Easter Rising: Understanding 1916 at the National Museum of Ireland in the Collins Barracks

IMG_0936After a really interesting morning at the Dáil Éireann, we head out to see a powerful and somber exhibit at The National Museum of Ireland in the Collins Barracks, The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916. The exhibit examines the decade of disturbance between 1913 and 1923 – from the Dublin Lockout through the Easter Rising to the end of the Civil War.

It is drizzly and a bit chilly, but everyone has umbrellas, hats or hoodies, and we make our way to the gray Quays to catch the bus that will take us to the Museum.

From the museum website –

“The social, economic and cultural background to the Rising is explored, concentrating on the political dimension and the personalities involved. The exhibition describes the main events of Easter Week, outlining the locations of the garrisons and incorporating biographical details of the leaders.

An original copy of the Proclamation of the Republic, as read by Pádraig Pearse outside the General Post Office on Easter Monday, occupies a central position in the exhibition.

The change in public opinion to one of support for the Rising, triggered by the execution of 16 of the leaders, is examined. In the immediate aftermath of the Rising, thousands of insurgents were interned in various prisons, and examples of the nationalistic artworks produced by these prisoners are exhibited. The War of Independence (1919 – 1921), culminating in the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and the Civil War (1922 – 1923) are also examined.

There is also a unique opportunity to view the beautifully illuminated manuscript Leabhar na hAiséirghe (Book of the Resurrection), created by the artist-scribe Art O’Murnaghan between 1922 and 1951 to commemorate those who had died in the struggle.”

IMG_0955The four main areas of the exhibit – the background, the battle, the aftermath, and commemoration – help to contextualize the profound influence that The Easter Rising of 1916 and the War of Independence that followed in 1919 – 1921 had on shaping modern Ireland.

The commissioned illuminated vellum book, Leabhar na hAiséirghe by Art O’Murnaghan, especially resonates – it is inspired by ancient Irish manuscripts, oriental art and the artist’s own sense of mysticism.

I was touched by the students’ reaction to this exhibit and how carefully and thoroughly they are regarding this history and its presentation. I am moved by their interesting and personally crafted blog posts and the depth of their research and reflections. Take a look at their blogs, and send along comments and questions!




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