The First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster MLA, has indicated that she will attend a special 1916 Centenary event in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, next week. A state of chassis’ – Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances in Dublin in 1916 takes place on Wednesday February 17 at 7.30 pm in the cathedral.
The evening of engaging presentations by leading Irish historians with an opportunity for discussion is being organised by the Church of Ireland Historical Centenaries Working Group to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising.
The keynote speakers will be Dr Fearghal McGarry of Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Jason McElligott of Marsh’s Library, Dublin. The evening will be chaired by historian and broadcaster, Dr John Bowman.
This event will provide an opportunity to consider the lives of the ‘ordinary’ people of Dublin at the time of the Easter Rising, many of whom, as Sean O’Casey put it, felt they were living through a confusing ‘state of chassis’. The keynote speakers are engaging and respected communicators in this field. Dr Fearghal McGarry is based in the School of History at Queen’s University, Belfast, and is a historical consultant for several projects to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising. He will set the Easter Rising in context and also focus on what new sources and research tell us about the experience of rank–and–file rebels and ordinary Dubliners during Easter Week.
Dr McGarry’s themes will include the confusion experienced by many rebels about what was happening and the rebellion’s purpose; the involvement and treatment of women in the rebellion; and the extent to which the event included a strong religious dimension – with discussion of Church of Ireland experiences, as well as the Roman Catholic ethos of the rebellion.
Dr Jason McElligott, Keeper of the famous Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, will speak on the theme of: ‘Tales from The Other Side: the experience of curating a 1916 exhibition which may cause offence’. Marsh’s Library is a cultural institution which played a cameo role in the 1916 Easter Rising and it is preparing an exhibition to mark 1916 entitled ‘Tales from The Other Side’.
The exhibition will focus on changes in identity in Ireland during the Irish Revolution, and the choices which individuals made, or were forced to make, about who they were and what they wanted to be.
‘The Other Side’ is a deliberately ambiguous phrase that can be taken to refer to political, cultural or religious differences. It can also be applied to those who decided not to kill for their beliefs, and decided to live heroically ordinary lives.
Dr McElligott will discuss what happened in the Library during 1916 and look at the ways in which the institution and its personnel dealt with unfolding events. He will display a number of objects which bring the events of Easter Week to life. The experience of a number of men and women hitherto unknown to history will be examined in situations which shed broader light on the nature of the Irish Revolution.
Admission will be free and refreshments provided. It would be helpful if those wishing to attend would indicate in advance by emailing: peter.cheney at ireland.anglican.org