In the school book for Wexford town, gathered by teacher Victoria M. Sherwood, we find this transcribed clipping from the Wexford Free Press paper, describing the origins of the magpie in Ireland: "It is said that the first magpies that came to…

Nearly 5,000 slaving expeditions left Liverpool between the 1690s and the closure of the British slave trade in 1807. The scale and duration of the trade was such that it could not fail to affect ports and their hinterlands on both sides of the…

Recently my sister Karen and I discussed our memories of visits to Ireland as children - we would go most years to visit Mum’s side of the family in West Cork. Before budget airlines shortened and cheapened the trips, Dad would drive the car from…

Much has been written on the sense of displacement that stems from the diasporic experience. Growing up in Britain with a firm sense of Irishness, identity has always resided in something of a halfway-house. In Britain, you’re part of ‘that Irish…

What do you get when you put together the Welsh reputation for musicality and the Irish tradition of a céilí band? The natural desire to compete. At least that’s what it stirred for me, a young musician performing in Wales as part of an annual…

Mary Delany (1700-1788) was no stranger to crossing the Irish Sea. She had made one trip to Ireland as a young widow in 1731 and, when she later lived in Ireland between 1744 and 1767, she made regular visits back to England. Delany generally made…

The race to be the first to cross the Irish Sea by hot air balloon would turn out to be a family affair. After James Sadler’s high-profile attempt failed in October 1812, the baton was taken up by his 20-year-old aeronaut son, Windham Sadler, in…

From the first manned hot air balloon flight in Paris in November 1783, balloons exerted a powerful force on the public imagination. Early observers of hot air balloons were not sure exactly what they were for, but ballooning’s capacity for setting…