Free events to mark centenary of the end of WWI

A diverse programme of talks, tours, lectures and more will mark the centenary of the Armistice and the end of WWI here at the NLI. The programme of events will run from Sunday, 4th November to Saturday, 10th November. It will be headlined by a special production by award-winning composer Michael Holohan, and also features short pop-up talks in our exhibition World War Ireland.

Drawing on the personal letters and diaries of both his paternal and maternal granduncles and the diary of a British soldier, ‘Gallipoli, the GPO and Flanders’ will see Michael Holohan take visitors on a musical and literary journey. The production features the real life stories and eyewitness accounts of four brave men who played a direct part in a number of significant events in world history from 1914-1918. Performers will include actor Barry McGovern, playwright and actor Donal O’Kelly and the RTÉ ConTempo String Quartet. Supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, this free event will take place on Sunday, 4th November at 3pm. Booking is essential via

Further highlights from the programme, which takes place at the Library’s Kildare Street buildings, include:
• Lecture: ‘From shoe box to window box – commemoration of the First World War in Ireland, 1919 to 2016’. Join historian and writer, Tom Burke MBE as he considers how the commemoration of WWI has changed from the homecoming, through the 1920s and the years that followed up to the time of the peace process, and in more recent times. Tuesday, 6th November at 7pm.
• Pop-up talk: ‘Harry Clarke War Memorial Records’. Learn about renowned stained-glass artist Harry Clarke's elaborately illustrated 'Ireland’s Memorial Records 1914-1918', which honour the almost 50,000 Irish people who were killed in action or died from their wounds during this period. Wednesday, 7th November at 1pm and Saturday, 10th November at 2pm, in the exhibition World War Ireland
• Pop-up talk: ‘WWI recruitment propaganda posters’. NLI staff member and historian, Maeve Casserly, will explore the role and impact of colourful and bold posters which urged Irish and British men to join the war effort, and how these posters became an increasingly sophisticated means of propaganda as the war progressed. Friday, 9th November, 1pm,  in the exhibition World War Ireland.
• Pop-up talk: ‘Women and work in WWI’. This talk, also from NLI staff member and historian Maeve Casserly, will examine one particular effect of the war in Ireland - the increase of women in the workplace in the absence of men who were fighting abroad. Saturday, 10th November, 12pm, in the exhibition World War Ireland.

Commenting, Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins, said: “The National Library has been proud to play a key role in remembering Ireland’s involvement in World War I over the last four years. From organising collecting roadshows for family memorabilia, to staging exhibitions and events for more than 200,000 visitors, we engaged with audiences from families and young children to active retirement groups, and partnered with organisations around the country and internationally to share our rich resources. 

As we approach the centenary of the Armistice, we have put together a varied programme of free events to offer insight into this period of history. I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to visit our World War Ireland exhibition, which illustrates the Irish experience of the four years of war in a nuanced and vivid way, through the Library’s holding of personal letters, diaries, newspaper reports, cartoons, and leaflets. Our pop-up talks will take place in this exhibition and there will also be free guided tours in Irish and English as part of the programme, and free copies of our history-based comic books co-produced with Nerve Centre in Northern Ireland.”

More details on all events

Main Entrance, Kildare St.
Main Entrance, Kildare St.
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