Clongowes window, 1916; watercolour and ink design by Michael Healy
It was an honor to be invited to take part in this years commemoration of the Easter Rising in Dublin City on Easter Monday, alongside the Digital Repository of Ireland and RTE’s Reflecting the Rising series. Showcasing ‘ Michael Healy’s 1916 Diary: A Centenary Debut‘ on behalf of The National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL), the presentation aimed to inform people about the diary of one of Ireland’s renowned stained glass artists, Michael Healy. In his diary, Healy documents a very real and personal account of his experience during this historic period, and ultimately the challenges he faced working as an artist in Dublin City during the Easter Rising. The event which was held at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) was extremely well received and the discourse on each talk, informative and intriguing. A proud and emotional weekend in Dublin’s fair city.
As part of ‘Reflecting the Rising’, the Digital Repository of Ireland invited members of the public to enjoy ‘pop-up’ talks and interactive site presentations of Inspiring Ireland, the multiple award-winning project by DRI at the Royal Irish Academy. It brought together fascinating objects – photos, diaries, medals, ephemera, and more – that first came to public attention at last year’s ‘Road to the Rising’ event in the GPO. They are now displayed and openly available within Inspiring Ireland 1916, a series of curated exhibitions that combine public memorabilia alongside ‘iconic’ objects from national cultural collections and RTÉ Archives.
The talks and site demonstrations by digital cultural heritage experts and historians aimed to help visitors learn more about the public and private stories of 1916 in Inspiring Ireland, stories that paint a picture of everyday lives during this important year in Ireland’s history. Pop-up speakers on the day included Teresa Breathnach, Natalie Harrower, Brian Hughes, Timothy G. McMahon and Pádraig Yeats. DRI is Ireland’s national trusted digital repository for humanities and social sciences data. This means that digitised 1916 content is preserved for long-term access and discovery, and will continue to be available to a worldwide audience for the next 100 years and beyond.