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Great Hunger Institute to open new exhibit
Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac will launch a new exhibit in the Arnold Bernhard Library on March 22, commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Ireland’s quest for independence from Britain.
The exhibit, The Seed of the People, is an ode to the Easter Rising that occurred in Ireland on Easter Monday in 1916. The exhibit will mimic the Easter Rising that took place in Ireland 100 years ago, according to Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute Christine Kinealy.
“1916 is a pivotal year in Irish history because of the rebellion, which started on Easter Monday, and although it only lasted five days, and in some ways it failed, it really set the agenda for an independent Ireland,” Kinealy said.
The Seed of the People will feature many different original artifacts and documents, Kinealy said. Some of those will be: a newspaper published in Ireland shortly after the Easter Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
“We’re very excited about the exhibit because we’re borrowing a number of original artifacts, including a proclamation,” she said. “The proclamation is our founding document for independence. It’s being brought from Ireland. There are a few in existence, but not many.”
This will be the third exhibit the institute has had featured in the library.
The exhibit will be on display in the Arnold Bernhard Library from March 22 to Sept. 30. It will feature the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in its entirety. It will be featured alongside a version of the document that only has half the proclamation on it.
“The proclamation had to be printed in secrecy,” Kinealy said. “Obviously the Irish nationalists didn’t want the British government to know about it so they printed it, and they ran out of typeface so they printed it in two halves.”
Kinealy said a colleague in New Jersey who has a half of the proclamation will bring it to the university to display it.
“We’ll be able to display the full proclamation and the half proclamation, which is probably the first time ever in the world they have appeared together,” she said.
Caroilin Callery, from Strokestown Park in Ireland, will bring the proclamation to Quinnipiac, according to Kinealy. Callery is the daughter of the founder of Strokestown Park, the first place to open a museum about the Great Hunger in Ireland. Some Quinnipiac students have studied at Strokestown Park for a week during the summer.
The proclamation is a document declaring Ireland’s independence from the British. The document was first read by a man named Patrick Pearse outside the General Post Office in Dublin, according to Kinealy. During the five-day Easter Rising, Pearse was seen as the leader for Ireland’s independence.
In order to mimic that reading, Irish poet Des Egan will stand on the steps of the Arnold Bernhard Library and read the proclamation document at a podium, Kinealy said. This reading will take place on Easter Monday–just as the reading in Ireland did 100 years ago–at noon.
“Especially for Irish people and Irish-Americans, the proclamation is a very emotional document and to see an original that’s 100 years old, to actually have a copy here at Quinnipiac, I think is wonderful,” Kinealy said.
An invitation-only reception will be held in Mancheski Executive Seminar Room in the Lender School of Business on March 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to celebrate the launch of the new exhibit. The College of Arts and Sciences, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum and Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute are hosting the event in collaboration with the Arnold Bernhard Library.
Though they have similar names, Kinealy said the institute is different from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum. Unlike the museum, the institute is on campus. It is through the institute that students can apply to be an Irish studies minor, and Kinealy said the institute has great connections in Ireland which supports the study abroad program in Cork. The institute is also working toward creating an internship program in Ireland for students.