Monday, January 18, 2016

1916 from the Archives - New Publications and Events

It has been a busy time of late with so many archive collections of the Hardiman Library pertaining to Ireland’s revolutionary period. It will come as no surprise, being the year that it is, that material relating to 1916 has been so prominent in new publications and TV programmes of late.

Arthur Shields
Tonight (Monday 18th January) a new documentary series will air on RTÉ One, 7.30pm, Ar Son na Poblachta. The first episode of the series focuses on the life and career of actor and revolutionary, Arthur Shields. An actor and stage manager at the Abbey Theatre and as a 17 year-old was caught up in the fervour of the Rising as it broke out around the corner from the Abbey Theatre, on O’Connell Street. The Hardiman Library holds the Shields Family Archive, comprising records relating to Arthur Shields and his brother William, more commonly known by his acting-name of Barry FitzGerald. The archive is a fascinating visual and written account of Arthur’s role in the Easter Rising, his Abbey Theatre career as well as the part he and his brother Barry played in the Irish invasion of Hollywood in the 1930s, becoming two of the major screen-stars of a golden age for Hollywood. (For more on this see Hollywood Irish by Professor Adrian Frazier)

An online exhibition of images from the Arthur Shields Archive and a link to its catalogue can be seen here.

A new book by Dr. Fearghal McGarry, Abbey Rebels: A Revolution, Lost, was recently published and is a history of the varied and prominent roles played by Abbey Theatre personnel in the Easter Rising. The book features a chapter dedicated to Arthur Shields and exclusively reproduces high-resolution copies of many items from the Shields Archive of the Hardiman Library. You can read more about the book in its latest review.

NUI Galway, in partnership with the Abbey Theatre has also made digitally available and fully transcribed, the minute books of the Board of the Abbey Theatre, 1904 - 1939, incorporating not just the Revolutionary period and the emergence of the Free State, but also spanning a major portion of the lifetime of poet and senator, W.B. Yeats, one of the co-founders of the Abbey Theatre.

Throughout 1916 a series of major events will take place on campus at NUI Galway. A recent publication by NUIG 1916-Scholar-in Residence, Dr. Conor McNamara, is The Easter Rebellion 1916: A New Illustrated History. The book was singled out in the Irish Times as being one of the major publications of this time that revisits the complex history of 1916. The book offers a visual insight into the events and aftermath of the Rising and you can see a selection of those images reproduced by The Irish Times.

On 22-23 January a major conference, Proclaiming the Revolution will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Featuring leading scholars and researchers from NUI Galway, nationally around Ireland and also international speakers, the conference will provide a rich and varied platform for debating one of the key facets of the 1916 Rising, its Proclamation. The conference is free but booking essential. Details and speakers are available here:

A major new exhibition focusing on the events of 1916 will also open in February 2016 at the Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. For a full programme of events for the NUI Galway 1916 programme, see A Nation Rising.

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