Tuesday 23 January 2018

Error-strewn 1916 Proclamation under microscope

Eric Davis
(9), and Branon
Noble (8), with
retired engineer
Eddie Gahan at the
National Print
Eric Davis (9), and Branon Noble (8), with retired engineer Eddie Gahan at the National Print Museum

David Whelan

Ireland's most historic document is littered with typographical mistakes.

However, the 1916 Proclamation was created under such duress that it is still considered a thing of great beauty and skill.

The document issued by the Irish volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising was distributed throughout the country and proclaimed Ireland's independence from the UK. After British soldiers had raided most of the print houses across Ireland, two compositors and a printer were forced to retreat to the basement of Dublin's Liberty Hall and work with limited resources.

This meant that the document had to be created in two separate halves because there were not enough letters available to complete the full document.

A close look at the document shows that some letters appear in different sizes and fonts. One of the most notable glitches is the use of the letter 'o' instead of a 'c' in the spelling of 'Irish Republic' in the title.

Aoife McGonagan of the National Print Museum said that considering the original document was only expected to have a "poster-life span" it is remarkable that people can still view it.

"Considering the circumstances under which it was printed it is actually very impressive. It is one of our prize items and it is a fantastic document that speaks to all members of society."

The tale is one of those being told at the National Print Museum as part of National Heritage Week, starting today. Over the next nine days up to 370,000 people are expected to attend some of the 1,400 events nationwide.

With the majority of events happening for free organisers say that it is a great opportunity for people to experience something interesting about their heritage. Full details on www.heritageweek.ie

Irish Independent

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