Documentary On Newstalk: Town of Kings

New documentary exploring the hidden history of Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

This weekend, Documentary On Newstalk will broadcast the premier of a new radio documentary, ‘Town Of Kings’, which uncovers the hidden history of Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Produced by Simon Ó Gallchobhair Town of Kingswill be broadcast on Newstalk on Sunday 29th July at 7am, and on Saturday 4th August at 9pm

The town of Dún Laoghaire, on the coast of Co. Dublin, is a place of hidden histories and contested identity.

Founded on the ruins of fifth century fort, the building of a harbour in 1817 led to the creation of Dún Laoghaire.  The town was renamed Kingstown following the drunken visit of George IV in 1821, before reverting to it’s original name in 1920.

Town of Kings documents the rapid growth of this seaside Victorian town up to the present day. The program weaves together the perspective of historians and long time residents who have witnessed the town's contrasting fortunes. 

The historian Tom Conlon reveals the squalid slums of Kingstown hidden behind opulent retailers. The rise of nationalist Ireland is explored with an IRA assassination attempt in the town. Local residents who share their family history include pawn-broking in the 1920; selling newspapers on George's Street in the 1960s; old world pharmacists and a daring 1980's pig escape.

Dún Laoghaire's main street has weathered good times and bad over the last 200 years as brought to life in: Town of Kings.

Selected Quotes from Town of Kings:

"They never planned for what the ordinary working man or his family might live in. So that created problems later on as the town developed and there was no proper accommodation for the poorer classes"- Tom Conlon, historian & author of "Victorian Dún Laoghaire: a town divided"

"The town grew as you saw from 1834 onward (Ireland's first railway). But that was also the time of the repeal movement of Daniel O'Connell and right through with the famine you had more people coming in from the outer areas bringing with them you could say their antipathy to Britain in many ways."- Michael Merrigan, Independent county councillor in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown

"The fire station was shifted. The fishing was a 3 mile limit business which changed everything, didn't have the fishermen......The coal yards closed, there were four of them. So naturally the workers and the industry all cooled down. Less trade in the bars, they had all dispersed all around the place. So the scene got a bit quieter"- Maurice of T. O'Loughlin's pub (established 1929)

"There are loads of kids I've seen when they were maybe 7 or 8 years old and they've grown up, gone to college and they're still coming in. They don't recognize me but I remember them"- Yasmin Khan. Teddy's ice cream (established 1950)

"They made it one way (Georges St. Lower) which in my estimation killed the town and it has never come back from that" - George Davis, newspaper seller since the 1960's

BROADCAST DETAILS: ‘Town of Kingswill be broadcast on Sunday 29th July at 7am, and on Saturday 4th August at 9pm

PODCAST: The podcast will be available at after the broadcast. 

CREDITS: Town of Kings was made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The programme was produced and edited by Simon Ó Gallchobhair. Special thanks to all of the people of Dún Laoghaire and to Tom Conlon author of 'Victorian Dún Laoghaire: a town divided'.