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Inspiring Ireland 1916 Blog: Art O'Murnaghan's Leabhar na hAiséirighe

Inspiring Ireland 1916 blog: Art O'Murnaghan's Leabhar na hAiséirighe (The Book of Resurrection)

by Dr. Kayla Rose, Bath Spa University

A new blog reflecting on the Inspiring Ireland 1916 digital exhibitions, A Closer Look at Inspiring Ireland 1916 Objects, has been launched. Inspiring Ireland 1916 is the next phase of the multiple-award-winning cultural heritage resource Inspiring Ireland. It presents a brand new series of exhibitions of cultural artefacts, stories and interpretation that surround the events of 1916. The first entry in the blog considers Art O'Murnaghan's illuminated manuscript Leabhar na hAiséirighe, a page of which features in Inspiring Ireland 1916. (The entire book can be seen as part of the National Musuem of Ireland's 'Proclaiming a Republic' exhibition). 

Commissioned by the Irish Republican Memorial Committee (IRMC), Leabhar na hAiséirighe was completed in three stages between 1924 and 1951. Combining Irish mythology with the people, places and events from the Easter Rising and the subsequent fight for independence, O’Murnaghan’s work echoes the traditional style of Celtic art and Irish manuscript illumination without ever being a mere copy. In 1882, Douglas Hyde said, 'Celtic art is the best claim we have upon the world’s recognition of us as a separate nationality,' and throughout the nineteenth - and early twentieth - centuries, Ireland’s artists and writers revived its past glories to commemorate moments in its present. Along with many of his contemporaries, it seems that O’Murnaghan took these ideas to heart.