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The conference on "the Burning of the Custom House in Dublin in 1921" took place on Thursday, August 8th, 2013. A reprise of the very successful one run in the North Star Hotel in May and included these speakers:

Historian and author Liz Gillis wrote the critically acclaimed "The Fall of Dublin"  (Mercier Press) and is currently working on several other books. Profile

Mícheál Ó Doibhilín is MD of Kilmainham Tales Teo., and has written two books in the series to date. More

Paul O'Brien is a military historian who specialises in military tactics. he has written a series of books on the battles of the Easter Rising 1916 and is currently working on his next project. See his profile here.

Las Fallon works for Dublin Fire Brigade and has published "Dublin Fire Brigade ad the Irish Revolution". More here

8 August, 2013
Conference on the Burning of the Custom House in Dublin, 1921


The Custom House Fire Brigade
... the burning of the Custom House and the men who took part in it

Liz Gillis & Mícheál Ó Doibhilín

The Attack - Fiasco or Military Success?
A military analysis of the action

Paul O'Brien

The Role of the Dublin Fire Brigade in the Attack and its Aftermath

Las Fallon.

The Conference began at  7pm in the St Nicholas of Myra Heritage Centre,  opposite St. Nicholas of Myra Church, Francis Street, Dublin 8. Despite fears that the bus strike could limit attendances, a full house was present to hear three extremely interesting talks.

The Conference began with the acclaimed presentation by Liz Gillis and Mícheál Ó Doibhilín giving details of the planning and burning of the Custom House in 1921, and its aftermath.

(Above) Paul O'Brien, Liz Gillis and Mícheál Ó Doibhilín

A break for refreshments was followed by a fascinating examination by Paul O'Brien of the event as a military operation. Despite faults in the operation, Paul concluded that it was a success, achieving it's primary aims.

Below) Paul O'Brien presents his paper

(Above) Las Fallon and Paul O'Brien

Las Fallon then spoke of the involvement of the Dublin Fire Brigade, and of how these men ensured that the operation was a success.

There followed about an hour of lively and interesting discussion between the audience and the panel, before the Conference broke up at about 10.30pm

We wish to thank Cllr. John Gallagher, Liz O'Connor and all in Carman's Hall for their generosity in providing the hall and refreshments on the night. This is a wonderful location for anyone wishing to organise anything in the area, with a stage, screen, microphone and catering facilities, and we can recommend it to all.

N.B. All photos were taken by Marion O'Brien and we are grateful to her for permission to use them here.

 Photo Gallery:

At right Liz Gillis presents the keynote paper "The Custom House Fire brigade" while, on the screen behind her, can be seen photos of previous commemorations of this attack.

Below we see Liz Gillis speaking while Mícheál Ó Doibhilín operates the visuals during the talk. It is titled "The Custom House Fire Brigade" after the men who took part in the action - the name by which they were known when held in Kilmainham Gaol afterwards.

Below we see part of the large audience taking refreshments and discussing the attack during the intermission.

The space available meant people could freely move about and mingle - making for a more interactive evening than usual.

Dr. Shane Kenna ran the book stall, where books by all the speakers were on sale, including a full selection of Kilmainham Tales titles. This was visited by many of the attendees, and Shane had some interesting discussions with those present.

Such a bookstall is a valuable addition to these presentations and gives those attending an opportunity to get their purchases autographed if they wish, apart from helping defray some of the costs of a presentation such as this.

This is a picture taken from the Speakers' table of this magnificent hall. The facilities - space, catering area, seating etc. - can all be clearly see.

This is a fantastic resource for the area and anyone interested in hiring it for a function can get contact details from Kilmainham Tales.

At left we have the top table, with Mícheal Ó Doibhilín chairing the Q&A Session. Many interesting questions were put, and a lively discussion took place. It was good to see relatives of those who took part in the Burning in the audience.

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