Taoiseach Opens National Museum of Ireland's New 1916 Commemorative Exhibition
The Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, TD officially opened the new commemorative 1916 exhibition The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916 in the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History in Collins Barracks on Sunday, 9 April at 11.30am.
This exhibition examines the decade of disturbance between 1913 and 1923, from the Dublin Lockout, through the Easter Rising to the end of the Civil War. 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 Independence, which was donated only last month to the Museum, occupies a central position in the exhibition. 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 to commemorate those who had died in the struggle for independence.
This exhibition also examines the change in public opinion to one of support for the Rising, triggered by the execution of sixteen of the leaders. 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 on display. The War of Independence (1919 - 1921), culminating in the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and the Civil War (1922 - 1923), are also examined.
The Taoiseach said "The Director of the Museum, Pat Wallace and the curators of this exhibition, Michael Kenny and Sandra McElroy, have put together a fascinating montage of life before, during and after the Rising. The Museum is fulfilling its very important public role in recalling and explaining the birth of our independent nation. I want to congratulate the National Museum of Ireland on the excellence of this exhibition and encourage people to come and see the many splendid historical items on display"
The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916 is the first exhibition to be located in a newly renovated wing in Collins Barracks. Later the same year, the Museum's military collection was put on display in the new military history exhibition, Soldiers & Chiefs, the Irish at War at home & abroad from 1550.