Last weekend, thousands of artists queued up in the foyer of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin to submit their artworks for possible inclusion in the RHA annual exhibition. Yes, it was earlier than usual this year, that the huddled masses gathered, but there is a reason for this. As a way of commemorating the Easter Rising of 1916, the annual exhibition is returning to its original dates and will be open to the public from the 22nd of March, 2016.
But did you ever wonder what happened to the submitted artworks in 1916? They were all destroyed of course. Burnt to cinders! The original RHA building was in Lower Abbey Street, not far from the GPO, the headquarters of the rebellion. After the rebels proclaimed a Republic and took over key buildings in the second city of the British Empire, the gunboat Helga sailed up the river Liffey and began firing shells and incendiaries towards the action.
Now, needless to say, I know very little about about military hardware but it seems to me that the boys on the Helga could’ve done with some target practice before they began their onslaught on the city. The Imperial Hotel, located over Clery’s department store was the first building to be set on fire but soon, most of the buildings between that and the Liffey were in flames.
And they had another big gun positioned in Phibsboro. Between them, they shelled large parts of the city throughout Easter Week and burned much of it to the ground.
(See the results in the short film below)
PS you might have to click into the blog to see the actual film. Your comments are always welcome. Click on the brown speech bubble and put your comment there, thanks, eoin