1916 Festival

The Clerk’s Tale and Other Stories

CDETB has its head office in the historic Pembroke Town Hall, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. We are located next door to the RDS on the corner of Merrion and Anglesea Roads.

On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th October 2016, we opened our building to the public from 1- 4.30 each day with a programme of drama, music and exhibitions to commemorate important events during 1916 in the Pembroke Town Hall and surrounding Township.

We also opened our nearby college Ballsbridge College of Further Education on Shelbourne Road who hosted a series of exhibitions, talks and walks.

Listen to our CE Carol Hanney talk about the event to Ciarán Murray at NEAR FM HERE.


Highlights of the weekend  included:

The Clerk’s Tale

Four performances of The Clerk’s Tale by Inchicore College Drama Department. This dramatic period reconstruction is based on the eyewitness account of the then Town Clerk Joshua Manley during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Period Music

Performed by Kylemore Music Centre

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 Architectural & Historical Tours

An architectural and historical tour of Pembroke Town Hall and Ballsbridge (as part of the Irish Architecture Foundation Open House Dublin Festival) hosted by John Holohan.


Talks by Michael Pegum, Helen Litton, Fr Thomas Morrissey and a talk and walk by John Holohan.

All Day Entertainment

Drama, costume, music and food of the day by a variety of CDETB colleges.

The Professional Cookery students at Coláiste Íde with their teachers undertook a fact finding mission to establish the foods that were eaten in 1916.  Their  exhibition outlined the typical food eaten in a hotel, a prison and working class people’s homes.

Food to be sampled by the public included  Brack, Potato Cake, Rostie, Boxty, Gur Cake, Milk Pudding, Rice Pudding and Oak Cakes.  Some of the food in the exhibition will consist of crubeens, coodle, tripe, black bread, sweet bread.

The Culinary Arts Professional Cookery students at Crumlin CFE will also provided tasters of Gur Cake and other Culinary delights.

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Ballsbridge College Exhibition

A special exhibition at Ballsbridge CFE, Shelbourne Road,  entitled, ‘Ballsbridge College, Before, During and Since 1916.

A Hatful of Stories: Remembering 1916

A Hatful of StoriesRingsend Adult Education Service displayed A Hatful of Stories. This is a fascinating collection writing by the students covering landmarks and legacies of the Rising by profiling family members, friends or neighbours.


Eamon de Valera Exhibition

A rarely seen exhibition featuring Eamon de Valera who was incarcerated in Town Hall Ballsbridge after his surrender in 1916.

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Dress Up for the Events!


Visitors were invited to dress in the manner of the early 1900s.

All events were free of charge and first come first served.

Read the full programme here


We were also delighted to be part of the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Open House Dublin Festival this year.


An architectural and Historical tour of Pembroke Town Hall and Ballsbridge will began HERE at the Town Hall on Sunday 16th at 11am.


J C Manley Eye Witness Account 1916.

The Town Hall play, The Clerk’s tale, which was specially commissioned for the weekend, was been inspired by the following account.

On 25 May 1916, JC Manly, the Clerk of Pembroke Urban District Council, wrote an account of his operations between Easter Monday, 24 April 1916 and Saturday, 13 May 1916.

Martial law was in force and the Military Headquarters staff were in possession of the Town Hall.

Read the full account HERE

History of the Old Township of Pembroke 1863-1930

In 1993 City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee produced a history booklet entitled ‘The Old Township of Pembroke 1863-1930’ with a second edition produced in 2011.

Part One deals with the early history of Ballsbridge and its environs including: Fitzwilliams of Merrion; Donnybrook Fair; Pembroke Township Lands; Baggotrath; Thomas Smothe’s Court, Sandymount and Simmonscourt.

Part Two deals with Pembroke Township 1863 -1930 including: A History of the Township; Incarceration of de Valera in the Town Hall in 1916;  Carnegie Library; Pembroke; The 1907 Irish International Exhibition in Herbert Park; The Pembroke Town Hall; James Hicks Cabinet-maker; the Fire Service 1865 – 1881; Fire Brigade 1881 – 1930 and the Railway through the Township of Pembroke.

Read the booklet HERE. Township of Pembroke

Pembroke Town Hall: Roles and Features

The Town Hall was built in 1880. It has had three roles during those 136 years.  For its first fifty years 1880 – 1930 it was the administrative centre of the Township of Pembroke.  From 1930 to 1951 it operated as a Technical School, and in 1951 CDVEC moved it’s Head Office from Bolton St. Dublin 1 to the Town Hall.



The Pembroke Township has been a pioneer of technical education in Ireland having, by 1903, two schools in the area – Pembroke Technical School and Ringsend Technical School – when many towns and districts had none.  Pembroke Technical School has become the present Ballsbridge College of Further Education at Shelbourne Road, while Ringsend Technical Institute still occupies a site adjacent to the original school at Cambridge Road, Ringsend.

Here is a TOWNHALL FACTSHEET showing some architectural features of Town Hall.


History was re-enacted in the Town Hall in 2011

In 2011, to mark the 60th anniversary of Pembroke Town Hall becoming the headquarters of the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee, CDVEC opened the Town Hall from 1-5 pm on the weekend of the 12th and 13th November so that the public could witness dramatised local events from the early 1900s.

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We also opened our nearby college – Ballsbridge College of Further Education on Shelbourne Road  – where we exhibited old records and photography and held a series of illustrated lectures on aspects of the history of the Township.




The 2011 event was launched by the then Minister for Education Rúari Quinn. Here is some VIDEO FOOTAGE from 2011.

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