Published: June 23, 2016
Trenches...Hell...Biscuits: From the Rising to the battlefields of France in 1916
As the latest Inspiring Ireland 1916 exhibition shows, over the last century a plethora of objects, from buttons to buildings and everything inbetween, have been used to memorialise and commemorate the events of Easter Week 1916 in the public sphere and in more private ways.
In this blog post, Damien Burke, assistant archivist to the Irish Jesuit Province takes a modern art installation inspired by the tobacconist shop once owned by 1916 Proclamation signatory Tom Clarke, as the starting point for examining diaries and correspondence of 'ordinary people and everyday heroes' - the padres and soldiers who experienced the horrors of war together in France in 1916.
The contents revealed a hidden history linking Belvedere College, the Jesuit-run alma mater of 1916 Rising leader Joseph Plunkett, with Rita Duffy the artist who created 'The Souvenir Shop' for the Arts Council Ireland 2016 programme.
Image: Irish Jesuit Archives, Fr Henry Gill SJ photograph of men at rest, 1915-16.
How did a man who was central to the development of nationalism in Ulster find himself imprisoned in a terraced house in Phibsborough, Dublin on the eve of the Rising guarded by fellow Irish Republican Brotherhood members?
Image: Lithograph portrait (R) of Bulmer Hobson by David Rooney, extracted from 1916: Portraits and Lives published by the Royal Irish Academy in association with the Office of Public Works.
Dr. Kathryn Milligan, inaugural ESB Fellow at the ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, reflects on the cultural cost of 1916 by shedding light on a sensory world of furniture, textiles, and artworks that perished when the Royal Hibernian Academy building on Lower Abbey Street, Dublin was destroyed during Easter Week 1916.
By delving into the compensation applications files of the Property Losses (Ireland) Committee, and others that also form part of the National Archives of Ireland collection in Inspiring Ireland 1916, she paints a previously unseen picture of Academy House and tells some of the hidden stories behind what was lost in the fire and the connections between Dublin and a global artistic economy.
Image: Thomas Westropp Collection, Royal Irish Academy