Galway County Libraries

The Library's contribution to the Decade of Commemoration and 1916 in particular

Josephine Vahey

Galway County Library

Josephine Vahey from Galway County Libraries, Executive Librarian in charge of schools. I am here to talk about what we are doing in the libraries with regard to 1916 and the County Council’s Decade of Commemoration 2013-2023.

Galway’s Great Read is a series of workshops, exhibitions, talks, seminars that Galway County Libraries presents every November to do with The Decade of Commemoration.

This year we are going to have two seminars; one in spring and one in autumn.

The Spring series of the Great Read will be called 1916: A Literary Journey through the Pen of Irish Authors and what we hope to do is examine and provide an overview of writings by Irish authors, local and national, focusing on the representations of the Easter Rising and life during that period.

In the Autumn’s Great Read, it is going to be called Living Literature: Writings from the Cradle to the Grave this is a series of workshops and talks examining literature and life, from childhood to old age, the visible and invisible, the silent and the dominant voices in society during the revolutionary era.

Both of these seminars will be accompanied by different exhibitions that will tour all around the county.

The other thing we are hoping to provide is a Blog, as part of the Decade of Commemoration website. This is called Galway Rising: What it said in the papers, as part of the Decade of Commemoration we will put together specialist blog dedicated to recounting the social, cultural and political life of the ordinary men and woman of Galway city and county during the course of the year 1916. The blog will provide access to information for researchers and other interested parties as well as being a permanent record to posterity of events and happenings in Galway in that year.

It will cover four principle areas of interest: Political, which will include issues of a predominantly local focus, Social including music, dance and sports life. Economic including agricultural interests; for example: marts, sales and pricing and the life of the poor and finally Cultural, which will also include a selection of entries in the Irish language and terms of educational interest, all entries will be taken from a selection of online local sources; the two principle Galway weekly newspapers of the time The Connacht Tribune and The Tuam Herald and some of the local Government sources for that period: the Galway County Council minutes, the Loughrea Town Commissioners minutes, the Tuam Town Commissioners minutes, the Tuam Poor Law Union and the Clifden Poor Law Union.

For finally; for the youth; we hope to organise a series of themed interschool’s, Art competitions for Primary schools, the series for this art competition will span a five-year period, inviting schools from one of the counties five electoral areas to participate in a specific year. In 2016, schools from the Loughrea electoral area will be invited to create; imaginative and visual art pieces commemorating ‘The Year of 1916’.

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