Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Remembering the Rising - Commemorations from 1966

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, led the commemoration and national remembering of the events of Easter 1916 this past weekend, the centenary of the Easter rising of 1916. As part of a national programme of events, commemorations included a military parade past the G.P.O. on Dublin's O'Connell Street on Easter Sunday to a nation-wide synchronised sequence of events that took place in Galway, Cork, Meath and Wexford on Easter Monday,

Across the weekend a diverse programme of cultural commemoration in the form of lectures, talks, concerts, exhibitions and re-enactments entertained and engaged the public. At the beginning of all these events was a laying of a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square by President Higgins.

The Garden of Remembrance was officially opened by then President of Ireland, Éamon De Valera, as part of the fiftieth anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Rising in 1966. As the events of 1916 are of such interest to study and understand, so too are the acts of commemoration and understanding how we remember these moments in Irish history at various times in the State's history. Within the archive of actor and revolutionary Arthur Shields at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, are original plans for the Garden of Remembrance. Arthur was an actor and stage manager at the Abbey Theatre and who was an active combatant in the Rising as it broke out just streets away from the Abbey Theatre. He was later arrested and interned at Frongoch Prison Camp in Wales.

In a further link between history and remembering, Shields has the unique distinction of being a rebel active in 1916, of playing the lead role of Jack Clitheroe in the 1926 original production of Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars" critiquing the Rising at the Abbey Theatre and also playing the role of Padraic Pearse in the 1936 film version of "The Plough and the Stars" directed by John Ford with a screenplay by Dudley Nicholas. The below images are all from the archive of Arthur Shields and offer a glimpse into commemorations of 1916 fifty years ago.

 Original plans for the Garden of Remembrance

 A book of commemorative stamps issued by An Post

 A book of commemorative stamps issued by An Post
A photograph of Arthur Shields (centre) as a fallen rebel from the 1926 production of "The Plough and the Stars at the Abbey Theatre 

Photograph of an Taoiseach of the time, Sean Lemass (also a rebel involved in 1916 as a 16-year old) with Christine Shields and Helena Moloney (bottom left) on the occasion of the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate members of the cast and staff of the theatre who participated in the 1916 Rising, 1966. Helena Molony was a central figure in events in 1916 and also afterwards as a leading feminist, trade unionist and socialist.

Donation of Ossian Editions to James Hardiman Library

The Ossian Online project recently donated three Macpherson editions to the Special Collections section of the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. The donation includes copies of the first and second editions of Fingal (both dated 1762) and a copy of Temora (1763), and represents the beginning of an initiative to acquire copies of the seven editions that were published under James Macpherson’s authority in the period 1760-73. This will provide a printed analogue of the editions that comprise the focus of Ossian Online and create a new collection unique in the libraries of Ireland.

           The edition of Temora donated to the James Hardiman library.
While part of the motivation for Ossian Online is to make facsimiles and accurate transcriptions of the full Ossian corpus available on the web, the project recognises that this is a representation of—not a substitute for—the original print editions. Just as the digital medium enables new orientations towards literary texts—such as the platforms for visualising genetic textual development and collaborative annotation being developed by Ossian Online—the printed book offers opportunities for scholarship that are unique to that medium. Individual copies bear marks of ownership and use—bookplates, signatures, marginalia—that allow scholars to investigate the social history and provenance of the work.
During the era of handpress printing, variations between individual copies within a single edition were common, and surveying multiple printed editions can unearth this evidence—and reveal the circumstances behind such phenomena—in a way that a representative digital facsimile cannot. Forthcoming posts on this blog will examine some bibliographical problems that arise from examining multiple printed copies of Ossian.

Ossian Online team (Justin Tonra, Rebecca Barr, David Kelly) peruse Temora.

Thus, we are delighted to see NUI Galway take the first steps towards acquiring a printed collection to complement the work of Ossian Online. These editions were acquired with the assistance of funding from the School of Humanities at NUI Galway and the Irish Research Council, and the project would like to acknowledge their generosity in helping to establish this important initiative. Thanks also to John Cox, Librarian, and Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian at the James Hardiman Library for their support in this endeavour.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Fairies, Rebels, Mothers: Lady Gregory and 1916" - Public lecture by Prof. Lucy McDiarmid

Professor Lucy McDiarmid
NUI Galway will host the 2016 Monsignor Pádraig De Brún Lecture entitled Fairies, Rebels, Mothers: Lady Gregory and 1916, to be given by Professor Lucy McDiarmid, Marie Frazee-Baldassarre Professor of English at Montclair State University in the US on Tuesday, 22 March.

The biennial public lecture is held in honour of Monsignor de Brún who served as University President from 1945 until 1959. The memorial lectures have been running since the 1960’s with Professor Stephen Hawking giving a lecture in 1994 on “Life in the Universe”. Professor McDiarmid’s lecture will focus on the career of Lady Gregory, whose writings and life are so closely connected with County Galway.

Professor Lucy McDiarmid is the author and editor of seven books, including At Home in the Revolution: what women said and did in 1916 and The Irish Art of Controversy. Her work on the cultural history of Irish modernism, published in her numerous books, essays and edited volumes, has led to a deeper understanding of one of Ireland's greatest literary periods.

Professor McDiarmid’s groundbreaking edition of Lady Gregory's selected writings (edited with Maureen Waters) did a great deal to draw critical attention to Lady Gregory’s work and Professor McDiarmid’s De Brún Lecture will focus on many aspects of Lady Gregory’s achievements. Professor McDiarmid will also discuss the formative moment of 1916 in this commemorative year, which relates to her recent publication, At Home in the Revolution: what women said and did in 1916.

The public lecture will be followed by a questions and answers session moderated by Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway.

The Monsignor De Brún Lecture will take place on Tuesday, 22 March at 7.30pm in the Aula Maxima (Lower).

To book a place at this free public lecture, please register at www.conference.ie. Advance booking is essential.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Can you give more information on this photograph from Gort?

We are looking for your help with this photograph. It is taken at a concert finale at Gort. It features, left to right standing, Joe O'Leary, Mylo Mullins, Paddy Donoghue, Kieran Collins, Paddy Burke, Micko Carr, PJ Hayes, Jack Shaughnessy. Sitting, Kit O'Connor, Joe Burke and [     ] Moloney. We have it dated to 1955-1956, but if anyone can help us with the exact location, date and event we will add that to the catalogue description.

For more on the Joe Burke collection, which features correspondence from the Leitrim Ceili Band, photographs and music from a wide range of traditional musicians, visit http://archives.library.nuigalway.ie/joeburke/ .

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The View from Nelson's Pillar - From the Archives

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Nelson's Pillar on Dublin's O'Connell Street in 1966. Despite the historic and often controversial opinion in which the statue was held, the end and fate of Nelson and his pillar could, perhaps, not have been predicted or foreseen. On this anniversary, it is timely to look back into the archives of this period and see just how this statue dominated the streetscape and skyline of Dublin's O'Connell Street. By virtue of its location the pillar was a witness   to some of the most significant events in Irish history, as well as to the development of the main thoroughfare of Ireland's capital city.

These images are from the Ritchie-Pickow archive within the Hardiman Library of NUI Galway. Taken by American photographer George Pickow when he and his wife, the famous American folk-singer, Jean Ritchie, came to Ireland in 1952-53. Jean received a full-bright scholarship to come to Ireland and immerse herself in the folk song tradition and culture of Ireland and collected songs from many leading Irish singers and musicians, especially in the west of Ireland. The couple also travelled through Dublin and took many incredible images of a Dublin that is long removed from our own recognition. George was able to take photographs from atop of Nelson's Pillar and this offers a viewpoint through Pickow's own lens but also of a vantage point of Dublin city that disappeared as quickly as the pillar itself.

Other images are also available images from the Ritchie-Pickow archive at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway.