Reflecting Ulster – Easter 1916 and the First World War

Gallery of Photography in partnership with Monaghan County Council Heritage and Arts offices present two Reflecting Ulster exhibitions: one in the County Library, Clones and a separate exhibition at the Market House, Monaghan. Collectively the exhibitions present eyewitness photographs which reflect this pivotal period in Ireland’s history – the build up to the First World War and the Battle of the Somme, the Easter Rising and it’s aftermath. The exhibitions draw on the wealth of photographic material held in national archives and photographs from local family collections to explore how photography recorded, reflected and shaped our memory of the events of 1916 and include:
– Formal studio photographs and postcards photographs from local families of soldiers who fought in the First World War. At the outset of the First World War ordinary soldiers often sent back photographs taken at the Front. In 1915 The War Office’s banned unauthorised photography. However a small number of photographs taken in defiance of the ban do exist.
– Roger Casement’s Anti-Slavery glass slide collection. Casement used the documentary power of photography to highlight crimes against humanity in the Congo and Putamayo. His own evolution from British imperialist to Irish revolutionary is also documented through photographs.
– 1916 & Photography. The Easter rebels were mindful of the persuasive power of photography and used it to great effect to sway public opinion. Photographs of the devastation of Dublin by citizen photographers give a compelling insight into the impact of the Rising. Portraits of the widows and orphans of the Easter rebels published in the Catholic Bulletin in 1916 helped develop sympathy.

Included in the exhibitions are photographs generously contributed by the Capuchins Ireland Archive; Dublin City Library and Archive; Irish Military Archives; Kilmainham Gaol; The National Library of Ireland; The National Museum of Ireland; Pearse Museum; RTÉ Archives; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Trinity College Archives, and the UCD Archives.

– Side by side are family photographs, many of which are seen here for the first time, reflecting the diversity of experiences across Ulster and the island of Ireland. These include family photographs contributed by the Knight and Madden families to the Gallery of Photography’s Photo Album of Ireland project – organised in partnership with Monaghan County Council Heritage and Arts Offices, Donegal County Museum.

installation_webReflecting Ulster©Markethouse Monaghan

Curated by Gallery of Photography. Supported by Monaghan County Council Heritage and Arts Offices, Dublin City Council, Dept. of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund and the Arts Council.

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About the Photo Album of Ireland: The Photo Album of Ireland is a digital research project inviting people to digitally share their family albums and private photo collections. Photo albums give a fascinating insight into our public and private histories, revealing details about how people lived and worked that official historical records often overlook. This emerging, democratic archive explores the role photography plays in recording our lives and commemorating our histories – viewed from the perspective of private individuals and families. The project explores themes of identity, changing social conditions, emigration and effects of conflict – preserving this important cultural material for future generations.

A Gallery of Photography outreach project organised in partnership with Monaghan County Council Heritage and Arts Office, with thanks to Shirley Clerkin and Sormhairle MacConghail

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