On 11 September 2018 a new exhibition curated by the National Library of Ireland, ‘From ballots to bullets: Ireland 1918-1919’, was launched at the National Photographic Archive by Senator Ivana Bacik, Chair of the Oireachtas Vótáil100 committee.
The exhibition covers the key years 1918-1919, which encompassed the end of the First World War, the first postwar UK election in which women could vote, and the first meeting of Dáil Eireann. ‘From ballots to bullets’ documents these years leading to the birth through the NLI’s rich holding of photographs, newspapers, posters, postcards and advertisements. Items on display include a wide range of contemporary photographs, documents and ephemera, contextualised by a graphic timeline and multimedia elements such as video showing both archival footage and contemporary analysis. It also uses contemporary life stories to illuminate various aspects of the period.
Speaking at the launch, exhibition curator Nikki Ralston noted that ‘although the period explored by ’From Ballots to Bullets’ may often be remembered for its political upheaval, everyday life went on alongside the dramatic events of those years. We have incorporated many aspects of Irish life during that time, from Lá na mBan to the soaring demand for Bovril as people tried to protect themselves from the flu pandemic, so everyone can imagine how their lives might have been 100 years ago. In particular, I would encourage schools, younger people and students to visit and understand how our past can offer lessons for the present and future’.
Admission to ‘From Ballots to Bullets: Ireland 1918-1919’ is free. The exhibition is open seven days weekly: Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 5pm. The exhibition runs in the NLI’s National Photographic Archive, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 until May 2019.