In 1916 a group of Irish Volunteers, among whom were James Connolly, James, Plunkett and Patrick Pearse, insurrected against British rule in Ireland. Part of the rationale for the timing of this Easter Rising was to strike at Britain while she was busy in the First World War. However, it is not always known that very many Irish participated on the side of Britain in the Great War. Records show that over 200,000 Irishmen served in the British Army at this time (a great uncle of mine, Thomas Rapple, a Dubliner, died in October 1918 while serving as a private in the 13th Hussars).
Earlier this summer, the Library of Trinity College Dublin in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute launched The Great War Revisited exhibition. This fascinating digital exhibition highlights some of the riches of First World War material held by TCD’s Library. These include recruiting posters, letters, diaries, photographs, videos, pamphlets and artworks.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
1. Trinity’s celebrated collection of Irish WWI recruiting posters (one of the largest collection in existence)
2. Previously unpublished photographs of the Allied campaign in Iraq and Turkey
3. Letters and diaries from Irish soldiers serving in France, Iraq and Palestine (previously unpublished)
4. A multitude of political pamphlets, songs and ballads and artworks