New Blog Showcases First Hand Accounts of 1916 Rising

Posted on: 30 July 2015

Rare photographs documenting the havoc wreaked on Dublin city centre buildings in Easter 1916 and a first-hand account of a St John’s Ambulance stretcher bearer in Dublin Castle are among compelling stories recounted in a new blog, which aims to showcase the breadth of Trinity Library’s collections relating to the 1916 Rising and to act as a catalyst for research ahead of the centenary in April 2016.

A pivotal moment in modern Irish history, the 1916 Easter Rising transformed the political landscape paving the way for Irish independence, whilst also bequeathing a contentious legacy. The ‘Changed Utterly’ blog, inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem ‘Easter 1916’, will explore the Library’s rich and diverse collections of 1916-related material originating from before, during and after the Rising, from all sides of the political spectrum.

Troops in Front Square, Trinity College Dublin

The weekly blog will highlight one extraordinary item or collection each week, including diaries, letters, pamphlets, photographs, objects and even items of clothing. Each post is complemented with relevant images by Digital Resources and Imaging Service.

“The ‘Changed Utterly’ blog provides a free online platform to explore Trinity’s rich and diverse collections of 1916 material. So varied are the collections that it will take a year of weekly blog posts to cover even a portion of the holdings.  The site showcases as yet un-published records written by ordinary people, from dramatic ‘as-it-happened’ accounts to carefully amassed scrapbooks, and is especially rich in women’s voices,” explains Estelle Gittins, Assistant Librarian, Trinity College Dublin.

This week’s blog focuses on a collection of photographs which records the damage inflicted on the architectural fabric of central Dublin during the 1916 Rising.  The collection of 44 photographs were taken by antiquarian Thomas Johnson Westropp who had pioneered the use of photography as a method of recording ancient buildings and archaeological sites.  His photographs, taken in the days immediately following the Rising, document the havoc wreaked on iconic city centre buildings including the GPO, Liberty Hall, the Four Courts and Clery's.  They also beautifully communicate the changing nature of the urban landscape in the period following the Rising.

Scene from O'Connell Bridge

Past blog posts have included an analysis of letters written by Frederick Kidd to his sons serving in WWI giving a day-by-day account of the happenings in Dublin; the experience of Thomas Bodkin as a St Johns Ambulance stretcher bearer working out of Dublin Castle and the story of student Eileen Corrigan who was one of four female students to brave sniper bullets to make it into Trinity to sit Junior Sophister term examinations.

The blog, written by Library staff, with contributions from Trinity academics and other experts, will draw on the rich collections of 1916 material held in Trinity’s Manuscripts & Archives Research Library, the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections, the Glucksman Map Library and the Music Library.


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