Éamonn Ó Modhráin – A Revolutionary Journey was launched on Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 7.00 p.m. by the Mayor of Kildare, Cllr. Brendan Weld in the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Following the formal launch there was two short presentations from James Durney, Kildare’s historian-in-residence, and Robert Doyle historian, followed by a question and answer session.
Discovered while clearing out an attic by family member Robert Doyle, Athgarvan, in 2010, the Ó Modhráin family’s documents and personal effects are a collection of historical items that give a unique insight into Irish nationalism at a local level. Éamonn Ó Modhráin (1881-1954) was a prominent nationalist and republican in Kildare during the early years of the 20th century. He was active in the Gaelic League, was arrested and imprisoned in 1916 and prominent in the War of Independence and Civil War.
Stored inside a large metal container were numerous letters and postcards written by Éamonn, while in Wakefield Jail, Frongoch prison camp and Mountjoy Jail. The treasure trove of historical material included autograph books containing the names of many of his fellow prisoners, as well as letters from his two sisters, Úna and Treása Ní Mhodhráin, who lived in Dublin during the period of the Rising and were members of Cumann na mBan.
The majority of the documents were on display for the first time. Some of the unique items included a damaged fob watch, a set of bagpipes, a handmade Celtic brooch engraved with “Mountjoy Jail EOM”, a slightly moth-eaten cloth badge with the prisoner number A356 stamped on it, and a knife, fork and spoon wrapped in paper stating, “Used by E. Ó Modhráin in Wakefield Prison, 1916.”
The exhibition ran from 28th February- 18th March 2016 in the McKenna Gallery, Riverbank Arts centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
Exhibition on Tour
Following the Riverbank showing, the exhibition travelled around the library network until the end of 2016 as follows:
- Kildare Library 4 April to 23 April 2016
- Leixlip Library 3 May 2016 to 21 May 2016
- Athy Library 13 June 2016 to 2 July 2016
- Naas Library 2 August 2016 to 20 August 2016
- Celbridge Library 5 September 2016 to 24 September 2016
- Maynooth Library 3 October 2016 to 22 October 2016
- Newbridge Library 1 November 2016 to 19 November 2016
The Kildare Decade of Commemorations Programme 1916-2016 features over 100 unique projects. It is full of exciting themes, events and community led activities such as concerts, school pageants, book launches, drama, musical and dance performances, art exhibitions, lectures and seminars.