From now until March 12, the Aidan Heavey Public Library in Athlone is showcasing an exhibition borrowing its title from the famous line by W.B. Yeats: A Terrible Beauty is Born. This will be the first of two library exhibitions focusing on the 1916 Rising.
A second exhibition entitled Ripples in the Rockpool will be launched in April. This willl focus on the Westmeath connections to the 1916 Rising, and if readers have material they feel might be suitable for display during this exhibition they should contact Gearoid O’Brien in Athlone Library with details.
A Terrible Beauty is Born deals with the national figures of the Rising including the seven signatories of the Proclamation and the nine others who were executed during 1916. This exhibition will include rare material from the Library Collection including a rare half-sheet of the original printing of the Proclamation and a conjuring book which once belonged to Thomas Clarke.
The exhibition will also feature a number of gems from the Aidan Heavey Collection. Aidan Heavey (1927-2015 ) had a particular interest in the history and literature of the Easter Rising and the exhibition will include several unique items: books and memorabilia relating to such figures as Padraig Pearse, Roger Casement, Thomas MacDonagh, Eamonn Ceannt, and Joseph Mary Plunkett. One particularly poignant item is a copy of Joseph Plunkett’s poetry collection The Circle and the Sword which he inscribed to his fiancée, Grace Gifford, and is dated New Year 1916.
Membership of the library has been free to all since January 1, 2016 – so even if you haven’t been to the library in recent times why not drop in to view the exhibition and to rekindle your reading habits.