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Inspiring Ireland collection object assists historian's research

Inspiring Ireland collection object assists historian's research

A crowdsourced object digitised by DRI for the Inspiring Ireland 1916 exhibitions last year is helping New Zealand historian, Dr. Rory Sweetman, challenge the historical orthodoxy that Trinity College Dublin was never under serious threat of rebel capture and occupation during the Easter Rising. His book, Defending Trinity College: New Zealanders in the 1916 Rising, reveals how five New Zealanders, acting as the core of a small squad of colonial troops, provided a vital shield to protect Trinity from capture by the rebels. 

Thanking DRI for making the digitised diary of Trinity student Herbert Fitzgerald available via the repository and on the Inspiring Ireland platform, and acknowledging the value of a previously hidden eye-witness account of Easter Week 1916, Dr. Sweetman said: 

"The contents of the diary not only confirmed much that is contained in the contemporary accounts of Professor John Joly and Gerald Fitzgibbon, but also gave me additional evidence of the confusion in Trinity's Officer Training Course ranks over the national identity of the fourteen colonial troops who were vital to the defence on Easter Monday and Tuesday. Fitzgerald's labelling of them as 'Canadians' contrasts with their usual misidentification as 'Australians'."

Dr. Sweetman will deliver a lecture about his book and the new sources for his research on Wednesday November 8 in the Trinity Long Room Hub's Research Centre for Contemporary Irish History.