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Dublin: 19 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020
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Want to see the real Rebellion? These photographs bring you to the heart of the Rising

It’s part of an exhibition by the National Library of Ireland.

NPA DEV19 Michael O'Hanrahan being escorted into his court-martial, Richmond Barracks, 3 May 1916. Source: National Library of Ireland

WITH MARTIAL LAW in place during the Easter Rising, taking photographs would have been enough to get you arrested.

It is with that in mind that a new photographic exhibition of the Rebellion running for most of this year should be celebrated.

‘Rising’ at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) on Kildare Street in Dublin features some of the most important moments of the Rising as well as an illustration of the destruction that followed.

“When we selected the content for the exhibition, we were keen to address certain questions,” explains curator Sara Smyth.

How did Dublin look during Easter Week 1916, as fighting raged and buildings fell? What kind of landscape, physical and political, was left after the surrender?

In total there are 60 images as part of the collection with a number of them in large scale as part of an attempt to convey the Rising’s impact on Dublin City Centre.

ALB196_27 Destruction on Dublin's Sackville St. (now O'Connell St.) following the Rising. Source: National Library of Ireland

Other photographs in the exhibition include members of the public discovering the Proclamation on Easter Monday and lines of Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army soldiers in the GPO.

KE_127 A crowd gathered at Westland Row to welcome internees recently released. Source: National Library of Ireland

The exhibition is part of NLI’s 1916 commemorations which also has 70,000 images available online.

An exhibition which focuses on the leaders themselves called ‘Signatories’ is also running parallel to the photographic archive and runs until the end of the year.

It’s also planned that the personal papers and photographs of the seven signatories of the proclamation will be put online.

NPA PROC Dr Edmund J. McWeeney inspecting a copy of the Proclamation on railings at 84 St. Stephen's Green on Easter Monday. Source: National Library of Ireland

The exhibition is augmented by other audio recordings from letters and diaries that detail first-hand accounts of the Rising.

NPA DUPR5 View of the General Post Office from above, showing the destruction to the building interior. Source: National Library of Ireland

The NLI’s ‘Rising’ exhibition is open seven days a week until 5pm and is free to enter. It runs until October.

Read: Was Rebellion right to say Pádraig Pearse ‘signed the death warrants’ of 1916’s leaders? >

Read: The national anthem sung in English? Rebellion’s writers were absolutely right about that >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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