This exhibition has now closed
Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising
This exhibition has now closed
The National Museum of Ireland has a long tradition of exhibitions relating to Easter Week 1916. The Museum has put on show one of the largest displays of materials from this period in a new exhibition entitled Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising, opened on 3 March, 2016.
Many of the exhibited objects have never been on public display before while others, such as the Irish Republic flag which flew over the GPO, have been specially conserved. Through the combined effect of the objects, words and imagery of the period, visitors to the exhibition will be confronted with the physical reality of the events of Easter Week, following the stories of those caught up in the events of that momentous week - civilians, combatants and survivors alike.
The exhibition explores the background to the 1916 Rising. It introduces the visitor to the nuances of contemporary political events; 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.
The visitor will be presented with accounts of the individuals and the organisations which featured in the political arena of 1916, as it became increasingly militaristic in nature. However, Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising also 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.
The visitor will follow the rebels as they set up garrisons around the city and the limited action that took place outside Dublin. The events that took place as fighting erupted around the city will be told using personal belongings and memorabilia. The visitor will encounter objects such as the clothing worn by the rebels and the British Army as they moved through the 1916 battlefield; the watches used to time the rebel despatches; the bullets and bayonets that caused injury; smelling salts that revived the wounded and the first aid kits valiantly deployed 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.
Scenes of the surrender of the rebels amidst the destruction of the city centre and the subsequent introduction of martial law transport the visitor from the battlefield garrisons to the barracks and gaols in which rebels and suspected rebels were afterwards held. Here, within a sombre and respectful space, the last letters of those sentenced to death are displayed. Written in their own handwriting are the last thoughts, emotions and reflections of the leaders of Easter Week. Here, visitors can read these moving words, and also listen to dramatic modern-day readings.
The visitor will also explore the stories of those who were imprisoned and interned. The arts and crafts of the internment camps are displayed, alongside prison badges and caps, for the visitor to get as close as possible to the daily life of those living in the camps.
The exhibition also provides accounts of the families of the rebels as they deal with the aftermath of the Courts Martial, executions and imprisonments. Visitors will, for the first time, be able to access information on the Museum’s extensive Easter Week collections.
Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising is the latest manifestation of the National Museum of Ireland’s series of Easter Week exhibitions. 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. These select objects from the Easter Week collection offer visitors a rare opportunity to get closer to the reality that was the 1916 Rising.
Join the conversation using the following hashtags: #1916Rising and #NMIER1916
235 objects from this exhibition are available from our Historical Collections Online.
To make a virtual visit to this exhibition, just click on the 3D Showcase below. This take a short time to load and is best viewed at full screen.
This interactive presentation was created by Domavue and require up to date versions of Internet browsers (Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox).
Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising is located at:
Collins Barracks ,
Through the combined effect of the objects, words and imagery of the period, visitors to the exhibition will be confronted with the physical reality of the events of Easter Week, following the stories of those caught up in the events of that momentous week - civilians, combatants and survivors alike.
Decorative Arts & History
Collins Barracks ,
+353 1 677 7444