Higgins says 1913 lockout can inspire

President’s speech focused on the importance and the role of history

The lockout of 1913 shone a light on Dublin that could never again be denied, President Michael D Higgins said at a conference celebrating its centenary on Saturday.

The President delivered the keynote address entitled The Task of Remembering the Lockout of 1913 at the conference 1912-1923: Reflecting on a Decade of War and Revolution in Ireland.

"The lockout shone a light on a Dublin that could never again be denied – one that would come to light in James Plunkett's Strumpet City," he said.

Role of history
With the theme of the conference focusing on the decade of centenaries that Ireland is embarking on, much of the President's speech focused on the importance and the role of history in society.

Mr Higgins said it was important to reflect on “the dramatic and painful events” that defined the period before and during the emergence of our independent State – using history as “our prism”.


The President pointed to new technology such as the digitalisation of census forms and the Century Ireland project – an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago – as "most welcome" contributions to an engaged citizenship.

Junior Cert
At the end of a week when Junior Cert history teachers warned of the subject coming "under threat" from planned reforms, Mr Higgins said he hoped these tools would lead to "an enthusiastic acceptance of the importance, not only of history, but of quality teaching of history".

Mr Higgins said that for him personally, the Dublin lockout of 1913 was “the exposing of all the violence that stems from the assumptions of workers without rights, from the collusion of State power with unrestrained capital that is so clear”.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter