Doireann Markham completed an MA in Irish History at University College Cork. She completed further research in twentieth-century Irish history at University College Dublin, where her research examined death and burial during the revolutionary period and in its immediate aftermath. As a teacher and a former tour guide at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum and at the GAA Museum Croke Park, she is committed to the promotion of public history and making history accessible to the widest possible audience. Currently based on the Aran Islands, Doireann blogs on Doireann in America and is currently working on a novel set in post-civil war Ireland.
Kerry Sloane is a Cork-based graphic designer, brand and web developer. Starting his career over 20 years ago in the signwriting industry he eventually progressed into the commercial design and print industry before eventually completing a degree in Visual Communication in 2019. He now runs his own design business with clients in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
The People’s Archive | The Revolution Collection
During the first lockdown, Kerry Sloane was spring-cleaning when he happened upon a first edition copy of The Revolutionist, a play by Terence McSwiney, the former Lord Mayor of Cork whose 1920 hunger strike drew the eyes of the world to Ireland’s struggle for independence.
A later discussion with historian Doireann Markham quickly turned to the wealth of treasures potentially lying away in other attics of Cork City. The letters carefully minded, or the objects lovingly tucked away, have much to teach us about ordinary life during the revolutionary period. About ordinary lives, lived in extraordinary times. A hundred years ago may seem a far distant time, but it is recent enough for its photos, objects, items and memories to survive. Inherited stories and traditions live on in memories and minds; they should be recorded before they are lost to us.
But in a time of COVID, with movement restricted and access to cultural institutes so uncertain, how could such treasures be shared with the public? It was then that the conversation turned to digital approaches, specifically developing an online platform for sharing these treasures.
And hence, the People’s Archive was born. To share the stories of ordinary lives, lived in extraordinary times.