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Inspiring Ireland 1916 Blog: The cultural cost of 1916

Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, Easter Week 1916. Photo: Westropp Collection, Royal Irish Academy. View in DRI.

A new post has been published on the blog series reflecting on the Inspiring Ireland 1916 digital exhibitions, A Closer Look at Inspiring Ireland 1916 Objects. Inspiring Ireland 1916 is the next phase of the multiple-award-winning cultural heritage resource Inspiring Ireland. It presents a brand new series of exhibitions of cultural artefacts, stories and interpretation that surround the events of 1916. The latest blog post, by Dr Kathryn Milligan, inaugural ESB Fellow at the ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, reflects on the cultural cost of 1916 by shedding light on a sensory world of furniture, textiles, and artworks that perished when the Royal Hibernian Academy building on Lower Abbey Street, Dublin was destroyed during Easter Week 1916.

The impact of digitising and preserving archival collections for long-term access and discovery is ably demonstrated in the latest blog post. The recently launched digital collection of Property Losses (Ireland) Committee compensation files from the National Archives of Ireland are used to reveal new information about the Royal Hibernian Academy. These documents allowed Dr. Milligan to describe precisely how the interior of Academy House was decorated and furnished, an insight previously only known to those who had viewed the paper documents. The blog post also tells some of the hidden stories of artworks that were included in that year's Annual Exhibition which also perished. They reveal intriguing connections between Dublin and the wider world and, most  importantly, provide a strong basis for further research on Ireland's contribution to the contemporary global artistic economy, a direction made possible by global open access to these valuable historical sources. The blog post can be viewed on the Inspiring Ireland site via the DRI Blog.