Digital Repository’s Inspiring Ireland project puts life in 1916 online

DRI Letter 1916
Artifacts like personal letters form the backbone of the Digital Repository's 1916 project

Exhibits include ojects, letters and other ephemera

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21 January 2016 | 0

The Digital Repository of Ireland at the Royal Irish Academy has launched a new project featuring a series of exhibits focusing on the known and not-so-known stories of people and events surrounding the 1916 Rising that will be brought to life online over the next six months as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

Inspiring Ireland 1916: Weaving Public and Private Narratives uses digitised photos, diaries, posters, aural recordings, video and other ephemera to tell the stories that surround the Rising, and paint a picture of everyday life in 1916.

Combining expert narrative with iconic objects from the National Archives of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland and RTE archives alongside ‘found’ objects from private collections, Inspiring Ireland 1916 creates a dynamic, multi-media reflection on the people, events and legacy of 1916.

“By combining public content cared for by Ireland’s national cultural institutions with private items shared by members of the public via our national and international Collection Days, Inspiring Ireland 1916 is able to  show a side of the Rising that is not as well documented. In our first exhibition, we use the lens of women’s lives to explore class, politics, grief and survival through this remarkable period in Irish history. And this is just the start of the stories that have inspired Ireland through the Rising,” said Dr Natalie Harrower, Digital Repository of Ireland director.

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.

“The Digital Repository of Ireland is delighted to be able to expand the Inspiring Ireland project to share new discoveries, and the artefacts and stories that surround them, alongside important existing memories from our treasured cultural institutions,” said Dr Harrower.

The interpretive essays have been written by Irish and international historians of 1916 and its legacy, among them Prof Senia Paseta of the University of Oxford provided the commentary for the first exhibit on women’s lives.

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