'Dublin Remembers: Stories from the Somme'

'Dublin Remembers: Stories from the Somme' Exhibition Opens in Pearse Street Library and Archive

On Friday, 21st October 2016 at 1 p.m. the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr will launch the exhibition ‘Dublin Remembers: Stories from the Somme’ in Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street.

Among those attending the launch, and available for interview, are Declan Kettle, grand-nephew of Tom Kettle and Muriel Burke, age 90, whose father Richard Edward Burke of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme and was awarded a bravery certificate for his actions at Ginchy in September 1916.  Tom Burke, chairman of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association will also be in attendance at the launch.

Special guests at the launch will be a visiting youth drama group, from Newtownabbey Arts and Cultural Network, who will perform a short piece from their World War 1 film ‘The Rose and the Fusilier’.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin said “The 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme has been marked by a wide range of official and unofficial events throughout Ireland, demonstrating the increased awareness of the significance of the Somme to the people of the whole island of Ireland. I commend Dublin City Library and Archive for this thought-provoking exhibition which personalises the loss and hardship endured by Irish-men and their families”.

The Battle of the Somme was a key Allied offensive during World War I. It began on 1st July 1916 and when it ended 141 days later over one million men had been killed or injured. This included the loss of over 3,500 Irish born soldiers. The exhibition focuses on personal stories of individual Irish men who fought at the Somme between July and November 1916, mainly serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Some were killed, others injured, and even those who survived unscathed returned to an Ireland which was radically different following the Easter Rising in April 1916.

The exhibition includes photographs, medals, uniforms, documents and other original artefacts from that period. Audio recordings from selected letters and diaries detail first-hand accounts of life in the trenches of the Somme, whilst interview footage, courtesy of RTE Archives, provides further eye-witness accounts of the horrors and tragedy of this bloody conflict. The exhibition also considers what public reaction to the Battle of the Somme was like in Dublin in 1916, and how the Somme has been commemorated in Ireland over the past 100 years.

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Notes to the Editor:

The exhibition will be open to public access from Saturday 22 October – Friday 23 December from Mon-Thurs 10am-8pm, and Fri-Sat 10am-5pm.  Group tours of the exhibition, led by expert members of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, can be booked via www.stories-from-the-somme.eventbrite.ie

Richard Edward Burke (daughter Muriel attending the launch)

Richard Edward Burke from Dingle, County Kerry, had an excellent education and a good job in the National Bank, College Green when he applied to join the Army in 1914. Richard was in Dublin in during the Easter Rising, 1916, attached to the 3rd Royal Irish Regiment.

Later that year Richard was sent to the Western Front and at the age of 24 was awarded a bravery certificate for his actions at Ginchy. It was reported in the press at the time that ‘Capt. Burke distinguished himself on the 9th Sept. at Ginchy, being the only officer left out of his company’(14 Nov 1916). He later won a Military Cross in 1917 for continuing to lead his men despite being wounded in battle at Wijtschate.

After the war, Richard became a co-ordinator of the Soldiers and Sailors Land Trust which was set-up to provide housing for ex-servicemen. During the 1920s and 1930s the Trust provided over 4,000 houses throughout Ireland. The exhibition includes photographs and artefacts belong to Richard Burke.

The exhibition was developed by Dublin City Archives on behalf of Dublin City Public Libraries and Archives, and is funded by Dublin City Council Decade of Commemoration.

The Rose and Fusilier

The Dublin premiere of the film ‘The Rose and The Fusilier’ will take place on Saturday 22nd October at 12.00 pm in the Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar.

This free screening shows the tragic thread of warfare for one Dublin family, the Naylors, whose story unfolded in France and Ireland during Easter 1916.

Produced by NACN Theatre Company, a cross-community youth theatre group from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim and is supported by Dublin City Council’s Commemoration Programme: Is Cuimhin Linn 1916-2016. Admission is free and no booking is required, seats are on a first come, first served basis.

Battle of the Somme Seminar - 26th November, 2016

A seminar about the Battle of the Somme will be held as part of ‘Explore Your Archives’ Campaign 2016 between 2-4pm on 26th November, 2016 in the conference room of Dublin City Library and Archive. Full program available from  cityarchives@dublincity.ie #explorearchives.

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