Saturday 18 November 2017

Eamon Delaney: Our archives will bring the sheer humanity of our history alive

British troops inspect the ruins of the GPO after the 1916 Rising
British troops inspect the ruins of the GPO after the 1916 Rising
A Cumann na mBan membership list
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

This week's uploading online of a huge cache of personal material and records relating to military pensions of the 1916-1923 period, thus covering the 1916 Rising to the subsequent War of Independence, is a wonderful tribute to our archival skills and will make up for Ireland's once lamentable archival record.

Indeed, in two famous events which, ironically, took place during the independence struggle, a whole treasure trove went, quite literally, up in smoke.

One was the 1921 Republican burning of the Customs House, in which thousands of valuable records and files were destroyed. The rebels wanted to make the country ungovernable for the British Crown and its civil servants. But it made the work of future historians much harder.

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