Featured Transcriber: Clara McDonald

Born and raised in the sunny south east of Ireland (it’s more like the mildly warm south east, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it), Clara is a twenty-five-year-old full time administrator and part time Early Childhood Education student. Aside from working and studying she can also be found performing with Wexford … Read more

Progress Update: July 2017

In July 2017 you transcribed 101324 characters in total. In July 2017, we welcomed 11 new users, bringing the total number of registered users to 1899. Currently 4148 letters have been uploaded to the system, of which 3449 are available to view and transcribe online. You can explore the completed and fully transcribed letters in more detail here. THANK … Read more

Progress Update: June 2017

In June 2017 you transcribed 102310 characters in total. In June 2017, we welcomed 11 new users, bringing the total number of registered users to 1899. Currently 3943 letters have been uploaded to the system, of which 3420 are available to view and transcribe online. You can explore the completed and fully transcribed letters in … Read more

Progress update: May 2017

In May 2017 you transcribed 56618 characters in total. In May 2017, we welcomed 27 new users, bringing the total number of registered users to 1888. Currently 3593 letters have been uploaded to the system, of which 3293 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

We are hiring: join our team!

Letters 1916-23 is delighted to announce three job openings: two postdocs and one research assistant. This is a unique opportunity to join a vibrant public engagement project as we enter a new phase of research. 

Funding from the Irish Research Council is allowing the project to expand its scope through 1923, covering the Anglo-Irish War, Irish independence, and the Irish Civil War. It is also funding the construction of a new technical framework, from ingestion of new letters to publication to new modalities of text analysis and visualisation. 

 

Be part of one of the most successful crowdsourcing projects in the digital humanities. Further details are available here: 

https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/human-resources/vacancies

 

For an informal conversation please contact:

susan.schreibman@nuim.ie


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Letters of 1916 Workflow 4: transcribing a letter

This is a repost from the #Letters1916 tumblr for #DayofPH 2017. Sara Kerr describes the next stage of our workflow, transcribing a letter. After the imaging of a letter has taken place, the letter is uploaded to the Letters of 1916 website transcription desk. During the upload process a form is completed providing a range of details … Read more

Letters of 1916 Workflow 3: adding a letter

This is a repost from the #Letters1916 tumblr for #DayofPH 2017. Hannah Healy describes the next stage of our workflow, adding a letter to Letters of 1916. A large part of what I do on the letters project revolves around the uploading of new letters. For this process I use a set uploading template (provided on the … Read more

Letters of 1916 Workflow 2: Image editing

This is a repost from the #Letters1916 tumblr for #DayofPH 2017. Neale Rooney describes the next stage of our workflow, image editing. The second part of our workflow picks up where Karolina finished; the documents have been photographed to a very high quality and now we need to condense them for the web and crop them to size. … Read more

Letters of 1916 Workflow 1: Imaging

This is a repost from the #Letters1916 tumblr for #DayofPH 2017. Karolina Badzmierowska describes the first stage of our workflow, imaging. One of our contributors, Mary Harris, came along to our SFI Community Engagement event in Galway in November 2015 and brought a number of her family letters for digitisation. One of the letters, from Thomas … Read more

Remembering the Easter Rising: 1917

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.

Collection of 1916 Rebellion Postcards
Collection of 1916 Rebellion Postcards

The collecting of memorabilia associated with the Easter Rising begins in the shadow of its aftermath. The production of commemorative  souvenirs begins even before the executions of the Rising leaders have been completed. On the 11 May 1916 British soldier Tom Dolan sends two postcards exhibiting the damage caused to Dublin by the Easter Rising. To his sister he sends an image of a shelled Liberty Hall and asks for her opinion on the card itself.[1] For his father, he sends an image of the ravished General Post Office on Sackville Street.[2] Before long, there was an entire range of Easter Rising postcards being produced.[3]

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?”.[4] 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”.[5] 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.

Letter from A. Guinell to Mary Ellen O'Rahilly, 9 June 1916.
Letter from A. Guinell to Mary Ellen O’Rahilly, 9 June 1916.

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.[6] 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.[7]

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”.[8] 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.[9] 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”.[10] 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”.[11] 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.”[12]

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.

 

References:

[1] Postcard from Tom Dolan to Dolly Dolan, 11 May 1916. http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/explore/letters/957.

[2] Postcard from Tom Dolan to his father, 11 May 1916. http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/explore/letters/958.

[3] Collection of 1916 Rebellion Postcards. http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/explore/letters/458.

[4] Letter from John P. Boland to Inspector General R.I.C., 11 July 1916. http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/diyhistory/items/show/1957.

[5] Letter from Inspector General R.I.C. to John P. Boland, 21 July 1916. http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/diyhistory/items/show/1956.

[6]Letter from A. Guinell to Mary Ellen O’Rahilly, 9 June 1916. http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/explore/letters/1233.

[7] Easter Rising 1916 artefacts go for auction at Whytes”, Irish Times, 4 November 2014. http://www.irishtimes.com/easter-rising-1916-artefacts-go-for-auction-at-whytes-1.1987576.

[8] Paul Galligan to Monsignor Eugene Galligan, 4 May 1917. http://www.theirishstory.com/2016/01/29/commemorating-the-easter-rising-part-i-1917-1934/#_ftn1.

[9] Helena Molony Witness Statement, BMH,  p.42.  http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS0391.pdf#page=1.

[10] “A Dublin Anniversary”, The Irish Times, 10 April 1917.

[11] Jerome Buckley Witness Statement, BMH, p.3.  http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1063.pdf#page=1.

[12]Henry O’Keefe, Witness Statement, BMH, p. 2.http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1315.pdf#page=2.