Decade of Centenaries 2023
On 24th March 2023, Minister Catherine Martin published the 2023 national programme for the final year of the Decade of Centenaries.
Reflections on Wexford's 2022 Decade of Centenary programme appears on page 64 of the national programme.
Wexford County Council Decade of Centenaries Plan 2023
Reflections on the Irish Civil War in County Wexford from March 1923
• Wexford library 13th April – 24 attended
• New Ross library 30th May - 22 attended
• Enniscorthy library 8th June - 3 attended
• Bunclody library 15th June – 16 attended
Resources for the revolutionary period
• New Ross library 27th June - 8 attended
The ending of the Civil War on 24th May, the elections on 27th August (results & profile of candidates)
• Wexford town – Thursday 31st August - 20 attended
• New Ross - 17th October - 20 attended
• Bunclody – 19th October - 13 attended
• Enniscorthy – 26th October - 2 attended
Barry also released the following talks online which have already received the following views on our YouTube channel (as at 13th November):
• Reflections on the Irish Civil War in County Wexford from March 1923 - released March 27 – 380 views
• The End of the Irish Civil War and the 1923 Election in County Wexford – released August 25 – 120 views
Physical and online exhibition based on information procured at Digitisation Days in 2021 and 2022
Mary E. Daly – Gorey Library – Tuesday 7th November – “No Promised Land. Life in Ireland in the early years after independence”
Mary E. Daly is Professor Emeritus in Modern Irish History at University College Dublin. She is a member (and former President), of the Royal Irish Academy and the Academia Europaea and since 2012 she has been a member of the Expert Advisory Group on the Decade of Centenaries. A graduate of University College Dublin and Oxford University, she was awarded honorary doctorates by the National University of Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast and she is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Recent publications include Sixties Ireland. Reshaping the economy, state and society (Cambridge University Press, 2016); The social history of modern Ireland, (co-edited with Eugenio Biagini (Cambridge, 2017) and The battle to control female fertility in modern Ireland, (Cambridge, 2023).
Social History Project - “A social history of County Wexford in 1923”
An overview of what it was like to live then, focusing on local stories and advertisements from ‘The Echo’ newspapers. Wexford County Council will create a digital presentation at the end of this process.
Wexford Artists Bursaries
Wexford County Council invited applications for Decade of Centenaries Artists Bursaries.
These artists bursaries offered the opportunity to support and invest in new work developed by professional artists in all art forms based in County Wexford. Artists were asked to develop new work addressing themes of Commemoration during this period. The aim of this new work is to respond with sensitivity to the historical context of Wexford and promote a deeper understanding of the significant historical events of this period. The work encouraged reflection today about the multiple identities, traditions and perspectives that are part of the overall Irish historical experience.
Two artists qualified and were each awarded €5,000 each. The artists and projects were:
• Reenagh McCall – “My Enemy’s Enemy”- development of a new piece of writing for theatre that will explore the themes of Irish identity and the recognition and acceptance of multiple experiences during World War 1 and the War of Independence/Civil War.
• Sylvia Cullen – “Balm” – a literature project whereby Sylvia will write a trilogy of new short stories inspired by the theme of commemoration and give a public reading of them in three local venues across North Wexford: Askamore Community Centre, Hollyfort Schoolhouse & The Shamrock Hall, Kilanerin.
The 1916-23 period as reflected in 25 objects from Wexford County Archive’s collections
The 25 objects will include key documents, photographs, objects and textiles from the holdings of Wexford County Archive. This is an invaluable opportunity to showcase some of the unique and rare items from the archive’s holdings, all of which reveal an aspect – or the story of an active participant – during this turbulent period in the county’s history. Items to be featured include a mobilisation order (30 April 1916) issued to the Enniscorthy leaders requesting them to cease active hostilities; Captain Patrick Keegan’s Irish Volunteer tunic; Máire Moran’s Cumann na mBan brooch; the Enniscorthy 1st Battalion flag; Ballykinlar No. 2 Camp GAA Board minute book (1921). The main output will be a physical publication (with an online flipbook version) featuring a close-up image of each artefact accompanied by a synopsis of its provenance/historical significance. A launch will include a physical exhibition of items featured in the project.
Decade of Centenaries 2022
On 23rd February 2022, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Catherine Martin announced the 2022 Programme for the Decade of Centenaries.
Wexford County Council Decade of Centenaries Plan 2022
Wexford County Council's commemorative plan for 2022 features a number of initiatives which support the in-depth exploration of the events from a century ago in Wexford.
Initiatives that support broad public engagement:
Historian in Residence Programme
Our Historian-in-residence, Barry Lacey continues to collaborate with us. The residency provides a unique opportunity for Barry to conduct local research and to engage members of the public with the findings. During 2022 as the restrictions are lifted the residency will have a renewed focus on engagement with members of the community including older people and children and young people. Further walking tours and localised talks (in libraries and schools) will take place across the county. We will also post presentations by Barry in relation to the era on our social media platforms.
Public Lecture Programme
Some themes that have been identified for 2022 public lecture programme (either in-person or online) include:
- 'Máire Comerford (1893 - 1982), Revolutionary, Republican, Life-long activist and proud Wexford woman' - presentation by Hilary Dully, editor of 'On Dangerous Ground: A Memoir of the Irish Revolution' by Máire Comerford - held in Gorey Library on Thursday, 12th May.
- Michael Collins' rally and speech in St. Peter's Square, Wexford on 9th April 1922 - podcast by Des Kiely. The podcast is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel.
- 'Faith, Reason and Betrayal: The Irish Civil War' - talk by Diarmaid Ferriter - held in Wexford Library on Thursday, 2nd June.
- Online presentation on '1922 June election in County Wexford' - Historian-in-residence, Barry Lacey discusses the Wexford context of the 1922 Irish general election which took place in Southern Ireland on Friday, 16th June 1922. It was the first contested general election held in the jurisdiction using the single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel.
- Online presentation entitled 'Battle for Enniscorthy and the Outbreak of the Civil War in County Wexford' with Barry Lacey, Historian-in-Residence. On the 2nd of July 1922 the first instance of fighting in the Civil War in Wexford occurred when Free State forces clashed with Anti-Treaty IRA in Enniscorthy town. Three days later and similar would occur in Ferns village. Both conflicts resulting in three dead and many wounded. Barry discusses these events which marked the outbreak of the Civil War in County Wexford looking at their background, the fighting itself and the aftermath. The presentation is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel.
'The Treaty' Public Exhibition
Wexford County Council hosted 'The Treaty 1921: Records from the Archives' travelling exhibition in Wexford County Council, Carricklawn from 23rd May until 10th June. A display of relevant documents and photographs from Wexford County Archive's collections accompanied the main exhibition.
Artistic and creative community-led responses:
Wexford Playwright Commission Award - Commemoration
During 2022, the final part of phase one of this project will be completed. Extensive research will be undertaken by the playwright on the historical context of Wexford, linking with local community and with Wexford County Council Library and Archives Departments with their extensive digital archives of this period. This will lead to the development of a final script. Phase two will involve the playwright working with Wexford Arts Centre as producer and a local theatre group (professional or amateur) to stage this new theatre work which will tour locally and nationally in 2022 - 23.
Engagement with children and young people:
On Friday 1st April 2022, we launched our information booklet entitled 'County Wexford War of Independence and Civil War: an educational resource' which charts the events and timeline of the War of Independence and the Civil War in County Wexford. An electronic version of booklet can be found here.
It is a resource for young people from 4th class to 3rd year. The booklet was researched and written by local historian, Monica Crofton and edited by Executive Librarian, Hazel Percival and Library Assistant, Michael Dempsey. It was designed by Nicola Bailey.
Our Historian-in-residence visited schools throughout the year to discuss the booklet to students.
Access to primary resources and digitised material to aid research and understanding:
Public Digitisation Project
Following on from the successful digitisation day held in Wexford Town Library in December 2021, Wexford Libraries held two further digitisation days - in Wexford Town Library on Friday, 29th April and in Gorey Library on Friday, 13th May 2022.
Members of the public were invited to bring photographs, postcards, letters, diaries, medals or other memorabilia in relation to this turbulent time in our history. Staff in Wexford Libraries recorded the story of whom they belonged to and why they were important. The objects were scanned or photographed. Historians and experts were also on hand to discuss the significance of these treasures.
An archive and exhibition will be created as a result of these open days, which will be available for future researchers and historians.
Digitisation of Archival Collections
- Elements of the TD Sinnott Collection.
- Diary of Seán Sinnott during his time in Spike Island, 1921.
- Ballykinlar No. 2 GAA Camp minute book, 1921.
- Edward Roe Archive (catalogue and archives/artefacts).
- Training log manual belonging to Richard Hanrahan from North Street, New Ross who was Adjutant of 'A' Company, 1st Battalion, South Wexford Brigade, IRA.
Digitisation and Online Exhibition of Wicklow Gaol Autograph Book
Wicklow Gaol autograph book (1923) - the volume has been digitised and the project will translate into an online YouTube presentation of the volume with historical commentary, and a physical exhibition which will tour venues in Wexford and Wicklow.
Inventory of Memorials to the War of Independence and the Civil War in County Wexford
Wexford County Council wishes to conduct a study on memorialisation of the conflict of the War of Independence and Civil War in County Wexford. The commissioned study will map the memorials, their origins and significance in the memory of the conflict in the county.
Community funding will be available for local groups and local cultural and sporting institutions throughout County Wexford to play their part by developing a project to mark the centenary of historical events in their local area.
The funding will support local and community organisers to develop projects or events that commemorate the Decade of Centenaries: the War of Independence; the Civil War; labour unrest; social changes; cultural life in the 1920s; local responses to Dáil Éireann; the truce; partition; local connections with the wider world and new political representation at a local level. Funding can also be provided to allow advance planning of commemorative initiatives for 2023.
The terms of the scheme, Decade of Centenaries Grant Scheme 2022 Guidance document, are in accordance with the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. All initiatives and activities funded from this scheme must adhere to the public health advice and guidance, laid out by the HSE and the Government, with regard to COVID-19.
Heritage societies, local historians, and local community groups were invited to make applications. The closing date for applications was Friday, 29th April at 4 p.m.
The successful applicants were:
- Kilanerin-Ballyfad Community Development Association - Inch Historical Site Information Board.
- Nolan's Forge Bunclody - Day of Culture: This will be a cultural event with themes around life in early 20th century Ireland.
- North Wexford Traditional Singing Circle - Kathleen A. Browne: a community research, song composition and film project.
- St. Kearns Commemoration Committee - St. Kearns Commemoration of the participation of Cumann na mBan in the shaping of local history.
- The Gap Arts Festival - Discovering Caravaggio: in an imaginative live presentation, and video online, in Irish and English, award-winning writer and actor, Garrett Keogh traces his personal discovery of Carravaggio. This original project brings the audience on a unique journey that includes physics, art, history, the Garden of Gethsemane, Chinese and Arab astronomers, World War 1, the Easter Rising, and the shooting of Percival Lea Wilson in Gorey 1920.
- The Gap Heritage Group - Liam Mellows Centenary Commemorative pamphlet.
- Wexford Literary Festival - Living History event: Battle of Enniscorthy, 1st - 4th July 2022.
Wexford County Council Decade of Centenaries Plan 2021
County Wexford’s plans are featured on page 37 of the national programme.
Wexford County Council Decade of Centenaries Plan 2021
Wexford County Council Public Library and Archives Service offered a vibrant and exciting Decade of Centenaries Programme for 2021 which was approved by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. This plan was designed and adapted to fully comply with necessary Public Health restrictions imposed on the community due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The project plan was adapted to enable online delivery and to increase public access to the digital collection for the revolutionary period of the War of Independence and the Civil War in County Wexford.
There were a number of strands to Wexford County Council’s Decade of Centenaries plans for 2021.
History Ireland Hedge School Podcast
History Ireland Hedge School podcast which discusses historical events in Wexford from 1916 to 1923. You can listen to History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, in discussion with Bernard Browne, Ida Milne, William Murphy and Kevin Whelan. The panellists are eminent historians and have all published books in relation to this period in history. This podcast is available at Wexford Libraries YouTube channel, to download and listen here and https://www.historyireland.com/hedge-schools/ or wherever you get your podcasts.
Podcast on “Sport and War in County Wexford” by Paul Rouse
Wexford Libraries have enlisted Paul Rouse, Professor of History, University College Dublin to create a podcast on sport in County Wexford during this time. Paul has written extensively on the history of Irish sport and he writes a weekly column for the Irish Examiner. He is currently Co-Director of two major public history projects: Century Ireland (www.rte.ie/centuryireland), the main online portal for the Irish Decade of Commemorations, 1912-23; GAA Oral History Project (www.gaa.ie/the-gaa/oral-history/), the largest oral history project undertaken by any sporting organisation in the world.
This podcast is currently available on Wexford Libraries YouTube channel “Sport and War in County Wexford” by Paul Rouse.
Video on “Wexford’s Civil War Dead” by Aaron Ó Maonaigh
Wexford Libraries have commissioned Aaron Ó Maonaigh to do an online video presentation in relation to fatalities in Wexford during the Civil War. Aaron Ó Maonaigh is a native of Dublin with familial ties to Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. A graduate of Coláiste Phádraig (BA Hons) and Dublin City University (PME), he is currently employed by the Department of Education and Skills and teaches English and History at a post-primary school in Co. Dublin. He has previously published and presented on the subjects of Irish cultural identity and the politics of sport during the Irish Revolution (1912-1923), and the Civil War experience of Co. Wexford. His work has featured in publications by Routledge Press, Dictionary of Irish Biography, The Past: Organ of the Uí Cinsealaigh Society, and Cork University Press [forthcoming].
This video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel “Wexford’s Civil War Dead” by Aaron Ó Maonaigh
Video on “The Role of Cumann na mBan in Co. Wexford and the effects of conflict on women in the County” by Liz Gillis
Wexford Libraries have asked Liz Gillis to give us a glimpse of the experiences of women and children in County Wexford during the revolutionary period. Liz is a historian and author of "Women of the Irish Revolution" which tells the story of the role that women played both directly and indirectly in the Irish Revolution. She is currently Historian-in-residence at South Dublin Libraries. This online talk is brought to you via funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.
This video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel "Cumann na mBan in Co. Wexford and the effects of conflict on women and children in the County" by Liz Gillis
Video on “The Railways and County Wexford's revolutionary period" by Barry Lacey, Historian-in-residence
Presentation on "The Railways and County Wexford's revolutionary period" by Barry Lacey, Historian-in-residence at Wexford Libraries. As part of Heritage Week 2021, Barry delivered this talk in-person at Wexford and New Ross library branches. This is the online version. Barry has a higher Diploma in Archaeology and a Masters in Archaeological Excavation. He has a keen interest in the War of Independence in County Wexford and has already created a website dedicated to this research. Barry has worked on Decade of Centenary projects for Wexford County Council in the past, delivering a slideshow showcasing the various incidents that took place during the War of Independence in Wexford. Barry's residency is funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.
This video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel "The Railways and County Wexford's revolutionary period" by Barry Lacey, Historian-in-residence
Video on “The Miracle of Irish Independence" by Ronan McGreevy
In this online talk, Ronan McGreevy discusses the centenary of the War of Independence and its legacy. Ronan McGreevy is an Irish Times journalist, the author of "Whatever the Firing Line Extends: Ireland and the Western Front" and the editor of "Centenary: Ireland Remembers 1916", the official State book recalling the commemorations of 2016. His latest book "Great Hatred: The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson MP" will be published next year. Prior to joining The Irish Times in 2006, he wrote for The Times, The London Evening Standard and The Irish Post. He was also a radio and television producer with the BBC and Sky News.
This video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel "The Miracle of Irish Independence" by Ronan McGreevy
Video on “Wexford Women and the Road to Independence" by Historian-in-residence, Barry Lacey
Historian-in-residence, Barry Lacey will explore the role women played during the revolutionary period in County Wexford through their organisation, difficulties and hardships. He will also examine the legacy they left behind. Barry's residency is funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.
This video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel "Wexford Women and the Road to Independence" by Barry Lacey
This video is currently available on Wexford Public Libraries YouTube channel From Truce to Treaty Online Presentation by Wexford Libraries Historian in Residence Barry Lacey
Access to primary resources and digitised material to aid research and understanding
Public Digitisation Project
An open day was held on Friday, December 10th. This was for members of the public to present medals, correspondence, photos and stories of their family members to be digitised or deposited in the Archive. These memorabilia will then be available to view online in digital exhibition format.
Access to Local newspapers from the period
Completion of the further digitisation of local newspapers from the period making those resources available locally in County Wexford and online.
Cataloguing the TD Sinnott Collection
This is a notable private collection in Wexford County Archive which will be digitised, and elements of the collection will be made available on the Archives website.
Digitisation of Archival Collections
The Diary of Seán Sinnott during his time in Spike Island, 1921 was digitised.
Online exhibition series entitled ‘Archives from the Past’
The War of Independence in County Wexford as reflected in the holdings of Wexford County Archive (this will include the local government response).
The 2021 plan will also include various projects at Municipal District level and a creative community-led initiative which was coordinated by Wexford County Council Arts Department.
Decade of Centenary 2020
Projects completed under the Decade of Centenaries 2020 programme include:
War of Independence Lecture Series/Short films
Our lecture program of talks, short films or webinars by prominent historians of the revolutionary period includes:
- 'The Road to Independence' - War of Independence in Wexford film by Barry Lacey and Michael Fortune.
- The Burning of Wexford's 'Big Houses', 1919-1923 with Wexford based historian Dan Walsh.
- The intriguing tale of Captain Percival Lea Wilson of Gorey – A Marked Man! A short film from local historian Des Kiely.
- Short video, of various War of Independence sites of activity around County Wexford including old images and interviews with local community with Barry Lacey, archaeologist and social historian.
- A four part series on the War of Independence in Co. Wexford presented by Jarlath Glynn, originally broadcast March 2020 on South East Radio.
Decade of Centenaries 2016
- A short film, 'Bandages and Bullets', discussing the role of Cumann na mBan in the Enniscorthy Rising in 1916, produced and directed by Terence White. This film was commissioned by Wexford County Council and Enniscorthy Municipal District under the Decade of Centenaries commemorations 2016.
Decade of Centenaries 2020 and 2021
All presentations were funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.