100 years ago, a succession of events unfolded across a ten-year period that would redefine the island of Ireland and its people forever. Beginning with the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912 and ending with civil war and the partition of the island in 1922, Ireland was engulfed in a period of tumultuous change and great social upheaval.
100 years later, as the events being remembered take on a truly international dimension and interest in them has grown significantly, a Decade Of Centenaries is unfolding which allows us to look back, to remember and to commemorate.
The Creative Centenaries project, led by the Nerve Centre and supported by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), brings together information and resources about the Decade of Centenaries and the work of Northern Ireland’s creative sector in commemorating these events.
From digital storytelling to educational resources to a sharing of knowledge and expertise, Creative Centenaries brings a fresh approach to the study and memory of one of Ireland’s most defining periods. Visit the Creative Centenaries YouTubepage to view videos exploring the history of the Easter Rising, the Battle of the Somme and more.
A variety of events and projects are currently taking place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War, the approach of the anniversary of the Easter Rising and more. Below are a selection of highlights and ways to get involved. Visit the Creative Centenaries website for more information.
The Home Front: Hidden Histories of the First World War – Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Life on the Home Front during the First World War will be poignantly brought to life with a new programme at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, which began on August 5 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. This unique programme is also part of the museum's special series of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Folk Museum.
Visitors will be offered guided tours where they can learn fascinating facts of everyday life for Ulster people during the war; how coal was rationed, the increase in demand of Irish turf and the role picture houses played in both providing welcome relief from the harsh realities of war as well as portraying the grim realities and heroic efforts of the allies. The guided tours will operate at 11am, 1pm and 3pm throughout August 2014.
First World War Blog – PRONI
In order to mark the 100th anniverary of the First World War, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) are producing a monthly blog charting the experiences of men and women who lived through that turbulent period.
PRONI hold a wide range of records, including letters, diaries and memoirs, relating to the First World War and to contemporary events in Ireland, providing firsthand accounts of all aspects of war as well as on life at home.
The first blog looks at the events of August 1914 and the personal views of those caught up in the ever increasing conflict. View the first installment on the PRONI website.
Across the Hawthorne The Noise of Bugles – Mid-Antrim Museum
This new exhibition at the Mid-Antrim Museum at the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena explores the outbreak of the First World War and its impact on life across mid- and east-Antrim. Marking the centenary of the outbreak of war, the exhibition will explore artefacts, photographs and personal stories from the outset of war, as well as fresh perspectives on local responses to recruitment and battles.
The first of two, this exhibition forms part of a three-year heritage-based project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund that supports community engagement with the impact and legacy of the outbreak of the First World War, the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising. The exhibition runs until September 11.
Shrieking Sister – Island Museum
Shrieking Sisters, the story of a group of sufragettes who attampted to blow up a cathedral, will be performed in the Island Museum in Market Square on September 13. Described by Culture Northern Ireland as 'a fascinating, if demanding, piece of theatre... which does much to illuminate an essential part of all our histories'.
In the early hours of August 1, 1914, a group of women, lead by Miss Lillian Metge, attempted to blow up Lisburn Cathedral. Shrieking Sisters imagines the characters and events around the Ulster Suffrage militant campaign between 1912 and 1914.
Letters 1916 Project
A drive to create a crowd-sourced digital collection of letters written around the time of the Easter Rising is underway and you can help to contribute. Letters 1916 is the first public humanities project in Ireland, which is attempting to gather a pool of letters written between November 1, 1915 and 31 October, 1916.
The project is encouraging anyone with copies of letters from the time to upload them to their database or help by transcribing previously uploaded letters. Visit the project website for more information.
Visit the Creative Centenaries website for information on other commemorative events taking place across Northern Ireland in 2014 and beyond.