A new exhibition in Dublin highlights the key events and locations of 1916 as caught on camera.
By Conall Ó Fátharta, Irish Examiner
The National Library of Ireland (NLI)’s National Photographic Archive exhibition Rising draws on some of the most important collections of photographs at the National Library.
It includes images from the Keogh Collection, the Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Collection, and newly-digitised photographs from the de Valera Collection,as well as various 1916 albums. It consists of 60 photographs, including large-scale images emphasising the Rising’s impact on Dublin city centre. The images are enhanced by audio recordings from selected letters and diaries detailing first-hand accounts of the Rising.
The audio pieces feature actors reading witness accounts of the Rising from people of different backgrounds. These include the account of Dick Humphreys, an Irish Volunteer, who describes a scene in the GPO and the fires on Sackville St following the bombardment of the area. Humphreys was a nephew of The O’Rahilly and fought in the GPO. He was interned in Wakefield Gaol following the Rising.
In addition to showing the physical damage to the city centre, the exhibition features photographs relating to the arrests, courts martials and internments following the Rising, and the subsequent amnesty for prisoners, as the British government saw the tide turning for those involved in the insurrection.
Exhibition curator Sara Smyth from the NLI said the photographs paint a vivid picture of the events and locations of 1916 and bring visitors into the world of those who experienced the Rising first hand.
“When we selected the content for the exhibition, we were keen to address certain questions: How did Dublin look during Easter Week 1916, as fighting raged and buildings fell? What kind of landscape, physical and political, was left after the surrender?
“There are a number of unusual images on display. They include a photograph of Dr Edmund J McWeeney, a member of the public who, like many Dubliners, discovered the Proclamation posted all over the city on Easter Monday.
“There is also a photograph of a small group of Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army [soldiers] in the GPO during the Rising,” said Ms Smyth.