1916 exhibition is one for the road

By David Tucker

Published 29/10/2016 | 00:00

The launch took place in County Hall last week of a new travelling exhibition, 'The 1916 Rising in County Wexford' and if you haven't had the chance to get to Wexford to see it, the good news is that you can book it for your area.

Launched by the chair of Wexford County Council, Cllr Paddy Kavanagh, and produced by Wexford County Council Archivist Gráinne Doran and the staff of Wexford County Archive, the exhibition comprises seven pull-up banners outlining the history of the Rising in the the county.

The banners provide a brief overview, including the main organisations involved, the timeline of the Rising and its aftermath. A Roll of Honour panel records the names of men and women from the county who were active during 1916.

The 1916 Easter Rising marked a crucial turning point in Ireland's history. Prior to its occurrence, Home Rule had been enshrined in law but everything changed with the onslaught of the Great War. While the fiercest fighting took place in Dublin in 1916, County Wexford saw the only capture by the rebels of an urban centre - Enniscorthy - which they held for five fateful days.

The town was one of the few locations outside of Dublin to raise the tricolour, and still retains its original Enniscorthy 1st battalion flag. The Enniscorthy rebels held the significant distinction of being the last in the country to surrender.

In marking County Wexford's contribution to the 2016 commemorations, Wexford County Council has been very much to the forefront in coordinating and organising many of the events that have taken place throughout the county this year and in ensuring that they have been reflective, all-inclusive, celebratory and engaging.

In building on the role of engagement with communities, the purpose of this new 1916 travelling exhibition is to raise awareness of the 1916 Rising in County Wexford to the greater community.

Performing the launch, Cllr Kavanagh noted that while the main activity in the county in 1916 centred around the town and district of Enniscorthy, people should not forget the significant volume of Irish Volunteers and members of Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna Éireann that were active in branches throughout the county.

One of the panels contains an extensive list of names of men and women from the county who were active in 1916. It is intended that the panels will travel to schools (primary and post-primary), libraries, historical societies, community centres and heritage groups around the county over the next year or so. A more detailed insight into the period is provided in Wexford County Council's publication 'The 1916 Rising and County Wexford, an educational resource', and copies of the pack will be distributed to those wishing to host the travelling exhibition.

Gráinne Doran thanked Kieran Costello who assisted in writing the content for the panels; Donald McDonald for graphic design and photography and C&R Print for production of the panels.

'Knowing how our country began helps us work out what kind of place it might become in the future, and it is hoped that this travelling exhibition in conjunction with the 1916 schools pack will in some cases start a dialogue and in other cases, continue that dialogue as we proceed into next year and the remaining years in the decade of commemorations'.

If you would like to book this free exhibition for your area, contact Gráinne on 053 9196572 or email: archivist@wexfordcoco.ie

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