Exhibition of The War of Independence and Civil War in County Wexford

Exhibition of The War of Independence and Civil War in County Wexford will take place in Wexford Library on 8th February to 15th March 2024.

The Civil War in Ireland ended on 24th May 1923, following five years of unrest and political, economic and social turmoil. People lost their lives, their family and friends, property and way of life. Many others, local people who lived in this extraordinary time, witnessed and participated in the turbulent events that led to emergence of our nation.

This exhibition commissioned by Wexford County Council Library Service and scripted by Celestine Murphy, historian, traces the progression to this War of Independence and Civil War in County Wexford.

Beginning with the death of John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party on 6 March 1918, followed by the first elections in eight years that December, two Sinn Féin candidates, Roger M Sweetman and James Ryan were elected. They replaced two IPP candidates Sir Thomas Esmonde and Peter Ffrench. Both Ryan and Sweetman were present in the Mansion House, Dublin on Tuesday, January 21 1919, when the first Dáil Éireann met and proclaimed itself the only legislative assembly for Ireland.

This exhibition charts the breakdowns that ultimately led to the outbreak of hostilities in County Wexford following the declaration of the War of Independence from 21 January 1919 to 11 January 1921. During the truce period from 11 July 1921 to 28 July 1922 and in the Civil War from 28 June 1922 to 24 May 1923.

In this exhibition for the first time, locally held records, medals, memorabilia, photographs and documents held by families of several of the Wexford people involved are used to tell the history of County Wexford in this period. This data was

collected at community archive days held in Wexford and Gorey libraries in 2021 and 2022 where people were invited to bring in their family treasures and tell their stories.

These personal accounts have now been added to the historical reportage from the time and crossed referenced with national records such as those from the Bureau of Military History to create this exhibition.

The Leas Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Ger Carthy says “I’m delighted to launch this exhibition, The War of Independence and Civil War in County Wexford here at the County Library. This local knowledge and family held records provides new evidence to add to the historical record of County Wexford. And as important, it also given us the opportunity to put on record the contribution made by families whose ancestors were directly involved in events which led to the formation of our state.”

This exhibition was launched at Wexford library this Thursday 8th February at 7pm. The exhibition can be viewed daily at Wexford Library during library opening hours until Friday 15th March. All are welcome to attend.

This exhibition is funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.

For further information, visit the exhibition at Wexford library or contact the Local Studies Librarian at 053 919 6330 or libraryhq@wexfordcoco.ie

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