NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT

DRI announces new collaborative project: “Frongoch and 1916: Recreating a Lost Landscape”

We are pleased to announce an exciting new digital cultural heritage project to mark the centenary of the internment camp at Frongoch, Merionethshire, Wales, which held approximately 1,800 Irish prisoners, including Michael Collins, following the 1916 Rising.

Frongoch and 1916: Recreating a Lost Landscape is a collaboration between the Digital Repository of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, National Library of Ireland, National Museum Wales and National Library Wales. Sponsored by Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the project will feature a series of new curated exhibitions of digital cultural heritage objects from Irish and Welsh sources, as well as expert commentary. Inspiring Ireland will also promote cultural exchange between Ireland and Wales, by contributing digital objects to the People’s Collection Wales, a website that allows the public to share their “memories of Wales in photographs, sound recordings, documents, videos and stories”.

Frongoch and 1916: Recreating a Lost Landscape will contain a number of thematically arranged exhibitions, augmented by unseen memorabilia from private collections digitised at public memorabilia collection days in Dublin, London and New York. Frongoch provides a fascinating window into 1916, because the Irish prisoners, their Welsh guards and local townspeople created a kinship during this short imprisonment, leading to a fount of stories and an array of artefacts that mark the brief period of the camp’s existence. The camp was emptied in December 1916, but not before becoming known as ‘ollscoil na réabhlóide’, the "University of Revolution" for the discussions and classes that had been built by the community.

The Frongoch exhibitions present an array of new artefacts that includes photographs, letters, official documents, prisoner ‘autograph books’ and artworks. This wide variety of objects aims to paint the landscape and people of 1916 back onto the digital canvas of 2016. The historical background to this part of Ireland’s path to independence will be contextualised through expert commentary from historians based in Ireland, England, and Wales.

This material expands existing 1916 collections in Inspiring Ireland, the Digital Repository of Ireland’s flagship digital cultural heritage platform, which launched in 2014. Some of the earlier 1916 collections include themes such as ‘Women and the Rising’ and ‘The Rising in the Regions’.  The extension of the exhibitions to incorporate the Frongoch material illustrates DRI’s commitment to engaging with the international dimension of Irish cultural heritage.

Inspiring Ireland is suitable as a digital platform for exhibitions of this type, because since its inception it has been a collaborative venture that preserves and shares digital cultural heritage from multiple institutions. The digitised objects and documents are preserved using the infrastructure of the DRI, which ensures these digital objects, which are often more fragile and subject to loss than their material counterparts, are safely preserved for the long term.

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About Inspiring Ireland 1916

Inspiring Ireland 1916 is the second phase of the multiple-award-winning cultural heritage resource Inspiring Ireland. It presents an innovative of exhibitions of cultural artefacts, stories and interpretation that surround the events of 1916. Available online since January 2016, the exhibitions curate iconic national treasures alongside privately-owned memorabilia which has been gathered at national and international collection days in Dublin, London and New York.

About the Digital Repository of Ireland

The Digital Repository of Ireland is a national trusted digital repository for Ireland's social and cultural data. The repository links together and preserves both historical and contemporary data held by Irish institutions, providing a central internet access point and interactive multimedia tools. As a national e-infrastructure for the future of education and research in the humanities and social sciences, DRI is available for use by the public, students and scholars.

Contact

For more information on the Frongoch project and Inspiring Ireland 1916, please contact Caroline McGee, Project Creative Lead for Inspiring Ireland: c.mcgee@ria.ie

For more information on the Digital Repository of Ireland, please contact Clare Lanigan, Manager of Education and Outreach, Digital Repository of Ireland: c.lanigan@ria.ie