Press Releases

Press releases relating to the exhibition.

Taoiseach Opens National Museum of Ireland's New 1916 Commemorative Exhibition

8 May 2007

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.


National Museum of Ireland Acquires Original Copy of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence

7 March 2006

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, and the National Museum of Ireland announced the acquisition of an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence on 7 March 2006. The family of Mr Joseph McCrossan, who worked for many years as Librarian in The Oireachtas, donated this copy of the Proclamation.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister O'Donoghue said: "I am very pleased that the National Museum of Ireland has acquired this valuable document. It will help interpret, in a very real way, the new 1916 exhibition being built by the Museum."

“We are deeply honoured to be presented with this document, which represents one of the most important historical documents in modern Irish history,” Dr Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland stated. “We are extremely grateful to the McCrossan family for their co-operation in making this significant document available to the Museum and to the State”

Research has proven it difficult to state how many proclamations survived the Easter Rising but they are of great rarity. In recent years, some copies surfaced from private collections but were subsequently sold for large sums of money. This donated copy has been examined in great detail and there is no reason to doubt its authenticity. Michael Kenny, Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland, confirmed that “it is in good condition and comes with a good provenance…. the proclamation was picked up in O’Connell street in 1916 by Mary McCrossan, the paternal grandmother of the McCrossans, who hid the document in the lining of her hat to protect it”.

The acquisition of the proclamation was made possible under the provisions of Section 1003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. This legislation provides for tax relief in respect of the donation of important national heritage items to the national collections. The relief consists of a tax credit equal to the value of the heritage item donated, which can be credited against particular tax liabilities incurred by the donor.

This acquisition is especially welcome as the Proclamation is central to the 1916 commemorative exhibition, The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916, which opened in the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks in April 2006 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Located in a newly renovated exhibition space, Museum experts can ensure acceptable levels of light and humidity in order to display such documents safely.