OUTSIDE OF Dublin, County Galway saw the most significant action of the 1916 Rising, and Galway's role in 1916, as well as the War of Independence and the Civil War, will be examined in a major new exhibition.
Revolution in Galway, 1913-1923 will be officially launched in the Galway City Museum this evening at 6.30pm. The exhibition is drawn from artifacts, photographs, documents, and memorabilia from individuals, communities, rganisations, and national cultural institutions, including a 'green ensign' flown from Moon's Corner during the visit of King Edward VII to Galway in 1903; a German Mauser from the Asgard; items belonging to Liam Mellows who lead the Western Rising, including a chess piece carved in Mountjoy Gaol before his execution in 1922; an RIC revolver captured during an IRA ambush at Merlin Park in 1920; a biretta belonging to Fr Michael Griffin; an autograph book from Ballykinlar internment camp belonging to volunteer Martin Crowe from Bohermore; and a bronze bust of Éamonn Ceannt by Domhnall Ó Murchadha.
The exhibition will also include a short silent presentation about the Galway Rising, a touch screen interactive with further information on people, places and memories of the local Rising, and a reading of the Proclamation by Galwegians, native and adopted. Each section within the exhibition has also been reproduced as a graphic novel for younger audiences.
While Dublin saw the main activity of the Rising, Brendan McGowan of the Galway City Museum said Galway's contribution cannot be discounted. "The Rising in Galway has been relegated to a mere footnote in the history of the revolutionary period," he said. "This is despite the fact that between 500 and 700 volunteers alongside 50 members of Cumann na mBan were active in Galway during Easter Week - a number greater than that of the GPO Garrison!"
"Without Galway, the Rising would truly have been a Dublin affair but the West gave it a national significance. The Galway rebels held the greatest landmass during the Rising. In the aftermath more than a sixth of the 1,800 or so detained in Frongoch, Wales were Galwegians."
Galway has other important connections to the Rising: Proclamation-signatory Éamonn Ceannt was a Galwayman, as was Thomas Clarke's father, while Patrick Pearse had strong connections to Connemara. There were also many Galwegians active in the capital during Easter Week.