National Library to launch `From Ballots to Bullets: Ireland 1918-1919' exhibition

Trade unionist Delia Larkin signing the Anti-Conscription Pledge at Dublin City Hall, April 1918

THE intense events and the personal stories behind two momentous years of Irish history will feature at a new exhibition at the National Library of Ireland (NLI).

The library's National Photographic Archive at Temple Bar in Dublin today launches From Ballots to Bullets: Ireland 1918-1919.

It charts the two turbulent and defining years in Irish life, leading to the birth of the Republic.

The journey will take visitors through the NLI's rich holding of photographs, newspapers, posters, postcards and advertisements.

One hundred years after the events, there will be modern multimedia elements such as video showing archival footage and contemporary analysis, and a touchscreen display will add a sensory, tactile dimension to the exhibition and allow visitors to get `hands-on' with history.

The exhibition also focuses on six revolutionary lives - individuals whose stories illuminate different aspects of the 1918-1919 period.

The year 1918 was a pivotal one for Ireland, featuring civic action, marking the end of war in Europe, women voting for the first time and a ground-breaking election result.

Meanwhile, 1919 saw Dáil Éireann meets for the very first time in the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dublin, Sinn Féin leader Éamon de Valera escaped with two others from Lincoln Prison in England with the help of Michael Collins and Harry Boland.

The archive, which opens in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, will be officially opened by Senator Ivana Bacik, chair of the Oireachtas Vótáil100 committee, which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the parliamentary vote for women in Ireland.

The year saw Countess de Markievicz become the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament at Westminster, although she did not take her seat.

She joined the revolutionary first Dáil, becoming the first female TD.

From Ballots to Bullets: Ireland 1918-1919 is free to visit, and is open seven days weekly until next May.


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