Inspiring Ireland 1916 London Collection Day event (March 19) & Programme for exhibition at RTÉ's 'Reflecting the Rising' (March 28)

L-R: Dr Natalie Harrower, Director, DRI; Dan Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain; Caroline McGee, Inspiring Ireland 1916 Project Creative Lead, at the Inspiring Ireland 1916 Collection Day at the Embassy of Ireland, London. Photo Credit: Martin James Burton

The first Inspiring Ireland international collection day took place on Saturday March 19th in the Embassy of Ireland, London. Members of the public brought their 1916 memorabilia to be professionally digitised and shared family stories at the event. Conversation flowed on Twitter as well, with participants using the hashtag #InspiringIreland.

On hand from the Digital Repository of Ireland were Director Dr. Natalie Harrower, Inspiring Ireland 1916 Project Creative Lead, Caroline McGee and Digital Data Curator Kevin Long. The team worked with Embassy of Ireland staff and volunteers from Irish in Britain to help bring many people's special stories to the world via their donated and digitised objects. In total, 17 contributors came from across the UK to participate in the event, and Inspiring Ireland collected and digitised over 40 unique objects for sharing in upcoming exhibitions, including medals, correspondence, political pamphlets, photographs and even a Celtic kilt pin worn by a member of the James Connolly pipe band.

The day's agenda included a speech by Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain Dan Mulhall, who is an historian by training and who gave an excellent talk on the subject of 1916. Dr. Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland, and Katherine McSharry, Head of Outreach at NLI talked about the library’s role as a national memory institution, and Dr Natalie Harrower and Caroline McGee spoke about the weaving of public and private stories through treasured memorabilia in Inspiring Ireland.

Dr Natalie Harrower, Director of DRI, presents a copy of Royal Irish Academy publication '1916: Portraits and Lives' to Ambassador Dan Mulhall, with thanks from the RIA. Photo Credit: Martin James Burton

RTÉ News journalist Fiona Mitchell reported from the event for the main evening bulletins:

The next Inspiring Ireland international collection day takes place in Glucksman Ireland House, New York on April 17th



Photo Credits: Martin James Burton

PROGRAMME FOR INSPIRING IRELAND 1916 at RTÉ's 'Reflecting the Rising', Royal Irish Academy on Easter Monday!

Inspiring Ireland 1916 will take part in 'Reflecting the Rising', RTÉ's series of 1916-related public events taking place on Easter Monday, 28 March 2016. The Royal Irish Academy will be hosting a series of talks as part of 'Reflecting the Rising' on that date, with an interactive exhibition of Inspiring Ireland 1916 material playing a key role. RTÉ are facilitating the day's events in association with Ireland 2016, with similar talks and exhibitions taking place in other venues across the city.

The Inspiring Ireland 1916 exhibition will also include a series of 'pop-up' talks. These are short, unticketed sessions that operate on a 'first-come, first-serve' basis. All will take place in the RIA Library Reading Room between 12.30 and 3.30pm on Monday 28th March. Each session is 25 minutes long, with the talk itself covering approximately 10 minutes, and the remaining time devoted to audience questions and an opportunity for attendees to take part in a guided browse of the Inspiring Ireland 1916 exhibitions.


12.30pm: Dr Natalie Harrower, Director, Digital Repository of Ireland, 'Lizzie Walsh: An Unwitting Woman of the Rising'

1.00pm: Dr. Teresa Breathnach, Design Historian, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, 'A call to arms: communicating the Rising'

1.30pm: Dr. Brian Hughes, Associate Lecturer in History, University of Exeter, 'The ordinary lives of extraordinary men: the leaders of the Easter Rising'

2.00pm: Dr. Timothy G. McMahon, Assistant Professor of History, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 'Bulmer Hobson: Easter's Forgotten Militant'

2.30pm: Pádraig Yeates, Journalist, author & member of the 1913 Committee, '1916: the Rising and beyond'

3.00pm: Aisling Conroy, Artist, National Irish Visual Arts Library, NCAD, 'Michael Healy's 1916 Diary: A Centenary Debut.'

3.30pm: Caroline McGee, Inspiring Ireland Project Creative Lead, 'Rising Time: family history discoveries and Inspiring Ireland 1916'

For more information about the Inspiring Ireland 1916 exhibition click here and for more information about 'Reflecting the Rising' click here.




February 15, 2016


Following the success of recent Inspiring Ireland 1916 public memorabilia 'collection days' in Dublin, the Digital Repository of Ireland is delighted to announce that it is holding three new collection day events at home and abroad. The first of these exciting events took place in the Embassy of Ireland in London on Saturday, March 19, 2016. It was organized in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland in Great Britain and Irish in Britain, the leading network for Irish community organisations and Irish individuals in Britain. The network and its Members are the foundation of Irish community life in Britain and their mission is to make a difference to the lives and experiences of Irish people across Britain. READ MORE


January 19, 2016


At a busy launch in the Royal Irish Academy, Minister of State for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan TD., revealed an exciting new phase of the Digital Repository of Ireland’s Inspiring Ireland project – a fresh series of 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. Inspiring Ireland 1916: Weaving Public and Private Narratives uses fascinating objects -- digitised photos, diaries, posters, aural recordings, video, and ephemera -- to tell the stories that surround the Rising, and paint a picture of everyday lives 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 RTÉ Archives alongside ‘found’ objects from private collections, Inspiring Ireland 1916 creates a dynamic, multi-media reflection on the people, events, and legacy of 1916. READ MORE


January 7, 2016


Caroline McGee, Project Creative Lead for the Digital Repository of Ireland's Inspiring Ireland 1916 resource, describes what takes place at a public memorabilia collection day.

Irish people are globally renowned for being confident, eloquent storytellers. Marry that talent with a love of drama and a strong collective memory of historical events and the past comes alive. Telling the story of the 1916 Rising is an important element of the second stage of Inspiring Ireland, an interactive online resource that preserves and exhibits our national cultural assets and makes them accessible to a wide audience. Inspiring Ireland 1916 brings public memorabilia and the extensive collections of 1916 material held in Irish cultural institutions –  the National Library, National Archives, National Museum, and RTE - together in one place. It presents high quality digital images of both familiar and lesser-known material alongside rich contextual interpretation provided by national and international historians. This will allow users to discover and make personal connections with the material and deepen their knowledge of the revolutionary period.  Exhibitions will go online on a rolling basis between January and May 2016. The first exhibition uses the lens of women's lives to tell the stories surrounding the Rising and showcases objects, documents, and ephemera that illustrate the ways in which everyday lives were turned upside down as a result of Easter Week 1916. READ MORE

October 31, 2015


The first Inspiring Ireland 1916 Collection Day was held on 31 October 2015 in partnershiop with the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. A collection day involves members of the public bringing their treasured objects from 1916 to be digitisted, and telling the stories of how they came to possess these objects. Trained interviewers collect the facts and family folklore surrounding the objects, professional high quality images are taken, and in time the digital objects are catalogued by archivists and deposited into the Digital Repository of Ireland for long term preservation. These objects then appear as Collection Day items on the Inspiring Ireland site, and some will also take part in special themed exhibitions. The contributed items appear within a dedicated collection space alongside curated exhibitions of objects from Inspiring Ireland 1916 partner institutions. More collection days are being planned across Ireland with a host of collaborators, and internationally with our partners at the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Diaspora Affairs. A follow-up event to the first collection day is being held in Dublin in December 2015 to collect the remaining objects and stories from our first round of collecting. Regional and international days are being planned for early 2016. READ MORE