Lord Mayor Launches The Peoples Archive

12 May 2021

Call out for members of the public to search their attics and presses for stories, photographs, letters and witness accounts which showcase life in Cork between the years 1913 and 1923

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh officially launches 'The People’s Archive'.  Funded by Cork City Council’s Commemorative Fund, The People’s Archive website which has been created by historian Doireann Markham and designer Kerry Sloane is a community-based project which provides a platform for the people of Cork to share personal stories, photographs, letters, objects and items celebrating everyday life in Cork between 1913 and 1923.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said: "I am delighted to launch 'The People’s Archive' and congratulate Doireann and Kerry on their initiative.  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."

The People’s Archive Team is inviting members of the public to share original photographs, stories and materials such as witness accounts, letters and diary entries that vividly illustrate life in Cork City between the years of 1913 and 1923. These objects will be photographed, documented and presented in The Revolution Collection on www.thepeoplesarchive.ie

The People’s Archive aims to explore and showcase ordinary life in Cork City against the backdrop of extraordinary events such as the 1916 Rising, the first sitting of Dáil Eireann, the struggle for Independence, the foundation of the Irish Free State, Partition, the Civil War and many other key events and themes form the period.

The idea for the website came when Kerry Sloane was spring-cleaning during the first lockdown and he discovered in his own home a first edition copy of the Revolutionist, a play by Terence MacSwiney, the former Lord Mayor of Cork whose 1920 Hunger Strike drew the eyes of the world to Ireland’s struggle for independence. A discussion with historian Doireann Markham turned to the wealth of treasures potentially lying away in other attics in Cork.

Doireann Markham said “As a historian, I am extremely excited about what might emerge from Cork City’s attics, presses and drawers, but what I love about this project is its accessibility. The online archive will allow these stories and materials to be shared with the widest audience, regardless of where people are or what restrictions are in place.”

Kerry Sloane added “We have been extremely fortunate to have the support of Cork City Council in bringing this idea to life. It is a special thing to get to shine the spotlight on overlooked stories and a privilege to be able to highlight ordinary experiences and thus offer new perspectives on such a formative period in Ireland’s history”

In a time of COVID, with movement restricted and access to cultural institutes uncertain, the People’s Archive will digitally share the stories of ordinary lives, lived in extraordinary times with the public.

See www.thepeoplesarchive.ie to learn more