28th Mar 2016

CCT staff behind 1916 Sackville Street Art Project

Sharon Harris Byrne, Registrar at CCT is one of the key drivers behind the 1916 Sackville Street Art Project.

The project has created 262 houses, one for each civilian killed in the 1916 Rising. The idea came to Ciara O’Keeffe, a ceramics teacher, while she was doing a project on dwellings. The houses are built out of materials such as ceramics, wood, fabric and stone.

During the Rising, 485 people were killed. Of these, 262 were civilians, ordinary people going about their day, caught in the crossfire (some of them literally).

“A lot of them were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, just crossing the road,” says Sharon Harris-Byrne.

The team compiled the list of all 262 civilians with the help of Glasnevin Cemetery, and approached schools, youth groups, prisons and individuals alike. Anyone who volunteered was then able to choose their own civilian to research and build a house for.

“It’s amazing. They’re going home. The 1916 Sackville Street project will be on what was Sackville Street and the people that we aim to remember will be home,” says O’Keeffe.

This is a bonus to the main exhibition, which is taking place in April at the Botanic Gardens, another place they consider perfect to show off the houses. “Every house deserves a garden, and where better to display 262 of them than in the National Botantic Gardens. The majority of them are buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, so practically next door. We couldn’t find anywhere more apt,” says Griffin.

Once the exhibitions are packed up and the houses returned to their creators, the 1916 Sackville Street team are keen to make sure the civilians won’t be forgotten once again, so they have compiled a book containing pictures of all the houses, along with details about the civilians, the artists and the thoughts behind each house.

“We just want the civilians to be remembered, that’s our main aim, and secondary to that we would like to raise some money for charity. By doing the book, hopefully we will. We want some good to come out of it. Any money we raise will go to charity, and we’re hoping for it to go to a homeless charity. For all of these houses to be able to help the homeless would be amazing,” says O’Keeffe.

RTÉ’s Remembering the Rising is exhibiting all 262 houses on O’Connell Street on March 28th for one day as part of its centenary programme. The exhibition will open at the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, April 8th-24th.

Full story here.