Wednesday 22 January 2020

IRA Intelligence Unit album debuts in new exhibition

National Museum of Ireland (NMI) in Collins Barracks (Dublin) has opened its newly-refurbished Irish Wars, 1919-1923 gallery today. As previously, it is part of the museum's Soldiers and Chief permanent exhibition, but it now has new multi-media features, new theme interpretations such as civil disobedience, imprisonment, propaganda and the effects of the conflict on civilian populations, as well as more than 50 new displayed objects.

Among the latter is a photo album created by the IRA Intelligence unit. It contains portraits and group photos of individuals the IRA intended to target for assassination ie members of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Auxilliaries, as well as civilians who worked within British Services and could be useful as undercover agents.

The album has never been made public before and, because it is considered to be of national significance and far too valuable to be on public display, visitors to the exhibition don't actually see the book itself, only images from it.

You can read more about the album, and view a video featuring Brenda Malone, the curator of the NMI exhibition, in The Irish Times.

I'm looking forward to visiting the exhibition in due course, but the news of this album made me wonder whether all the names of people identified in its photos have been transcribed. I'm sure there are plenty of family historians who'd want to know if their ancestor features in it. I've dropped Brenda a note about this and I'll update this blogpost when I hear from her.
Click to find out more about the exhibition