Dublin Remembers 1916

2016, the Centenary Year - A Look Back

BannerWhat a memorable year it has been! It being the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Dublin City Council has been proud to support and enable the Ireland 2016 state programme of formal commemorative events that took place in Dublin during this past year. The "Dublin Remembers 1916-2016: Is Cuimhin Linn programme" programme presented a series of lectures, talks by expert historians, exhibitions and conferences in Dublin libraries, City Hall, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and other venues in the city throughout the year.

Remembering our history

Chambers AwardAt the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards last night Dublin City Council won the “Commemorations and Centenaries 2016” award for its Dublin Remembers 1916-2016: Is Cuimhin Linn programme. Dublin City Public Libraries staff were delighted to accept the reward on behalf of all sections and colleagues in Dublin City Council who made the centenary year of the 1916 Rising in the capital such a memorable one. Within Dublin City Council the Commemorations Committee, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, the Arts Office, Richmond Barracks, Events, Planning, the Heritage Office, City Hall, Community and Social Development, Environment and Transport, Parks, Dublin Fire Brigade all contributed to this extraordinary and award-winning project.

1916: How will you remember?

Banners"Dublin Remembers 1916" has been an extensive series of lectures, talks by expert historians, exhibitions and conferences in Dublin libraries, City Hall, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and other venues in the city throughout 2016.

A range of history-based activities and initiatives were delivered, designed to deepen and broaden our understanding of the events of 1916 and that pivotal period in our history.

There were a number of formal commemorative events, focused on remembering and honouring those who took part in the Easter Rising, and especially those who gave their lives.

1916: How will you remember? from Dublin City Public Libraries on Vimeo.

Dublin Time

Time Ireland ActOn 1 October 1916, just five months after the Rising, Ireland relinquished its individual time zone and adopted Greenwich Mean Time. With the introduction of daylight saving and the end of summertime that year Dublin’s time was aligned to that of London.

Right: Time (Ireland) Act 1916 (click to view larger image)

For 36 years Ireland’s time was set on the longitude of Dunsink Observatory, and was 25 minutes 21 seconds later than Greenwich. This had implications for trade and commerce, as well as communications and travel. Up to the late 19th century time was not standardised and each area set its own clocks. The Time Act of 1880 established Greenwich Mean Time for Great Britain and Dublin Mean Time for Ireland.

Remembering 1916 - Easter Weekend, a Look Back

SmithfieldThousands took to the streets on a glorious Easter Monday in March to remember the 1916 Rising. Dublin City Council was in Smithfield Square with library staff and the Dublin Fire Brigade. We unveiled the Learning Bus with its retro-fit Edwardian parlour, author Lia Mills was on hand to promote “Fallen” the One City One Book choice for 2016 and we were serenaded by the Drum and Pipe band from the Dublin Fire Brigade. Re-enactors from both sides, 1916 Rising rebels and First World War troops, joined us to talk to people about their uniforms and kit.

Watch the wonderful video below. And look out for one of the library staff acting the part of a newsboy!

The Kevin Street Librarian and the Rising

James O'ByrneFormally named as Byrne (the family later changed their surname to O'Byrne, a practice not uncommon at that time), James O'Byrne was from Lower Mayor Street in Dublin's North Wall area.

Young James was recruited to the city libraries as a 'boy' library assistant in 1913 and from that time was assigned to the Charleville Mall, North Strand library.  He was 20 years old by Easter Week 1916.

Image: James O’Byrne, AKA James Byrne (1896 to 1947)

As he didn’t provide a witness statement to the Bureau of Military History owing to his untimely death in 1947, details of O'Byrne's Easter week activities are sparse. He was attached to the second Battalion, 'F' Company of the Irish Volunteers Dublin Brigade, a small company which was under the command of Captain Frank Henderson and 1st Lieutenant Oscar Traynor.  O’Byrne attended Fr Matthew Park in Fairview on Thursday evenings for drilling and on Sundays for rifle practice.  In Easter week, he was engaged in combat across a number of sites - at Fairview, the Metropole Hotel, Eason's, the GPO, Moore Street and Henry Place. After the surrender, he was arrested and interned first in Knutsford and later Frongoch Prison from where he was released in July 1916.

1916 Diaries

Fitzpatrick diary pg1During the Easter Rising of 1916 many Dublin residents, caught in the middle of the fighting, recorded their experiences in diaries and journals. Herbert Victor Fleming and Nora Marion Fitzpatrick were among those to do so. Fleming, a store manager, and Fitzpatrick, a V.A.D. nurse, were both loyal to England and regarded the Sinn Féin Rebels as traitors and the enemy. Their vivid descriptions of destruction and survival remain captured in their diaries for generations to come.

Image: Page 1 of Nora Marion Fitzpatrick's 1916 Diary

Herbert Fleming’s Diary excerpt:
"All the roads covered with dead and dying horses and wounded people... I then tried to get home but cannot. The bridges into the city held by Rebels."

The Clontarf Town Hall Caretaker and the Rising

Michael McGinnA native of Omagh, Co. Tyrone, ‘Mick’ McGinn was an ‘old’ Fenian who had been a Tyrone IRB leader since the 1870s and had spent a lot of his life in British jails.  McGinn was a close personal friend of Thomas Clarke, who was seven years his junior.  Indeed, Clarke had joined the Tyrone IRB in 1878 at the request of both leading Fenian John Daly and Michael McGinn. By the late 1890s McGinn was the Fenian Head Centre for Co. Tyrone, based at Dergmoney House in Omagh. 

Image: Michael McGinn 1851-1916, from a photograph of the O'Donovan Rossa Funeral Committee 1915.

Remembering and reinventing the Rising

1916 Commemorations in 1966Listen to historian Donal Fallon discuss the history of commemorating the 1916 Rising, while looking at events such as the first anniversary in 1917, the often-violent Easter parades of 1930s Dublin and the fiftieth anniversary in 1966.

Recorded on Thursday 23 June 2016 at 6.30pm in Dublin City Library and Archive as part of the Dublin City Council 1916/2016 Centenary Programme.

Image: BOR F11/10 Poster for 1916 Commemorative Stand at R.D.S. Spring Show, 1966. Birth of the Republic Collection, Dublin City Library & Archive. (click image to enlarge)

Remembering and reinventing the Rising transcript

James Thomas Dowling: Dublin’s County Librarian and the Rising

James Thomas DowlingA native of Dublin’s north inner city, ‘Tom’ Dowling was recruited in 1915, aged sixteen, to the Dublin Corporation Libraries as a junior library assistant, having achieved second place in the Libraries examination.  His first assignment was to Capel Street library under Tommy Gay, who by that time was Capel Street Head Librarian. Dowling later transferred to the Dublin county libraries and by 1931 had progressed to the top post of Chief Librarian for Dublin County, a role in which he served with distinction until his death in office in 1966.

Image: James Thomas Dowling (1899 to 1966)

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