1916 Easter Rising: Photographs of aftermath published online
- 12 August 2015
- From the section Europe
Photographs showing a bird's eye view of the destruction caused to Dublin city centre during the 1916 Easter Rising have been published online.
The pictures were taken three weeks after the rebellion against British rule was quashed by troops.
They are the work of the Limerick-born scholar, Thomas Johnson Westropp.
He climbed onto the 121ft high Dublin landmark, Nelson's Pillar, and onto the roofs of surviving buildings to capture aerial images of the bomb damage.
Much of the Irish capital's inner city was reduced to rubble during Easter week 1916, as British troops bombed key buildings from where rebels had launched attacks.
Westropp went to great lengths and even greater heights to document the destruction of the city centre, and to ensure his record was preserved for future reference.
He took the photographs on 17 and 18 May 1916 and quickly archived 40 images in an album called 'Ruined buildings in Dublin after the Sinn Féin rebellion'.
The following month, he presented copies of the album to the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and Trinity College, Dublin.
His 99-year-old photographs have now been published online by the Digital Repository of Ireland , an internet project led by the RIA.
RIA librarian Siobhan Fitzpatrick paid tribute to Westropp's "archival commitment".
"The fact that he had the images developed, printed and mounted in an album within a week conveys a certain sense of urgency and the fact that he deposited the album with the academy for safe keeping shows his strong archival sense and the importance he placed on preserving the record," she said.
Westropp, who was in his mid 50s at the time, had studied civil engineering at Trinity College before taking a job as a surveyor.
Dr Sharon Webb from the Digital Repository of Ireland said Westropp's approach to documenting the destruction is "representative of his training and of the accuracy and care with which he approached his work".
"When we look beyond the buildings, the rubble, the dust, we get a sense of what it might have been like to stand amongst the chaotic aftermath: photos in the collection depict the clean-up operation, the onlookers, the workers, the British soldiers standing guard, and life getting back to 'normal' as people walk past the ruins," Dr Webb wrote in her blog.
The repository is an online resource dedicated to preserving and disseminating data relating to the island's social and cultural heritage.