Wednesday 13 November 2019

Rebel families' voices heard in 240 stories

Historian Maurice O'Keeffe
Historian Maurice O'Keeffe

Jane O'Faherty

A total of 240 stories from relatives of 1916 leaders will be available in public libraries across Ireland ahead of the Rising's centenary.

Historian Maurice O'Keeffe has been archiving memories since 2012 from descendants of those who lived through the Rising.

The collection was launched at the RDS Library this week.

Mr O'Keeffe recorded relatives of James Connolly, Pádraig Pearse and James Plunkett for the project.

He also spoke to the grandson of British captain Henry de Courcy Wheeler, who was tasked with rounding up the rebels when Pádraig Pearse surrendered.

Mr O'Keeffe said he hoped to introduce the captain's grandson to the son of an arrested rebel at the RDS launch.

Mr O'Keeffe and his wife Jane have been collecting oral history on Irish life for 25 years, but had not focused on 1916 until they were approached by the South Dublin County Library in Tallaght.

"I came to this project not understanding why people got out and rebelled and joined in this insurrection," he told the Irish Independent.

"The answer is certainly in these recordings."

Irish Independent

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