Monday, 27 August 2012

Easter Rising Archives - published in The Irish World

Eye-witness accounts from The Easter Rising and War of Independence are being released online to the public for the first time today.

For the first time in history everyone can now read gripping real-life accounts from Ireland’s difficult history under British control.

The files had previously been locked away in the State’s Military Archives for more than half a century.

The public can now access 1,773 witness statements, 36,000 pages of name and word searchable documents, rare photographs, and voice recordings from one of Ireland’s most turbulent eras.

The files entitled the “Bureau of Military History 1913-1921”, which took a decade to compile, had remained secret until their digitalisation today which allows anyone in the world to view them for free.

They stem from often emotional recollections of hundreds of men and women who played both major and minor roles in events leading up to the Irish State.

The Bureau of Military history had originally gathered these accounts in 1947, aiming to feature details from the beginning of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 to the “Truce” with the British in 1913 before those who had experienced it passed away.

Sixty- five years on, the public are invited to read accounts from members of the Irish volunteers, Cumann na MBan, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Sinn Fein, the Irish Citizen Army , among others, which were previously regarded as highly sensitive and controversial.

It has taken a team of military archivists 11 years to prepare them for their release today since their move from the Department of An Taoiseach to the Defence Forces in 2001.

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