Exploring 1916: Resource List

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Resource List for 1916 in Dublin City Library and Archive


The Dublin City Library and Archive holds a wide range of material on 1916, ranging from primary source material to items published to mark the Rising’s 100th anniversary. The material comprises books, newspapers, periodicals, postcards, personal accounts, official records of the City Council and a large amount of ephemeral material. It would be impossible to list them all. Therefore, this is a select resource list, concentrating on the older and rarer material held in DCLA, the classics of historical research, and some of the more recent publications on the Rising. It is divided into six sections, with links from the sections to listings, websites and individual items. We hope you find it useful.

General Sources

There are hundreds of books written on the Easter Rising; its genesis, course and aftermath.  Here you will find a list of some of the more well-known books on early 20th century Irish history as well as some of the more recent publications on 1916: Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb).

For those interested in primary sources, our collection contains not just the main Irish dailies but also many of the radical nationalist and socialist newspapers of the period. For the complete listing, see the Newspaper listing for 1916 and its anniversaries (pdf, 80kb).  Researchers can also access the Irish News Archive and The Irish Times Archive free of charge in the Reading Room.

The Biographies and Autobiographies covering this period are also useful sources in gaining insight into this turbulent period in Irish history, see Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb).

Most of the ephemeral material we hold on 1916 is listed in the Birth of the Republic Collection (pdf, 1.76mb), which also covers the years post-independence.  It includes postcards, leaflets, booklets and other political material relating to the insurrection.

The Background to the Rising

This section is an introduction to the sources we hold for the political, economic, social and cultural history of Ireland pre-1916. See Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb) for the political background, Irish social developments and the cultural revival of the early 20th century. The Birth of the Republic ephemera collection holds examples of source documents for this topic, see Birth of the Republic Collection (pdf, 1.76mb). The large number of Newspapers celebrating the cultural revival are important primary sources for research into the background of the Rising, in particular the Gaelic Revival newspapers such as the Gaelic League’s An Claideamh Soluis, see Newspaper listing for 1916 and its anniversaries (pdf, 80kb).

The city of Dublin before the Rising is worthy of study in itself. One of the most useful primary sources for the social make-up of the city is Thoms Street Directory for 1916, held in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library and Archive. We also hold the 1916 Telephone Directory and various other trade and professional directories for the period. The Digitised Electoral Registers is another useful source.  For images of Dublin shortly before 1916, take a look at the following image galleries: Derelict Dublin, A Tale of Two Cities and Dirt and Disease in Dublin.

Easter Week 1916

Martial law proclamation published in The Irish TimesImage right: Martial Law was proclaimed and published in the Irish Times on April 16th (click to view full image).

Sources on the military aspects and first-hand accounts of the course of events during Easter Week are listed in the Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb). Of particular interest is the 1916 Rebellion Handbook. Personal accounts of Easter Week such as the Monica Roberts Diary and the Pembroke UDC Town Clerk Eye-witness Account give the reader insight to how ordinary people reacted to the unfolding events.  For images of the destruction of Dublin, see our Eyewitness 1916 Image Gallery and to get a sense of the response to the emergency see the Fire Brigade log. The Jacobs Biscuit Factory Archive is another valuable primary resource.  Many 1916 Newspapers were not published during the Rising itself, but effectively transmit the feeling of panic in the city during its immediate aftermath, see Newspaper listing for 1916 and its anniversaries (pdf, 80kb).

Map showing Dublin areas destroyed by fire during rebellion

Image above: This Map shows how many of the buildings around Sackville Street were destroyed, and is part of our extensive map collection (click to view full image).

Participants and Onlookers

General biographies and autobiographies form an essential part of researching the Rising, see see Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb). While there are too many individual biographies of the main protagonists to list them all, much work  been done in recent years in commemorating those who have not figured greatly in the older histories of the period, including women and non-combatants. Our listing reflects this.

For those researching the less well-known characters involved in or affected by the events of 1916, the mammoth Oral History Collection can be listened to in the Reading Room. Our on-line Family History resources can also be used to research such figures, as some of them give access to sources otherwise unavailable, such as prison records. Our collection of CD Roms, available for use in the Reading Room, includes the Dublin Castle documents recording surveillance of Sinn Fein and Republican Suspects during the period 1899 to 1921.

The Aftermath of 1916

1916 was a watershed in Irish history. We hold a large stock of books on the years following 1916, which were formative ones for the State, Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb). Our Newspapers show both the immediate reaction and the long-term response to the Rising, see Newspaper listing for 1916 and its anniversaries (pdf, 80kb). Souvenir booklets such as those published by The Volunteer Dependents Fund, the Irish Times and Irish Life are particularly useful as a source for images. So too are the postcards which are held as part of Birth of the Republic Collection (pdf, 1.76mb), showing both the people and place of the Rising. Some periodicals, such as The Catholic Bulletin, were active in commemorating the revolutionary dead of 1916. Many of the images published by the Volunteer Dependents Fund can be viewed on the web gallery, 1916, The Women Behind the Men.  The response of the civic authorities can be gauged in the DCC Minutes and Reports.

The Monica Roberts Collection gives insight into responses of Irish-born soldiers fighting in the British Army to the Rising.  The Patrick English Frongoch Collection describes the experiences of an Irish Volunteer who was interned in Frongoch following the Rising.

Remembering 1916

1916 50 year Commemorations headline, Daily Express front pageWe hold, in either hard copy or microfilm, the Newspapers and Periodicals from 1966 and the other anniversary years, see Newspaper listing for 1916 and its anniversaries (pdf, 80kb). Many of these contain interviews with those who were personally involved in the events of 1916. They also give insight into the changes that have taken place in Irish society during the past 100 years and how 1916 has been interpreted in the light of these changes.  A number of books examining  the ways in which 1916 has been commemorated  have also been published, see Exploring 1916 booklist (pdf, 170kb).

Image right: Daily Express newspaper headline from 1966 (click to enlarge)

Many periodicals marked the anniversary of 1916 with articles, including personal accounts not found elsewhere. Of particular interest are our copies of The Capuchin Annual of 1931and 1966,  Dublin Opinion 1966 and Breifne 1966.