The World War 1 Roadshow was hosted by Trinity College Dublin in partnership with RTÉ Radio 1 and the National Library of Ireland, on Saturday July 12th where Ireland’s part in the war was explored with a series of events that took place throughout the Trinity campus. Thousands of people attended with all events packed to capacity. (For all details of the programme click on: http://www.rte.ie/worldwar1 or www.tcd.ie/decade-commemoration/events/world-war-one-roadshow/)
One of its main events, the Family History Collections Day of World War 1 memorabilia invited members of the public to bring in family items, letters and mementos related to the war for digitisation and archiving by a team of experts. The World War 1 Roadshow also featured a series of pop up talks and lectures on the Great War, and Trinity College Dublin’s own unique history during this period. There were a range of other activities including history tours of the campus related to the Great War and the ‘Last Cricket Match of Peace’. The day concluded with the final Bugle call of the ‘Last Post’ which was played by Bandsmen of the Army School of Music in Trinity College Chapel and at which Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast and Director General of RTÉ, Noel Curran presided.
Commenting on its significance for Trinity, Professor James Wickham said:
“The World War One Roadshow forms part of Trinity College Dublin’s engagement with the Decade of Commemorations. With its programme of talks and lectures it showcased research being conducted in Ireland on this period; it also remembered over 450 Trinity College graduates who died in the Great War. It was an informative and thought provoking day concerning Ireland’s part in World War One and we hope people came away from it with a greater understanding of Ireland’s role in what was one of the bloodiest conflicts of our time.”
As part of the Family History Collections Day of World War 1 people from all over Ireland were invited to bring their precious items and memories related to World War One to be catalogued, digitised, and uploaded to an online European archive. This archive is being developed by Europeana (Europe’s digital library, museum and archive), in conjunction with Oxford University and with national partners across Europe, such as the National Library of Ireland, in time for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in 1914. It will be the first ever online European archive of private stories and documents from World War 1. Experts from the National Library of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin evaluated and digitised the memorabilia presented on the day for the purpose of the archive.
Katherine McSharry, Head of Services with the National Library of Ireland, said:
“The huge interest in the forthcoming 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War One reminds us how important it is to ensure physical memorabilia of key historical events, brought to life with people’s stories and memories, that can be recorded for posterity. The National Library of Ireland managed a team of cataloguers from TCD and NUIG, supported by NLI staff, for the World War One Roadshow, who recorded and digitised the stories and items brought in by members of the public. We have been involved in similar events in the past, which have generated huge levels of interest. We know the Irish public has a wealth of items and stories to share in relation to World War 1, and we discovered more fascinating material during this event.”
RTÉ Radio 1 was delighted to partner with The National Library of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin for this day of events. The Public Theatre had soundproof booths where RTÉ Radio 1 recorded family testimonies for broadcast in August. Pop up talks took place every 15 minutes throughout the day in the Trinity Long Room Hub, Fellows’ Square covering different aspects of WW1. Over in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Arts Building there was a special recording of Sunday Miscellany with new writing about WW1 for broadcast on Sunday 3rd August at 9am. ‘Echoes From the Front’ was a sequence of performed readings with musical interludes, charting various scenarios from WW1 that took place in the Trinity College Chapel. Four actors read from accounts, diary entries and love letters capturing a glimpse of the human side of battle as part of this unique event.
Lorelei Harris, RTÉ Radio 1 Editor of Arts, Factual & Drama said:
“RTÉ was honoured to be involved in this major cultural partnership which aimed to bring World War 1 to the position of centrality in the Irish public imagination it so rightly merits. We were proud to present a range of talks, live programming, drama and literature in the beautiful setting of Trinity College Dublin, so closely associated with the huge loss of young Irish life that took place during the Great War.”