Contributed by Ciarán Wallace
An interesting new exhibition of images from the Black & Tan and Civil Wars has opened at the National Photographic Archive in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Alongside some familiar shots of Irish politicians and British military figures are many less well known images; the streets of Dublin and Cork during the War of Independence, domestic scenes of Arthur Griffith with his children and National Army troops embarking on the coastal voyage to capture Cork city. The poster image for the exhibition is among a number of photographs showing locals salvaging firewood and scrap from barracks destroyed by retreating Republican forces. Indeed the sight of individual civilians and crowds helps to emphasise the local and intimate nature of events in the revolutionary period. The caption cards carry original text by Rev. Denis Wilson, a chaplain to the National Army, describing the works of Dublin photographer W.D. Hogan. While the information sheet explains Wilson’s strongly pro-Irish and pro-Treaty sentiment, this is not made clear on the captions themselves, with result that the National Photographic Archive appears to hold these somewhat biased opinions. Simple quotation marks around descriptions of England’s minions at leisure, the innocent pastimes of the Irish or enthusiastic crowd welcoming National Army troops into Cork might resolve the confusion. The excellent reproduction quality, and the large format of the prints, makes this engaging exhibition well worth a visit.
Witness to War runs from January to mid-May 1010, entrance is free. Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 10am to 5pm Sat: 10am to 2pm.