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‘Voices of the Rising’, an NLI podcast series
DHR News, Featured | 29th April 2016

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has produced a series of short audio recordings detailing first-hand accounts of the Easter Rising. The series, called ‘Voices of the Rising’, is now available for free download through iTunes. The podcasts can be accessed by searching for ‘Voices of the Rising’. A new episode will be added every Thursday, until May 2016.

The series of podcasts builds on recordings from the NLI’s flagship exhibition ‘Rising’. The exhibition, which opened at the National Photographic Archive in February, features audio recordings of first-hand accounts from the men and women who took part in or witnessed the dramatic events of Easter 1916.

The podcast series includes these extracts from poignant personal papers, such as diaries and letters, plus a number of additional specially commissioned recordings.

All documents selected for ‘Voices of the Rising’ are held in the NLI’s 1916 collections and most have been digitised and are also available online via the NLI’s online catalogue. The series consists of 17 podcasts, which will be published on a weekly basis until May 2016.

So far, 12 podcasts are available to listeners:

  • ‘My son Charlie is missing’: Mary Martin’s son, Charlie, was in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was fighting in World War 1 at Salonika, Greece when he was reported missing in December 1915. His mother kept this diary in the form of a letter to him from the beginning of 1916, hoping that one day he would come home and read it. Because Mary was keeping the diary, she wrote about the events of the Easter Rising as they looked to her from the suburb of Monkstown.
  • My dear friend was lying mortally wounded’: Patrick J O’Connor worked at the National Library of Ireland in 1916. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers, fought in the Easter Rising, and was dismissed from his post.  He wrote to his former colleagues from prison in England, remembering their colleague James Crawford Neil, a civilian who was accidentally shot and killed during the rebellion.
  • ‘One more tragedy in this beloved land’: Lady Alice Wimborne was married to the Lord Lieutenant, the official representative of the British monarch in Ireland. She was in their residence, the Vice-Regal Lodge in the Phoenix Park, when the rebellion began on 24th April 1916. In early May, she sent a letter telling her mother all about what had happened.
  • ‘What sort of city will we have in the morning?’: Thomas King Moylan was the clerk of Grangegorman Mental Hospital, as well as a writer of comic plays. In his diary, he gives a striking sense of the rumours and anxiety that gripped Dublin during Easter Week 1916.
  • ‘Corner-boys & Ne’er-do-wells’: Dorothy Stopford Price was an Irish doctor from a middle class Protestant family who would later be very active in the fight against TB. She was staying with Sir Matthew Nathan and his wife in the Under-Secretary’s Lodge at the Phoenix Park at Easter 1916. This is an extract from the diary for Wednesday 26 April, the third day of the Rising.
  • ‘A solid sheet of blinding, deathwhite flame’: Dick Humphreys went to St. Enda’s, the school run by Patrick Pearse, for three years. He had just turned 20 when the Rising broke out, and he joined Pearse in the GPO. In this diary extract, he describes the scene inside the post office.
  • ‘Legs gone, arms broken, spines and lungs shot through’: Sarah Ismena Rohde was in her 60s when the Rising broke out. She wrote to her friends Mollie and George to give them an account of events, condemning the rebels unreservedly.
  • ‘One of our ambulances was riddled with bullets’: Granby Burke was a member of the Four Courts St. John Ambulance Brigade in 1916. On 9 May, he wrote an account of his experiences and the impact of the fighting on the civilian population of Dublin, in a letter to a friend.
  • ‘At that moment I felt I was hit’: Major George Malone was in the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, stationed at Richmond Barracks. On Easter Monday 1916, he had plans to meet his mother for dinner and a night at the theatre. Here, he tells us how the day unfolded very differently.
  • ‘I rode joyously down Cork Street to join Cumann na mBan’: Lily O’Brennan was a member of Cumann na mBan, and sister-in-law to Eamonn Ceannt. She was stationed at Jameson’s Distillery throughout Easter Week 1916. In this account from the 1930s, she recalls the beginning and end of the week.
  • ‘I went to the first window of the GPO’: William O’Brien was a very active figure in the Irish Labour movement, and a close associate of James Connolly’s. In this extract he describes the strange, tense conditions in Dublin during the first two days of the insurrection.
  • ‘In the name of the Republic’: Joseph Plunkett was one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Although he had just undergone an operation, he was stationed in the GPO throughout Easter Week, and kept a notebook in which he scribbled down details of events, including information about Volunteer activity in North County Dublin.

Details on the NLI’s full 1916 commemoration programme are available at www.nli.ie/1916.

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