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New website brings Ireland's military history to life

The website holds thousands of images and documents relating to the period 1913 – 1921, a pivotal time in Irish history.

One of the images from the site
One of the images from the site
Image: Militaryarchives.ie

A NEW WEBSITE dedicated to military history in Ireland from 1913 – 1921 has just gone live, shedding much light on Ireland’s military past.

The Bureau of Military History site was launched by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, at Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin this afternoon.

The project was undertaken by the Defence Forces Military Archives, in collaboration with the National Archives.

It was no small project, involving the digitisation of over 35,000 pages, 42 sets of photographs and 13 voice recordings from primary sources covering the revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921.

Significant contribution

Minister Deenihan TD said that the launch is the culmination of years of work by the Military and National Archives.

The records held within this collection cover almost the entire duration of the Decade of Commemorations, providing primary source material for the revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921.

He said that the website “will make a significant contribution to the goals of the Decade of Commemorations by encouraging scholarly and original research on the momentous events of this period in our history both nationally and internationally”.

In funding and developing this project, the State is paying tribute to the sacrifices of the past and celebrating the achievements of a revolutionary decade.

The Military Bureau’s official brief was ‘to assemble and co-ordinate material to form the basis for the compilation of the history of the movement for Independence from the formation of the Irish Volunteers on 25 November 1913, to 11 July 1921″.

Minister Deenihan said this goal was accomplished “with distinction”.

As the use of the internet at home continues to grow as the medium of choice for research, this project will bring these records to a whole new audience, and will greatly enhance understanding and appreciation of the sacrifice made during these formative years of our state

About the Bureau of Military History

The Bureau was held in the Department of An Taoiseach for some 45 years after the last statement was collected, but in 2001 it was decided to transfer the Bureau to Military Archives and prepare it for release into the public domain.

A team of archivists and support staff, under the direction of Commandant Victor Laing (former Officer in Charge of Military Archives) successfully prepared the collection for its launch in March 2003.

Along with the other major collection at Military Archives covering the revolutionary period from 1913, the Military Service Pensions Collection, the Bureau is among the most important primary sources of information on this period available anywhere in the world.

See http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/ for more.

Read: What was it like to take part in 1916 Rising or War of Independence?>

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