Exploring life in 1916 through the letters of the period

An exciting 1916 project is touring the country at the moment inviting local communities to have their 1916 family letters digitised and transcribed for posterity.

Exploring life in 1916 through the letters of the period

So far over 2,300 letters from across the country have been digitised and this Thursday, November 26, the event moves to Cork where the UCC School of History will host the project in the Boole Library on campus from 2pm-8.30pm.

The public are welcome to bring any letters they have from that period or simply drop-in at any stage during the free event and hear what the Cork letters say about life in the city and county.

‘Letters of 1916’ is Ireland’s first public humanities project. It is creating a crowdsourced digital collection of letters written between 1 November 1915 and 31 October 1916.

To date it has collected over 2,300 letters from over 20 institutions and 40 private collections. These letters cover a variety of topics ranging from the Easter Rising to art, culture, family life and the Great War.

Through these letters the project is bringing to life the written words, the last words, the unspoken words and the forgotten words of that momentous year in Irish history. It is creating an online collection for the public, created by the public, which is adding a new perspective to life in this period, a confidential glimpse into the public and private worlds of early twentieth century Ireland.

From 2pm in the Research Skills Teaching Room of the Boole Library, the project team will be doing a hands-on workshop with intermittent pop-up talks by Daniel Breen (Cork Public Museum) and Brian McGee (Cork City and County Archives).

This will be followed by refreshments in the UCC Staff Dining Room and then, in the Boole II lecture theatre, a series of short talks by Susan Schreibman (Editor-in-chief of Letters of 1916), Gabriel Doherty and John Borgonovo (both UCC School of History), and Helene O’Keeffe (St. Angela’s College) based on letters from Cork, illuminating both everyday life as well as how individuals dealt with momentous events of the period.

For further details on the project please see

letters1916.ie or email letters1916@gmail.com or contact Gabriel Doherty, UCC School of History, Tel. 021- 4902783.

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