If there’s one year that resonates with Irish people all around the globe it’s the year 1916. Many think this was the year we got our independence from Britain but that’s wrong. Instead, 1916 was the year of the Easter Rising, a rebellion staged mainly in Dublin where we proclaimed ourselves a Republic and began the long, arduous fight to independence which would come six years later.
Two years ago we celebrated the centenary of this momentous event. There was a sense of pride in the air; proud at what we’d achieved and proud at being Irish. This was also the year that the GPO opened a new exhibit; GPO Witness History.
The GPO was the HQ of the rising. It’s where Padraig Pearse read aloud the proclamation, where the Irish flag was flown from the roof and where many of the signatories of the proclamation escaped onto Moore Street, only later to surrender.
It’s incredibly fitting that this building, steeped in history and still showing remnants of the fighting (bullet holes in the pillars) should be the home to this exhibit.
The museum is small but packed with tons of information. From booths with screens playing interviews with some of Ireland's famous historians, to immersive exhibits detailing historical posters, weapons and uniforms to boards packed with information there is something for everyone.
It’s a self guided tour which complements the huge amount of information available as you can take in what you want and go at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed.
In the centre of the space is a semi circle cinematic experience showing a dramatic retelling of what occurred during the days of the rising. It’s well done and offers museum goers a chance to step back in time and see events that occurred first hand.
This exhibit is well worth a visit if you love history or want to find out more about the Rising and our long journey to Independence.