The Wexford launch of the Letters of 1916 project took place on Thursday, 16th April 2015. The outreach event was made possible through a SFI Discover grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Enniscorthy Library kindly offered its venue for the event, which was a great success and attracted over 80 participants. The first part of the event provided an opportunity to meet the team behind the project, as well as to find out more about technical aspects of the projects. It was also a chance to hear talks by our collaborators, Gráinne Doran and Jarlath Glynn, the Archivists from Wexford County Archive, about archives, caring for old documents and photographs, and of course local history. We demonstrated the digitisation process and assisted a number of people with their very first letter transcriptions.
During the event we also photographed the letters from the Wexford County Archives, which are now in the Letters of 1916 online collection:
The second part of the event was a series of talks with a focus on letters and local interest:
Bernard Browne was speaking on Senator Kathleen Browne and her background. Bernard is a public servant who has written extensively on aspects of County Wexford’s history.
Gráinne Doran was speaking on some of the documents in the Wexford County Archive collection pertaining to the period. Gráinne is Archivist with Wexford County Council.
Ibar Carty showed some photographs relating to the period and demonstrated the technology behind photography at the time using a vintage camera equipment. Ibar is a well-known photographer from Enniscorthy who is also custodian of the P.A. Crane photographic collection.
Prof Susan Schreibman spoke about the Letters of 1916 project and its hidden stories. Susan is the Professor Digital Humanities and Director of An Foras Feasa, the Humanities Research Institute at Maynooth University. She is the Founding Editor of the Letters of 1916.
Emma Clarke was speaking about letters from the Letters of 1916 collection that were written by Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) nurses. Emma is a PhD candidate in Digital Humanities in Trinity College Dublin and is the outreach co-ordinator for the Letters of 1916 project.
The event resulted in a significant increase of the number of new users who registered on letters1916.ie during the week of the event. Similarly, it engaged dozens of people on Social Media (see our Storify from the event). It also featured on other platforms and media, such as:
The following day, the L1916 team ran two workshops for Transition Year students at the St.Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Schools in Enniscorthy. John Ryan, the Principal of the School provided us with a lab where two classes (35 students in total), took part in the project by uploading letters. The students were given an overview of the project, a local history recap and an introduction to use of digital resources for history research purposes. The latter included a hands on session using online resources such as: Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press / Royal Irish Academy and Census of Ireland 1901/1911, National Archives of Ireland.
The Letters of 1916 has been awarded a SFI Discover grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). This funding allows the Letters of 1916 project to extend its outreach with four Community Engagement Events in Enniscorthy, Cork, Galway and Belfast in 2015.