Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute brings another exciting online event to our screens, this time on the fascinating history and cultural significance of the Irish pub.

With many Irish people mourning the closure of their local pub, the Trinity Long Room Hub is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by asking what place the Irish pub holds in our history and culture. How did people use pubs in the past, and what was the popular attitude towards them? Famous the world over, is the Irish pub indeed an imagined space embedded in the concept of “Irish hospitality”?

In this panel discussion chaired by Dr. Ciaran O’Neill, Deputy Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, speakers look at Irish pubs through the ages and the perception of public houses a century ago; the place of the pub in the history of folk music and revolution; what the pub means in Irish theatre, and what it tells us about ‘Irishness’ and performance of culture.

Prior to the panel discussion, four musicians from the Traditional Music Society of Trinity College Dublin (Claire Stafford, Sarah McKenna, Simon O'Connor, and Oisín Cullen) will play live music.

Scene in Clancy's pub, Athy

Scene in Clancy's pub, Athy

Speakers for Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute's "The History of the Irish Pub" event:

Dr. Ciarán Wallace

The pub has never been just a place where you bought alcohol. How did people use pubs in the past? Who went to pubs, who didn't? What was the popular attitude towards them? Dr. Ciarán Wallace will look at pubs in some cartoons published a century ago to see what they can tell us.

Dr. Wallace is a Historian and Deputy Director of Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury at Trinity College Dublin. Dr. His research interests include urban history during the early modern and modern periods. This includes the role of civil society in national and community identity formation. His doctoral thesis involved a social and economic analysis of local election candidates. He has worked on the history of Dublin and is interested in Scottish-Irish comparisons, civic pageantry, political cartoons, and ephemera. 

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy will be discussing the personal impact the pub environment has on people’s lives and communities. This talk will examine the personal story of growing up in a pub in a small town in the West of Ireland, both the good and the bad. The story will also highlight the skills that were developed from pub culture, and how this speaker used these when working in detention centers, prisons, and traveling alone in far-flung places.

Murphy is the Director of the College Health Service and is a qualified and accredited psychotherapist, mediator, and trainer. She is also the Acting Director of the Student Counselling Services of Trinity College Dublin, alongside being an author of two books- #Love: 21st-century relationships and The Challenge of Retirement. A regular media commentator, she has made many guest appearances on TV3-am, Prime Time, The Afternoon Show, Frontline, Live at 3, and many radio programs.  She is also a regular contributor to the print media in national newspapers, including a weekly column in The Irish Times. 

Jack Sheehan

Jack Sheehan’s talk will be emotional rather than intellectual, a slightly shaggy wander in and out of various times, places, and of course, pubs.

Sheehan is a PhD candidate in the Department of History in the School of Histories and Humanities. His research focuses on the collection, collation, and usage of folk music for political purposes by states, groups, and individuals in the twentieth-century in Ireland, the UK, and the USA. This project aims to illustrate the conflicts over the meaning and ownership of folk music between collectors, musicians, state organizations, and audiences. He holds a B.A. in History, an M.Phil. in Creative Writing, and a non-foundation scholarship from Trinity College Dublin. His writing has appeared most recently in The Baffler, Popula, and The Cardiff Review. 

Moonyoung Hong

What are the links between two performative spaces – theatre and the pub – and their significance in Irish history and culture? The talk will examine the political, literary and cultural implications of J. M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World (1907), Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars (1926) – both of which caused riots at the Abbey Theatre.

Hong is a PhD candidate in the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin. Her research explores the works of Tom Murphy from the perspective of everyday space. She is a recipient of the Ussher Fellowship and the Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship and holds an Early Career Research residency in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute (2019-2021). She has published in The Yeats Journal of Korea, Trinity Postgraduate Review and Études Irlandaises (forthcoming).

* Originally published on March 3, 2021.