The National Library of Ireland invited people to bring their WWI memorabilia (anything from diaries to helmets and from medals to postcards) to the Hunt Museum on 5 November 2012, to be digitised and added to the Europeana online archive, along with the stories that bring these objects to life.
The Hunt Museum was joined on the day by Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, whose Department has made the Irish roadshow days possible. A number of experts were on hand to talk to visitors about the significance of their finds. One notable story that emerged from the roadshow was the discovery of what appeared to be a photograph of Roger Casement in Germany addressing prisoners of war. The photograph shows a man with a beard in a white suit, meeting with prisoners. German military officials encouraged prisoners to take and send home photos to show that they were being treated well in POW camps. Katherine McSharry, of the National Library of Ireland, said that it was well documented that Casement travelled around German POW camps during the First World War, encouraging Irish soldiers to desert and join a prospective ‘Irish Brigade’ that was intended to fight the British as part of a future rebellion.
Speaking about the event, Dr Hugh Maguire, Director of the Hunt Museum, said that ‘the museum is delighted and honoured to be associated with the National Library on such a project. Although a small organisation, the museum works closely with colleagues locally and nationally. Recently, we have worked very fruitfully with Limerick City Archives, and we have ongoing projects with the University of Limerick and Limerick School of Art & Design along with Limerick’s many cultural and educational institutions. Our remit is national too, and along with museum and gallery colleagues elsewhere we wish to encourage greater awareness and preservation of Ireland’s material culture’.
When processed, the pictures and documents from the Limerick event will be added to the other Europeana collections. You can view the Europeana website by clicking here
The Europeana Roadshow was also held at the National Library of Ireland on 21 March 2012. For further information, click here.
From History Ireland: Lar Joye on Casement’s ‘Irish Brigade’.