response determined by the divisions in society at large – class, unionist/nationalist and Irish Volunteers/National Volunteers? In particular, how did Cumann na mBan, whose centenary also occurs this year, respond to the latter split? And to what extent was
femininity used (and abused) in propaganda for and against the war?

History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, chairs a lively discussion on these and related matters with his panel of experts—John Borgonovo (UCC), Fionnuala Walsh (TCD), Liz Gillis (Kilmainham Jail) and Mary McAuliffe (UCD Women’s Studies).

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

The Warsaw Uprising of 1944

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. In August 1944, the Polish resistance Home Army fought in vain to free the city from Nazi occupation. After 63 days of fighting and around 200,000 deaths, most of them civilians, the Polish city was entirely razed by the German army on the orders of Hitler.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the rising, we were delighted to welcome Tymoteusz Prochnik, head of the Archive Department of the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The Museum was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw and offers visitors a moving tribute to those Warsaw residents who fought and died in one of the most painful and heroic episodes in the whole of the Second World War.

Zbyszek Zalinski has lived in Ireland since 2001. He is a presenter and researcher on RTÉ Radio 1.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

Dublin in the Viking World – Sean Duffy and Philip Parker with moderator Elva Johnston

What was Dublin like in the Viking era and what status did the city enjoy in the greater Viking world? In this anniversary year of the Battle of Clontarf, two historians bring their expert knowledge to this debate.

Sean Duffy’s Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf offers a new interpretation of the role of the Vikings in Irish affairs and explains how Brian emerged from obscurity to attain the high-kingship of Ireland because of his exploitation of the Viking presence.

Philip Parker is the author of The Northmen’s Fury: a History of the Viking World which describes how a region at the edge of Europe came to dominate and to terrorise much of the rest of the continent for nearly three centuries.

Elva Johnston is a lecturer in history at University College Dublin.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 27th September 2014.

Killers of the King – Charles Spencer in conversation with Jane Ohlmeyer

January, 1649. After seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain’s history, Parliament faced a problem: what to do with Charles I, a defeated king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and sentenced him to death. On a scaffold outside Whitehall, in an event unique in English history, the King of England was executed. After the Restoration, his son, Charles II enacted a deadly wave of retribution against the ‘regicides’.

Bestselling historian Charles Spencer brings us a powerful tale of revenge from the dark heart of royal history and a fascinating insight into the dangers of political and religious allegiance in Stuart England.

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer is Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin, and Vice-Provost for Global Relations.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 26th September 2014.

Remembering the Great War – Sir Hew Strachan in conversation with John Horne

Sir Hew Strachan is one of the world’s foremost experts on the First World War. His three-volume history of the conflict, the first of which was published in 2001, is likely to become the standard academic reference work on the war. Max Hastings called it ‘one of the most impressive books of modern history in a generation’.

The centenary commemorations of the Great War have fuelled an intense debate on the nature of that epic cataclysm and Professor Strachan’s discussion with Trinity’s John Horne was one of the highlights of the festival.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of the History of War at All Souls Oxford.

John Horne is Professor of Modern European History at Trinity College Dublin.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 28th September 2014.

Dublin: the making of a capital city

With David Dickson, Mary E. Daly, Colm Lennon and moderator Raymond Gillespie

Dublin has many histories: for a thousand years a modest urban settlement on the quiet waters of the Irish Sea, for the last four hundred it has experienced great  – and often astonishing – change. A quartet of Irish historians discuss the provenance of Dublin as a nation’s capital. From second city of Empire in Georgian times to post-Act of Union decline, from hotbed of revolution to Free State capital, these and other aspects of Dublin’s history are debated, using as a touchstone David Dickson’s magnificent new book on the history of the city.

Recorded at The Printworks Venue, Dublin Castle on 26th September 2014.