Pearse Museum, dedicated to the memory of one of the 1916 Proclamation signatories, Padraig Pearse, and his brother, William, based in his former school at St. Enda’s Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, has achieved the highest standard possible under a museum national standards programme run by the Heritage Council. The museum, run by the Office of Public Works, also achieved a longstanding ambition this year with the launch of a new permanent exhibition on the life of Patrick Pearse, and last year it held a total of thirty different events.
Pearse Museum was one of seven of Ireland’s museums to be awarded the top standard of Full Accreditation, which requires complying with all 34 designated standards under the MSPI. It takes about five years to achieve all the standards and now, of the 57 participants in the programme, 29 museums have achieved full accreditation and 11 others have been awarded interim accreditation.
Originally awarded Full Accreditation in 2012, its Assessor commented: “The curator is to be congratulated on the exemplary fashion in which he manages and animates a museum which, for many, presents a complex story, dealing with concepts and ideals, matters which are difficult to communicate in any format, be they artistic or literary…”.
“The Museum continues to mount a very impressive educational and general activities programme…. including a series of lead-in exhibitions on aspects of the life of Patrick Pearse; [these are] innovative and of a high standard of interpretation and presentation, an achievement in a museum devoted largely to political and educational ideas and concepts as much as to the life and times of the Pearse family”.
Among the ways we marked the centenary of the deaths of Patrick and William Pearse this years was by planting two trees in the walled garden. The first tree was planted on the 3 May in memory of Patrick Pearse by Eoin MacLochlainn, a descendent of Pearse’s half sister, Mary Emily McGloughlin. The second was planted on 4 May by Noel Scarlett, whose mother Florence was the daughter of Pearse’s half-brother, James Vincent. Special thanks to Kevin Hutchinson and The Tree Council of Ireland for supplying us with some Irish oak saplings. among the lines quoted at the ceremony were these from Pearse’s unfinished work, ‘The Wood’ (1914)
From east and west and north and south, from every airt from which the wind blows, by every aerial path that bird follows, they came answering their tryst: seed of the oak, seed of the birch, seed of the yew, seed of the sally, seed of the rowan, seed of the holly, seed of the rugged Irish larch. And each seed of them grew into a tree, and each tree produced after its kind, until there rose the towering ponderous oaks and the lovely dappled-lightsome birches, and until hard holly and Irish larch waxed strong, and every tree of the trees of the wood according to its season. Then was heard in the loneliness of the desert a new music answering to the ancient music of the sea, to wit, the Harp of the Wood playing very sweetly, very sadly, whenever its strings were plucked by the invisible fingers of the wind.
Pearse’s court martial took place on 2 May, 1916 in the Gymnasium of Richmond Barracks. Below is the text of his address to the court:
”My sole object in surrendering unconditionally was to save the slaughter of the civil population and to save the lives of our followers who had been led into this thing by us. It is my hope that the British Government who has shown its strength will also be magnanimous and spare the lives and give an amnesty to my followers, as I am one of the persons chiefly responsible, have acted as C-in-C and president of the provisional Government. I am prepared to take the consequences of my act, but I should like my followers to receive an amnesty. I went down on my knees as a child and told God that I would work all my life to gain the freedom of Ireland. I have deemed it my duty as an Irishman to fight for the freedom of my country. I admit I have organised men to fight against Britain. I admit having opened negotiations with Germany. We have kept our word with her and as far as I can see she did her best to help us. She sent a ship with men. Germany has not sent us gold.”
We were delighted to host the launch of the GAA Senior Championship in the Museum today. As luck would have it Éanna de Búrca, son of Frank Burke, happened to be in the Museum. Frank Burke captained the victorious 1910-11 Scoil Èanna team, fought in the 1916 Rising, won three football All-Irelands and two hurling All-Irelands and was also the last headmaster of Scoil Èanna. Èanna is photoed with the original Delaney Cup beside Cian Murphy of the GAA.
This week the Pearse Museum was featured on Nationwide; you can catch up online on the RTE Player by clicking here.
1916 LETTERS / REPORT ANNE CASSIN
Often when we think of prominent figures from history they are synonymous in our minds with momentous events. Mention the name Patrick Pearse and the 1916 Rising springs to mind but in addition to being a revolutionary Pearse was also a teacher and the driving force behind Scoil Eanna. It functioned as a school for less than 30 years unfortunately, but counted among it’s pupils, three boys – Joseph, Donnall and Maurice McGilligan.