In our latest feature Shane Mawe, Assistant Librarian at the Library of Trinity College Dublin, tells us about Changed Utterly: Ireland and the Easter Rising, the Library’s new online resource about the history of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The 1916 Easter Rising was an armed insurrection against British rule in Ireland which took place between 24 and 30 April 1916, mainly in Dublin, but with skirmishes in other areas. Mounted by around 1,200 insurgents from republican groups, the Rising was quickly suppressed by British forces, culminating in the execution of fifteen of the leaders in May 1916.
In April 2015 the Library of Trinity College Dublin embarked on an ambitious blog project to commemorate the Rising. 52 blog posts were published during the lead up to the anniversary commemorations in April 2016. The aim of the blog was to showcase the surprising breadth of the 1916 collections held by the Library and to act as a catalyst for research. Topics ranged from our copy of the Easter Proclamation to working conditions in Dublin Zoo during the conflict.
The summer of 2016 saw a performance of Bairbre Ní Chaoimh’s site-specific theatrical work, ‘Meeting ghosts in College Park’, which focused on characters whose 1916 stories were covered in the blog (John Joly, Elsie Mahaffy’s sister Rachel, and Lilly Stokes). We were also fortunate in 2016 to host the visit of Harry and Pearse O’Hanrahan, grandnephews of Micheál Ó hAnnrachain. Features in the print media (including The Irish Times and The Guardian) helped promote the work and raise the profile of the collections, and a number of our blog posts contributed to the Irish Examiner’s Irish Revolution series. The project also proved useful as an educational tool for primary schools throughout Ireland.
Overall, it was very gratifying to see such an upsurge of interest in the 1916 collections throughout the year.
We are now delighted to announce that the Changed Utterly blog has been redeveloped into a website. Launched in April 2017, the portal incorporates a broader selection of Easter Rising resources. Among the many new features are links to our online exhibition (in conjunction with the Google Cultural Institute) of photographs taken by Thomas Johnston Westropp of the ruins of Dublin, and a 44 page booklet covering the history of Trinity during the Rising and recording the events which commemorated the centenary. We are also pleased to report that the website has been shortlisted in the category of ‘Promoting Ireland Overseas’ at the upcoming Ireland eGovernment Awards. You can access the full site here: www.tcd.ie/library/1916.
The blog posts on the site explore the Library of Trinity College Dublin’s collections of 1916 related material originating from before, during and after the Rising, from all sides of the political spectrum. Our Twitter account (@TCDLib1916) also draws heavily on the collections in an effort to promote the blog and the Library’s resources.
One such resource is the Samuels Collection of Printed Ephemera which consists of material related to the 1916 Rebellion, World War I, the War of Independence and the Civil War. It was gathered in part by the Royal Irish Constabulary, and collected by Arthur Warren Samuels (1852-1925), Solicitor General for Ireland (1917-1918) and Attorney General (1918-1919). The collection of 642 items includes political pamphlets and broadsides, ballads and songs, and other forms of printed political items. The collection is fully catalogued and available to explore on COPAC (search using the author ‘Samuels Collection’).
With the help of our colleagues in Preservation & Conservation and Digital Resources & Imaging Services the collection is now fully digitised and freely available to view via the Digital Collections portal.
Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections
The Library of Trinity College Dublin
The University of Dublin
All images copyright the Board of Trinity College Dublin, reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.