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1st March 2016

Photocall/Press Notice/Media Event Only

Official Exhibition Launch

Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., will attend the launch of Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising, a highlight of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, which is the latest in the National Museum of Ireland’s series of Easter Week exhibitions, the first of which was mounted in 1932. It serves to reflect on 100 years of collecting, commemorating and celebrating the physical objects that offer our last tangible links to the men, women and children of 1916. 

Admission to the exhibition is free

What: Official Exhibition Launch: Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising which includes objects never seen on public display before.

When: Wednesday 2nd March 2016

Where: The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7

Time: 12.00

Who:     An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D.

Raghnall Ó Floinn – Director, National Museum of Ireland

Dr Audrey Whitty– Keeper, Art & Industrial Division, National Museum of Ireland

Sandra HeiseExhibition Curator and Easter Week Specialist, National Museum of Ireland

Lorraine Comer Head of Education, National Museum of Ireland

Exhibition Curatorial Team and Conservation Team, National Museum of Ireland

Photo opportunity: This is a unique opportunity to see at close quarters the objects before the exhibition opens to the public. A selection of objects from the Easter Week collection will be available to photograph. These include:

Thomas Clarke’s razor

·         Thomas Clarke joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, aged 20, and soon rose through its ranks. He was imprisoned in Britain for his part in the bombing campaign of 1881-85. He was given this razor when released from Portland Prison in 1898, and used it every day until Easter Monday, 1916.

Patrick Pearse’s spectacles. Name inscribed in Pearse’s hand on inner lid of spectacles case by Yeates and Son, Dublin.

·         Core to the exhibition is the presentation to the public of personal items which bring the visitor as close as possible to the daily reality of the lives of the key players of 1916.  Pearse is well known for his works with the Gaelic League and his stories and poems in Irish and English.  Prior to joining the I.R.B in 1913 he was a barrister and educator. His spectacles, donated to the National Museum of Ireland in 1996, are a tangible reminder of Pearse as poet, orator and teacher.    


HE:EW.317 (loan) Photograph of Pádraig Pearse in his barrister's robes c. 1914 holding spectacles in his right hand.

Home-made bayonet

·         Made with the blades of garden shears or clippers, such makeshift weapons indicate the scarcity of conventional weapons among the rebels.

Background Information:

The exhibition Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising at the National Museum of Ireland includes many objects never seen on public exhibition before. In this exhibition the visitor will experience the poignant stories of the civilians, combatants and survivors whose lives were intertwined with the fighting that took place in and around the rebel garrisons.

Explore the background to the 1916 Rising, the rise of the Catholic élite; the push for Home Rule

along with the counter-moves of unionism; the increasing ‘Irish-Ireland’ aspects of the arts and

cultural movements of the period and the growth of republican nationalism. Read accounts of the individuals and the organisations that featured in the political arena of 1916. This exhibition offers visitors the unique experience of physical proximity to the people and events of Easter Week through the everyday, intimate and personal belongings of the participants.

Follow the rebels as they set up garrisons around the city. Encounter objects such as the clothing worn by the rebels and the British Army as they moved through the 1916 battlefield; the watch used by Countess Markievicz to time the rebel despatches; the bullets and bayonets that caused injury; the smelling salts that revived the wounded and the first aid kits pressed into service to ease the plight of the injured and the dying. Alongside the rebels, the personal stories of the civilians caught in the crossfire are represented with poignant and moving artefacts such as a crucifix perforated by a stray bullet.

Explore the stories of those who died or were imprisoned and interned. Get as close as possible

to the daily life of those living in the camps. Read accounts of the families of the rebels as they deal with the aftermath - the Courts Martials, the executions and the imprisonments and explore the Museum’s database of its Easter Week collections, which will be available to the public in late April 2016.

Opens to the public on Thursday 3rd March 2016 Free Admission.

Join the conversation #NMIER1916   #1916Rising

The Museum’s 1916 Public Engagement Programme will take place at the Museum’s four sites throughout 2016. The programme is aimed at a wide range of audiences.

The programme will invite people to reflect on, explore and challenge the narratives of 1916 and to interrogate, 100 years on, these extraordinary events in terms of their legacy for and significance to contemporary Ireland. 

As part of the Museum’s Public Engagement Programme, novelist, playwright and poet, Dermot Bolger, will be Writer in Residence at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History between March and August 2016.


The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, led by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, T.D., is a year-long programme of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future.  Full details of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme is available at  @ireland2016 #ireland2016  


Photos from the photocall will be available from: Paul Sherwood

Proclaiming A Republic Image Press Pack:

All Images are Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland 

Proclaiming A Republic: The 1916 Rising Artifacts:

Proclamation of the Irish Republic - Courtesy National Museum of Ireland

A copy of the 1916 Proclamation, with the signatures of the printers Michael J. Molloy, Liam Ó Briain and Christopher Brady. This copy was owned by Kathleen Lynn, and on the back are the names of eleven of the women imprisoned in Mountjoy Gaol after the Rising, signed 19th May 1916. 

Museum Closure Notice - Courtesy National Museum of Ireland

Pocket First Aid Kit - Courtesy National Museum of Ireland

A First Aid outfit 1916. Taken with other things by Mrs. Liam O'Gorman (then Miss Christina Hayes) when mobilised on Easter Monday, where she was put in charge of the Father Matthew Hall First Aid Station by the late Commandant Ned Daly. About 32 men were attended at this station. Pocket First Aid, Fastnet brand. With contents including the remains of rolls of gauze bandages and a tube of ointment, a safety pin. 

Bicycle ridden by Terence Simpson Easter Monday 1916 - Courtesy National Museum of Ireland

Bicycle which was ridden by Terence Simpson from Drumcondra to St. Stephen's Green and thence to Jacob's Factory on Easter Monday, 1916, when joining his unit in the rebellion. It was confiscated on the surrender and returned to him by the British military authorities at King George V Hospital in 1917.

Home-made Bomb - Courtesy National Museum of Ireland

Home-made bomb, of the type used in the 1916 period. Bourneville chocolate tin (marked on bottom) filled with iron shrapnel fragments, which would also have contained a black gunpowder. Top burst due to mis-firing.

Bottle of smelling salts used by Eilís O'Connell - Courtesy National Museum of Ireland

Bottle of smelling salts used by Eilís O'Connell (Mrs), as a member of Cumann na mBan. Green bottle, large spherical stopper (wedged in neck), still containing liquid. Contained in an Edison cylinder record box. O'Connell served at Fr. Mathew Hall, Church Street, during Easter Week, 1916

National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History - Exterior:

National Museum of Ireland Logos:

National Museum of Ireland Fliers:

Proclaiming A Republic- The 1916 Rising Brochures:

For higher resolution images and further information please contact


Maureen Gaule, Marketing Executive, Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

T: 01 648 6429 | M: 087 9031690| E:

Ann Daly, Head of Marketing, Marketing Department, Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

T: 01 648 6457 M: 087 236 8067| E: