Tuesday 12 January 2016

Google launches Street View tour of the Easter Rising

An interactive Google Street View tour, The Dublin Rising 1916–2016 Tour, has been launched this evening by Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD at Google's offices in the Irish capital.

Narrated by actor Colin Farrell, the virtual tour explores the iconic locations, people and stories of 100 years ago, bringing the 1916 events to live for people around the world.

It was developed by Google in partnership with Ireland 2016, with expert advice from a dedicated team of archivists and historians, and resources from some of the country's major national cultural institutions,including the National Library, Military Archives and Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. The virtual tour and exhibitions will allow millions of people around the world to share in Ireland’s 2016 commemorations and learn more about the 1916 uprising right from their phone, tablet or computer.

The Dublin Rising 1916-2016 tour is narrated by actor Colin Farrell

Throughout the tour, visitors stop at city centre locations as they are today, hear what happened there and click to explore photos, videos, stories and witness statements from the Dublin of 1916. If you stand in front of today's GPO on O'Connell street, for example, you see the GPO as it was 100 years ago, destroyed by shell fire, and you can listen to witness statements from rebels who fought there and hear stories of all the people involved. You can also see one of the only photographs taken inside the GPO during the Rising itself of Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army soldiers.

For the first time, statements from witness to the Rising, courtesy of the Military Archives, have been brought to life by contemporary actors. These statements demonstrate so many parts and emotions of those who were there and reveal the violence and brutality, and the grief which gripped so many in the aftermath. They also bring the Rising to life by sharing some of the lesser known more human moments. One witness recalls seeing “Padraig Pearse and James Connolly sitting on high stools in a little enclosure in the middle of the main hall drinking tea and eating sandwiches” in the GPO. And a claim that “some members of the unit were not taking their fair share of the risks at the barricades, that they preferred to remain with the Cumann na mBan in the kitchen rather than go out and risk their necks”.

Speaking at the launch, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “2016 is an important year that allows us to explore and understand the events not only of 1916, but the subsequent events that led to the establishment of our independent state. In acknowledging our past, we are creating stronger foundations for a more vibrant and shared future. I want to congratulate Google, Ireland 2016 and the cultural partners who have come together to create this unique online experience. They are enabling all the people of Ireland, the diaspora and others around the world to commemorate, learn about and explore the events of 1916 and the 100 years since then and to celebrate the country we are today.”

Most of the artefacts featured in the tour are also be available for anyone to explore in virtual exhibitions on Google’s Cultural Institute. The exhibitions tell the stories of the people who were involved, from the women rebels of Cumann na mBan, to the messengers who carried information around the city; from members of the British forces in Ireland, to the leaders of the Rising.