Monday, 22 August 2016

Being a grown-up at college

Many people begin their third level education as a mature student. This week we welcome you to campus and want to assure you that we understand what you are experiencing and have lots of services in place to help you settle in.

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh tells it like it is
In a recent RTÉ podcast, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh described very honestly her experiences of going to college as a mature student (go to the 10th minute).  If like Bláthnaid, you haven’t studied before, have a family and / or children, you will recognise that your life will involve quite a bit of juggling and adjusting from now on. The University of Limerick recognises this too and has services in place o help you settle in and succeed in your studies.

Be sure to drop in to the library either during your tour or at any stage over the coming weeks. Using the library for work helps create a clear separation of home and college life; get your assignments done before heading home if possible. Distractions are minimized, you can work with your project team in one of our bookable group study rooms. Our staff are very understanding and expert in helping you navigate the waters of life at UL. Next week our team of student peer advisors, including experienced UL students from diverse backgrounds, will be working in the library to answer your questions on just about anything.

Everyone experiences different challenges when starting college. For example, Bláthnaid’s biggest challenge was writing essays, even as a journalist she found it difficult to adapt her writing style. For each and every question you have at UL, there is an answer. For writing, UL has a writing centre with tutors who guide you to become a better writer. UL also has librarians for every subject that can help you identify sources for your work and get you used to doing new things like bibliographies.

The help is here, just ask when you think you might need a little bit of it.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Attics to Archives; workshops show you how to care for your family history

In almost every home, you'll find them boxed away on the top shelf of the wardrobe, under the bed, in the attic. They are our stories, told through aging photographs or fragile family documents. Exactly what do you do with these family treasures?

To find the answers, you can now sign up for a two hour workshop hosted by UL Library’s Technical and Digital Services, and the Special Collections and Archives Departments.

This hands-on workshop, "Attics to Archives: Caring for your Family History" will be taught by experts in the areas of archival, preservation and digital curation methods. It will share simple techniques to organise, digitise and share your family records, and introduce you to useful preservation tools and materials. It will be held Wednesday, 24 August from 10 am to 12 pm, or from 2 pm to 4 pm. It is free to the public with pre-registration and participants are invited to bring their family treasures for preservation advice.

Book your place now on 061 202690 or email

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Weekend Server Maintenance Will Affect 3 Glucksman Library Online Resources

Essential Server maintenance is planned over the next 2 weekends which will affect 3 of our online resources.


Friday 22nd Jul - Monday 25th Jul 2016

Our Institutional Repository will be unavailable

Friday 29th Jul -Tuesday 2nd Aug 2016

Two online exhibitions will be unavailable:

The Long Way To Tipperary

Limerick and the 1916 Rising

The Glucksman Library apologises for any inconvenience caused by these outages.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

3 years Free Library Access for UL and MIC Graduates


After graduation you are welcome to continue using the Glucksman Library into the future. UL and MIC graduates can avail of 3 year free ALUMNI membership which allows entry to the library building for study or research purposes but without borrowing or access to subscription based electronic resources. For borrowing and on-campus access to our e-resources, ALUMNI can takes out reduced paid membership on a 6 or 12 month basis. 20140918_53_JPG

While the primary role of the Library is to support the teaching, learning and research activities at UL we also offer a range of access options to other educational institutions and also to the general public. Why not check out the Glucksman Library website for full details and simply apply online.


Why not take advantage of the reading and research facilities of the Glucksman library during the quieter summer months leading up to Semester 1 of the 2016/17 academic year

Friday, 1 July 2016

Paying tribute to Irish soldiers, 100 years on

One hundred years ago today, after the largest preliminary bombardment ever fired, British, Newfoundland and French troops attacked in Picardy on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Originally in a supporting role to a larger French attack, the plan for the British was changed radically in the Spring of 1916 after the German attack at Verdun. The Battle of the Somme became a largely British offensive that aimed to draw German forces away from the besieged French defences north of that symbolically important city. The first day of the battle was a costly failure for the British—thirteen divisions attacked along a 25,000-yard front north of the River Somme and a little under 20,000 men were killed and twice that wounded with little to show for it. By 18 November, when the battle ended, the Allies had advanced up to six miles on a 16-mile front. Although casualty figures are difficult to know precisely, the cost was immense: over 146,000 British Empire and French troops were killed and over 620,000 wounded. The Germans suffered horrendous losses also, estimated at over 600,000, about a quarter of whom were killed.

It is impossible to know how many Irishmen died during the course of the battle. Irishmen served in almost every division of the British Army, in addition to making up 36th (Ulster) Division, which attacked at Thiepval on 1 July, and 16th (Irish) Division, which attacked at Guillemont and Ginchy in September (there were, for example, three Irish battalions in Pat’s 29th Division). In association with It’s a Long Way to Tipperary – An Irish Story of the Great War, a guest post by Nick Metcalfe pays tribute to the soldiers from Ireland who lost their lives during the battle.

‘Noise fearful and never ceasing…’
‘The Div South of us has got on pretty well except on our immediate right, which has been hung up.’ Pat Armstrong’s reference was to the attack by 36th (Ulster) Division astride the River Ancre. The majority of the Division attacked out of Thiepval Wood on the high ground south of the river, against the formidable Swaben Redoubt. On the north of the river, however, two battalions of 108th Brigade—12th Royal Irish Rifles and 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers—attacked from the trenches at Hamel on the immediate right of Pat’s Division. This was the attack that was ‘hung up’.

clip_image002The Ulster Division largely comprised men of the Ulster Volunteers, raised to oppose the imposition of Home Rule for Ireland in the troubled period immediately prior to the war. The 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers—comprising men from counties Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan—was renowned for its discipline and cleanliness. Much of this reputation was down to the influence of its commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Blacker. Blacker was a former Royal Artillery officer and a driving force in the Unionist movement in County Armagh before the war. He took command of the Battalion on its formation in September 1914. From his arrival in France in October 1915 Blacker wrote to his wife, Eva, almost every day.

Throughout June 1916 the Battalion was in reserve training for the forthcoming attack. Blacker wrote of the training and with hope for the attack to come:

(Saturday, 10 June) I fancy we shall get into the Bosche trenches easily enough and without much loss, but staying there will be costly.

(Wednesday, 14 June) We go into the line Monday, for some days. I’m sure the Battalion will do well. I pray it may not suffer. With a little luck we ought to be all right.

(Thursday, 15 June) Am doing a useful day’s work in camp; musketry, gas helmets, bayonet work, etc. Floods of orders and instructions keep coming in; hard to take them all in. Only 20 officers are to be taken, and much grief and heartburning on those left behind.

(Friday, 17 June) We had a satisfactory morning practising attack by ourselves; no-one to waste our time. We had an aeroplane to practise signalling to, and everything was successful.
The preliminary bombardment began on ‘U-Day’, Saturday 24 June. When it began the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers were forward in the trenches at Hamel awaiting the morning of the attack - ‘Z Day’, Thursday 29 June. From the trenches Blacker wrote:

(Saturday, 24 June) Rather a bad relief. Heavy thunderstorm 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.; turned the tracks into mire, and trenches into rivers. Kit and men got very wet. Not finished till midnight. Bombardment now going on, but at present not very severe, and the Bosche has not warmed up yet.

(Sunday, 25 June) Bombardment still continuing, Bosche not replying much. Last night he put in a lot on our front line and we had two killed, and 11 wounded.

(Monday, 26 June) Noise fearful and never ceasing. Three more casualties (all wounded) … Orders and instructions pour in… We are getting very bored with the din. The Bosche is not retaliating on us much.

(Tuesday, 27 June) We had about 20 casualties yesterday—three killed. Heavy rain all night and today so far; makes things unpleasant.
Late on 28 June the Battalion was withdrawn from the line—the attack had been postponed for 48 hours. Blacker wrote of his impressions moving back:

(Thursday, 29 June) Came back very short distance. Such a wonderful scene. The heavens alight for miles with discharge of guns, and a continuous roar, which goes on without ceasing.

On the night of 30 June the Battalion moved back into the line. The following morning 621 officers and men attacked alongside 12th Royal Irish Rifles. The weight of machine-gun fire proved too much and the attack foundered. The 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers suffered grievously: including the seven men killed and over forty men wounded in the period between ‘U Day’ and the morning of the attack, the casualties totalled 582 all ranks, of whom 255 were killed in action or died of wounds.
The scene of the attack by 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers
It is hard to imagine exactly how Lieutenant Colonel Blacker was hit by the events that morning but his letters convey something of his grief:
(Saturday, 1 July) Safe and unhurt, but broke. The Battalion is no more. At least 400 casualties, but hard to estimate, as they keep coming in. … Every officer who went over is a casualty. … The men were splendid! … I was never in any danger, but am tired to death, and so sad.
(Sunday, 2 July) My beloved Battalion and the companions of the last two years swept away in a few short hours. They did splendidly; on they went regardless of loss of officers, and charged, a mere handful of some half dozen. … Eight [officers] missing and seven wounded. The Battalion about 170 strong. I am heartbroken. So gallant and so splendid they all were.
The tight-knit Battalion had been recruited from very close communities and the impact at home in Ireland in the days and weeks that followed was immense. Initially, there was celebration as word of the scale of the offensive and the success of the Ulster Division was reported in the local press. Then came the telegrams and casualty notification letters, the casualty lists in the newspapers, and the stories from the returning wounded. The families of the missing endured a long wait of months, or years in some cases, before it was confirmed that their men-folk had been killed.
After a period of refitting the Battalion moved to a sector south of Ypres and was back in the line by the end of July 1916. Lieutenant Colonel Blacker continued to write daily to his wife until March 1917, when he returned to Ireland to command a reserve battalion.

Nick Metcalfe is the author of Blacker’s Boys, the history of the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers and the editor of the online project Blacker’s Letters. He is the author of For Exemplary Bravery, the story of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, and Sacrifice—an online project about the Great War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the United States.

Follow the story of the Armstrong family from Co. Tipperary  during World War 1 at the University of Limerick great war exhibition online at  or 'Like' the Facebook page for the diaries or follow the family on Twitter.