What is 'Stories from 1916'?
'Stories from 1916' is an ongoing multimedia project that looks at the 1916 Easter Rising from a fresh and unbiased perspective. It is a "Living History" project, a digital portal for the collection and presentation of stories of the participants and living relatives of all those involved in the Rising in Dublin. There are vast numbers of little known individual accounts of the 'ordinary' men and women who did extraordinary things during Easter week 1916 and a wealth of previously unseen archive material held by their living descendants. By engaging with relatives and presenting photographs, video, audio and text we will chronicle and preserve vital stories as a resource for all. Through the prism of those who were a part of this transformative event in Irish history, audiences have the opportunity to explore the conflict, reflect on past traumas and discover the lessons to be learned from this pivotal moment in history.
How did The Project come about?
'Stories from 1916' grew out of the 90 minute feature docudrama 'A Terrible Beauty (Áille an Uafáis)' . The film takes a unique look at the events of Easter Week 1916 in Dublin, focusing on two of the most ferocious battles that took place that week; The Battle of Mount Street Bridge and the fighting around Ned Daly's Four Courts garrison. It is the first film to tell the story from three different perspectives, showing the human cost of the fighting on all sides. By using first-hand accounts to drive the narrative, we tell the little-known stories of the 'ordinary' people involved in the Rising; Irish Volunteers, British soldiers and the innocent civilians caught in the middle. By mixing archive footage with dramatic reconstructions and first-hand accounts it takes the viewer on a journey to the very heart of the conflict, giving them an up close and personal view of the often brutal and bloody fight which affected the lives of the men and women caught up in the chaos. While working on the film, we realised that there was a wealth of individual accounts about the Rising that have never seen the light of day. Men and women who played a vital role, not just in the Rising but also in the War of Independence that followed, have never had their stories told. With this project we are aiming to rectify that.
How is 'Stories from 1916' different?
We want to shed light on the fascinating accounts of 'ordinary' men and women, involved in the Rising, that have never had their voices heard or their stories told. Understandably, the families we have been engaging with are eager for their relatives involvement in the Easter Rising to be recognised. We feel that documenting these individual accounts is extremely important in telling the 'real' story of 1916. By working closely with families we will produce new material utilising all of the modern technologies available to us. Using this online portal, we will present oral histories made up of various means of modern storytelling. Mixing family held archive material, which has never been seen by the general public, with photographs, video, audio and text we will build a complete picture of who these brave men and women were. Not just from the point of view of the events of Easter week 1916, which can make a person seem one dimensional, but rather who they were as a person, before, during and after that fateful week.