Tuesday 19 January 2016

'Inspiring Ireland 1916': new online exhibitions capture unknown stories of people and events

A new phase of the Digital Repository of Ireland's Inspiring Ireland project was launched this evening at the Royal Irish Academy by Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan TD.

Inspiring Ireland 1916: Weaving Public and Private Narratives combines expert narrative with objects from the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland and RTÉ Archives, to create a multi-media reflection on the people, events and legacy of 1916. In addition to the material gathered from the repositories, previously unseen memorabilia, gathered at Collection Days hosted by the National Library of Ireland, is included, revealing a side of the Rising that is not well documented.

This fresh series of seven exhibits focusing on the known and not-so-known stories of people and events surrounding the Rising that will be brought to life online over the first six months of 2016 as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

The schedule of the online exhibitions begins with stories of 'Women and the Rising', and explores class, politics, grief and survival through this remarkable period in Irish history. Inspiring Ireland 1916 will also unveil exhibitions that use brand new sources; for example, the witness testimonies of British soldiers sent to quell the fighting in Dublin, and official compensation claims for damaged property from businesses and individuals – including artists Jack B. Yeats and Harry Clarke. Here's the line up of exhibitions scheduled to appear before the end of May:
  • Communicating the Rising
  • Rising in the Regions
  • The Seven Signatories
  • Reactions to the Rising
  • Impact of the Rising
  • Remembering the Rising
Officially launching the new series of exhibitions, Minister Deenihan said: “It gives me tremendous pride to launch this new phase of Inspiring Ireland, dedicated to telling the stories of 1916, from both private and public collections. These exhibits are truly revealing Ireland at its best, and by bringing them together in one online space, we allow people to participate in commemorating the events and lives of 1916 from wherever they may currently reside, with whatever connection brings them to explore the history of this island.”

Inspiring Ireland is built on the preservation infrastructure of the Digital Repository of Ireland, which means that digital objects are preserved for long term access and discovery, ensuring Ireland’s digital cultural heritage will be available when the next centenary rolls around in another hundred years. Three exhibitions are already online: Sense of Freedom, Sense of Identity and Sense of Place.

There's a short overview of the Inspiring Ireland 1916 project in the video below.