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Foundations and Reflections: Narratives of the Easter Rising

Trinity College Chapel

Introduced by Flor Mac Carthy, RTÉ Reflecting the Rising

Presented by Trinity Literary Society this talk, given by staff and students, offers a modern perspective on the literature that inspired the Easter Rising and how the Rising affected writers subsequently, how we view this connection in the modern age and how we view such a writer’s role today.

Professor Gerald Dawe, School of English, Trinity College: Professor Dawe discusses his new book Of War and War’s Alarms – ‘A unique study of war and revolution and their impact on the writing lives of Irish poets and novelists from WW1 and the Easter Rising through the War of Independence to the Spanish Civil War, WWII and the Northern Troubles’.


Cathal Burke O’Leary, Trinity College History graduate: Following the failure of the Rising, 1800 prisoners were held in the Frongoch internment camp. Later known as the ‘University of Revolution’ the camp became host to revolutionary lessons. In this talk, the literature of Frongoch will be looked at, as well as other prisons, what writing emerged from these places and what difficulties arose in a place designed to restrict such thought.


Ciaran Byrne, final year student, School of English: Padraic Colum’s quote of the rebel leaders carrying ‘a revolver in one hand a copy of Sophocles in the other’ is re-evaluated. From a piece entitled, ‘Poets Marched in the Van of Irish Revolt’, it was published during the staggered executions of the Proclamation signatories. This idea, of a clear link between poetry and politics appears again and again in the works of the period, by Séan O’Casey, James Stephens, AE, Eva Gore-Booth, and Dora Sigerson-Shorter to name but a few. In particular, Yeats’ poetry on the Rising, how it may have been a precipitator of the nationalist struggle, will be reflected on to ask how such a link between politics and literature can be used as a model in Irish society today.

Photograph courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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