A protest in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon against conscription in 1918. The issue of home rule or independence dominated the concerns of that time, not the grave risk to public health. Photograph: Photo12/UIG/Getty Images

In popular history, the period covered by our decade of commemorations is dominated by the first World War, the struggle for independence and the Civi(...)

A disappointing grain yield and particularly wet weather  created the perfect conditions for typhus to ravage an already-vulnerable population between 1816 and 1819. Illustration: iStock

An epidemic, a scramble to deal with it and much space in newsprint; it’s not an unfamiliar pattern in newspaper archives. One of the worst disease o(...)

Midwifery students at the Rotunda Hospital in 1911.

Links between how babies are fed, and their health, are long established, and efforts to increase breast-feeding rates date back to the 19th century, (...)

Ventilation of a Room by Tobin’s Tubes. Illustration for ‘Cassell’s Book of the Household’ (Cassell, 1889).

Before the advent of cinema, or even radio, attending public lectures was a popular entertainment across Ireland. Audiences could choose from discours(...)

Dublin, 1968: the 10-child Murphy family, whom the corporation moved into a slum on Benburb Street after Mrs Murphy fell behind on her rent.  Photograph: Mirrorpix via Getty

The history of slum landlordism in Ireland over the past century suggests current offenders have little to fear from politicians making threats. Exact(...)

Photograph: iStock

When Thomas Coyne called to the Carrols’ home in Co Mayo, he learned the family’s eldest daughter, Mary, was unwell. The exact disease Mary was suff(...)