Digital repository of personal material from 1916 Leaders forms centrepiece of National Library Ireland 2016 programme  


The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, TD, this evening (Monday) launched the National Library of Ireland (NLI) 2016 programme, which includes the release of a unique digital repository of personal papers and photographs that tell the story of the momentous events of 1916. The programme, which forms part of the State programme to commemorate 1916, was unveiled at a special event presented by Dr John Bowman in the Library’s iconic premises on Kildare Street.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “The National Library plays such a fundamental role in helping us to connect and remember our past.  The release of the 1916 Digital Collections by the National Library is sure to be a great resource to individuals and groups across the State and beyond who want to mark 1916, or to simply reflect on it. The breadth of material that has been digitised and will be made available online is astounding and represents a hugely valuable record of events leading up to and including the Easter Rising.

“I would like to congratulate the Library on a wonderful and thoughtful 2016 programme of events – which I’m sure will engage and enrich all of those who take part in it, including schools, community organisations, academics and researchers, the culturally curious and lifelong learners of all ages. As one of our nation’s key cultural institutions, the National Library of Ireland – in its physical buildings and online – will be a hub of activity as we mark the centenary of 1916.”

Highlights of the programme include:

  • The digitised papers include diaries, postcards and photographs relating to Tom Clarke and James Connolly will be available in January 2016, followed by Seán MacDiarmada and Thomas MacDonagh in February, concluding with the papers of Patrick Pearse and Joseph Plunkett in March 2016.  A selection of papers and photographs relating to Éamonn Ceannt and his family is available online here: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000243484
  • Inspiration Proclamation’ – a series of public interviews with major figures on themes of the Proclamation and their relevance for Ireland in 2016 and beyond
  • Readings from the Rising’, a series of performances of literary work accompanied by music and staged throughout our historic buildings;
  • ‘Rising’: a flagship photographic exhibition in the National Photographic Archive;
  • Signatories’: an exhibition in the NLI’s Kildare Street building, which will present selected documents related to the seven signatories; and much more.

Paul Shovlin, Chair of the National Library’s Board said: “In 1916, the National Library was an intellectual and social hub at the heart of Ireland and is proud to take its place in the centenary events 100 years later, through a programme built around our unparalleled collections. We are delighted to contribute to the commemorations by cataloguing and digitising materials that tell the story of 1916, commencing with the seven signatories of the Proclamation.”

Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library, added “At the heart of the National Library’s plans for 2016 is our core mission: collecting and making available Irish memory and heritage for people everywhere. Our 1916 programme is ambitious and includes digitisation, exhibitions and events, and I am delighted that we will be adding to our archive of the Irish internet by capturing websites related to the commemorations for people to explore as a record of this momentous year.”

Full details of the National Library programme are available at www.nli.ie


Note to Editors


The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, led by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, T.D., is a year-long programme of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future.


The mission of the National Library of Ireland is to collect, preserve, promote and make accessible the documentary and intellectual record of the life of Ireland and to contribute to the provision of access to the larger universe of recorded knowledge.


Details of items on display at the launch event are listed below. This selection is also available for review here: http://bit.ly/1O38In3


  • Letter from Éamonn Ceannt to Áine Ceannt from Kilmainham Gaol, advising that his trial has ended and that he expects to be sentenced to death. He intends “to die like a man for Ireland’s sake” but regrets that he will not see her again to show her how much she has meant to him. [5th May 1916]
  • Order issued by James Connolly, Commandant-General, Dublin Division, Army of the Irish Republic, to “Officer in Charge [Frank Henderson], Henry Street” informing him to erect barricades in Henry Street and occupy the first and top floors of houses in the street. [25th April 1916]
  • Draft, signed by Patrick Pearse, of the decision by the Republican forces to enter negotiations with the British, written on cardboard picture-mount, and found in 16 Moore St, Dublin. [29th April 1916]
  • Letter from Lady Alice Wimborne, Vice Regal Lodge, to her mother Baroness Ebury, giving an account of the Easter Rising in Dublin, and its aftermath.
  • Note from Joseph Mary Plunkett to his family, stating that he and his brothers George and Jack have been arrested following the 1916 Rising and are imprisoned in Richmond Barracks. [30th April 1916]


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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