Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), 6 Kildare St, Dublin 2
Schedule of talks
5.20 – 5.30 Damien Burke: ‘The Jesuits in 1917’
5.30 – 5.40 Jennifer Redmond: ‘Women’s experiences of 1916’
5.40 – 5.50 Dominic Price: ‘The importance of historical sources in inspiring a cross-curricular approach for involving students in history’
6.20 – 6.30 Paul Huddie: ‘The Nursing Branch of the military charity, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association’
6.30 – 6.40 Mary McAuliffe: ‘Revolutionary Women, Politics and Propaganda, 1917-1918’
6.40 – 6.50 Blair Halliday: ‘The shooting of my Mother on Easter Monday 1916’
Letters 1916 – 1923 Launch
7.00 – 7.10 Professor Susan Schreibman: ‘Letters 1916 – 1923: The Birth of a Nation’
7.10 – 7.20 Robert Doyle: ‘Discovering a treasure trove – Eamonn Ó Modhráin’s letters’
7.20 – 7.30 LAUNCH: Professor Linda Connolly
8.10 – 8.20 Joseph Peter Quinn: ‘Irish-born soldiers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces during WW1’
8.20 – 8.30 Tessa Finn: ‘May Fay and James Finn’s love letters from 1916’
8.30 – 8.40 Tom Burke: ‘Poppy / Armistice Day in Dublin, ten years after Passchendaele.’
8.40 – 8.50 Ida Milne: ‘Letters from gaol: the ‘German’ plot internees and the 1918-19 flu’
9.20 – 9.30 Brian Hughes: ‘The Truce period, July 1921–c.June 1922’
9.30 – 9.40 Billy Campbell: ‘The Truce and its consequences’
9.40 – 9.50 Andrea Martin: ‘The significance of Letters 1916 – 1923 for individual and collective identity 100 years later’
Culture Night is an annual event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. This year, it will take place on Friday 22nd September 2017. On Culture Night, arts and cultural organisations and venues of all shapes and sizes, including the National Cultural Institutions, extend their opening hours to allow for increased access to the public. Special and unique events and workshops are specifically programmed at participating locations and everything is available free of charge.
Intended or not the 1916 Rising has been irrevocably associated with the Easter holidays, and so, we look back on the creation of the commemoration tradition, from its physical manifestation in 1916 to the informal ceremonial events of 1917. Originating from its immediate aftermath the Easter Rising has a host of associated memorabilia which was collected and cultivated by the Irish people. Quickly falling into the tradition of storytelling, the executed leaders of 1916 and the ill-fated combatants became a part of local legendary lore, along with previous figures like Brian Boru.
The significance of these cards is evident in the dispute between Nora Casey and the local police in Kenmare, Co. Kerry. After displaying postcards depicting participants in the Easter Rising, such as Patrick Pearse and Countess Markievicz, local law enforcement instructed Miss Casey to remove them due to a military order prohibiting their exhibition. Miss Casey responds to the policeman by asking “if it is an order I suppose I must obey it, but how am I to sell the Photos if people don’t know I have them?”. Later that evening Miss Casey returned the photographs to her window display and a dispute ensued between law enforcement and her lawyer. Subsequently, the military order is modified to allow the exhibition of such photographs, provided there were not accompanied “by S. F. [Sinn Féin] badges, crepe, or cards or documents containing “last words” of rebel leaders”. Therefore, although contentious, these postcards were a popular commodity and rather face the backlash from an outright ban the military sought to regulate their display.
From the production of postcards to the collection of relics the trend of saving 1916 memorabilia progressed over the course of 1916. As the executions ceased, the trial of Roger Casement approached and internment continued public sympathies swayed and the support base for the actions of Easter week slowly began to grow. As a result people sought to associate themselves with the events of that fateful week through objects. On 9 June 1916 A. Guinnell writes to Nell Humphreys, the sister of ‘The’ O’Rahilly (1875-1916), to express sorrow for Nell’s poor sister-in-law, Nancy O’Rahilly. However, before signing off she requests that Nell send on any “relics” she can get, in addition to pictures of “you know whom”, Patrick Pearse and any others she may be able to find. John Gibney’s A History of the Easter Rising in 50 Objects also demonstrates the desire to collect and maintain artefacts of the event. Included are objects, postcards, pictures and memorial cards. Containing images of memorial cards from 1917 and 1919 Gibney demonstrates the lasting impression of Easter week 1916 in the memory of the public. To this day similar ephemeral material can be purchased at auctions demonstrating that the legacy of the Rising still exists in physical form.
While material culture was flourishing in post-Rising Ireland a number of participants in the event itself were still being detained in internment camps when the anniversary came. Detained away from home internees were forced to come up with their own way of marking the occasion. In Lewes prison they chose to mark the event with a memorial service for the Volunteers who had died in Easter week, as recorded by Paul Galligan, “those noble souls, the purest and best of Irish manhood and although we feel lonely and sad for such comrades yet we cannot regret them, they have led a noble life and died a glorious death”. In Lewes they commemorated the event on the anniversary of Pearse’s surrender, in Dublin, however, a commemoration service was held on 9 April, Easter in 1917, as recalled by Helena Moloney.The Irish Times recorded the event noting the gathering of crowds, the hoisting of flags on the General Post Office and incidents of stone throwing by Dublin “youths”. For some the first anniversary was a call to action as previously quiet areas began to show support to the movement. Jerome Buckley of Mourne Abbey, Co. Cork, recalled that the Rising’s first anniversary was the first ‘happening’ in his area when he and other local youths flew tricolour flags from, “from two of the highest points in the district”. Henry O’Keefe in Co. Waterford had a very similar experience, “Our first hint of defiance occurred at Easter, 1917, when we placed the Tricolour on tops of trees, chimneys of houses, and telegraph poles to celebrate the anniversary of the 1916 Rising.”
While not an official celebration, or a quiet one, Easter 1917 marked the first year of commemoration for the Easter Rising. With a multitude of memorabilia and souvenirs around the country the tale of Easter Week 1916 became a popular one. Leading up to the first anniversary attitudes were changing and popular figures of the Rising were beginning to emerge and cultivate a story of their own. Official commemoration ceremonies would not take place until the formation of the Irish Free State several years later but, nonetheless, the first year mark did not go by unnoticed.
On 6 April 1917 the United States of America declared war on Imperial Germany. Up until this point the United States had maintained the government policy of neutrality. However, neutrality did not keep the war from pervading American lives. As we can see from the letters sent and received during this time neutral America was … Read more
In March 2017 you transcribed 203726 characters in total. In March 2017, we welcomed 16 new users, bringing the total number of registered users to 1842. Currently 3589 letters have been uploaded to the system, of which 3261 are available to view and transcribe online. You can explore the completed and fully transcribed letters in more detail here. THANK YOU All for … Read more
As it’s St Patrick’s Day, we went looking through the Letters of 1916 collection in search of letters written by people named Patrick or Patricia. We found only one Patricia in the whole collection: Patricia Lynch (1894-1972) was an Irish nationalist and supporter of the suffragette movement. While living in London she befriended Sylvia Pankhurst who reportedly sent … Read more
What were people saying when they put pen to paper to write letters on St Patrick’s day in 1916? A quick glance at the letters informs us that Alexander McDowell from the Ministry of Munitions wrote to E. A. Aston, inspector for the Local Government Board (LGB) in Dublin regarding female workers in the local linen industry. From … Read more
by Hannah Healy Beyond the fields of Flanders and France, the deserts of Egypt, and the skies of Britain there was another significant arena engaged in its own form of warfare during the battles of World War I. The struggle for possession of the seas comprised a significant element of the Great War, and the … Read more
The Letters of 1916 project was launched on 27 September 2013 at the Discover Research Dublin event and we’ve marked the project’s birthday ever since with an infographic to demonstrate how much the project has grown since 2013. (look back at 2014 & 2015) 2016 was a big year for the project given that it is … Read more
Nicole Lottig is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Gender Studies. She also studied at Maynooth University during the Spring of 2015, obtaining a Certificate in Irish Studies. During her last semester of college, she got involved in Digital Humanities and fell in love! She has continuously been working on a … Read more
While tensions on the island of Ireland were growing as internal disputes seemed to be reaching a climactic head, Sir Roger Casement (1864–1916) was busy in Germany, promoting Irish nationalism. Casement, a former advocate of imperialism, spent eighteen months in Germany in an attempt to secure support, arms and to induce captured Irish soldiers in … Read more