On 21st May last, Killererin Heritage Society embarked on a tour of 1916 sites in Dublin. In order to get the most out of our visit, we decided that we would concentrate on just three sites. These were Collins Barracks which we were booked into for 11 a.m, The Garden of Remembrance and last but by no means least, the GPO.
We left the car-park in Barnaderg at 8a.m. sharp and were just in time for our 11 a.m. booking in Collins Barracks.. The very helpful staff in the Barracks, advised us to go to the Asgard exhibition before we toured the 1916 exhibition and this we did. Were we delighted! The Asgard stood magnificent with its brasses polished to within an inch of their life in the centre of the floor. There were two floors here so it was possible to look down on the Asgard from a height and were privileged to have both an external view and a view of the internal works of the boat.
Proclaiming the Republic exhibition
Buoyed up by this experience, we then began our tour of the 1916 exhibition entitled “Proclaiming the Republic”. This was a self-guided tour and the committee were slightly anxious as to how this would unfold. However, we needn’t have worried, as it was very easy to navigate and everyone did it at their own pace. We were a mixed group of 43 people, from children of 8 years of age to retirees of mixed vintage. There was something for everybody. All enjoyed the exhibition for their own reasons. Personally, I found it fascinating, and every time you turned a corner, there was something new to discover. We all toured at our leisure and when we were finished we rambled over to the award-winning café Brambles which is on site and enjoyed a very satisfying lunch.
Garden of Remembrance
With our hunger abated, we went to the Garden of Remembrance from where we made the short walk to the GPO. The Garden of Remembrance was interesting and an oasis of calm in the centre of the bustling city but unfortunately just after entering the gardens, we could feel the drops of rain and knew that a shower was imminent. We cut short our visit and made our way to our main focus for the day the GPO. Some of us got wet but others were wiser and took shelter until the shower ended.
Once again, we were met by very friendly staff in the GPO who shepherded us in to a waiting area and had a guide give us a very interesting talk on the artwork hanging on the walls in this area and had a few tales to tell of 1916 including the bullet holes that are still visible today in the columns outside the GPO. We were then ushered through to the main exhibition of the GPO. Once again, it was a fascinating experience if somewhat overwhelming. Our overall impression of this exhibition was that there were too many people in a confined space, so it was difficult to take in. There was so much information and a fascinating 3D film of the battle which was the triumph of the tour for many. After spending some time here, some of us retired to the coffee shop upstairs and others went for some retail therapy before it was time to return home.
We stopped for some very welcome food in Scanlans in Kinnegad on the way home who looked after children and adults very well and returned to the car-park at approximatley 9p.m. tired but happy.