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Taoiseach launches 1916 Virtual Tour on Google Cultural Institute

Dublin Rising 1916-2016 is a virtual city streets tour exploring the iconic places, people and stories of 100 years ago, narrated by actor Colin Farrell

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, were at Google today for the launch of Dublin Rising 1916-2016, an interactive Google Street View tour, narrated by actor Colin Farrell, which lets visitors virtually explore the city streets, events and people who shaped history 100 years ago. The tour was developed by Google in partnership with Ireland 2016, with expert advice from a dedicated team of archivists and historians, and resources from some of our National Cultural Institutions, museums and academic institutions. The virtual tour and exhibitions will allow millions of people around the world to share in Ireland’s 2016 commemorations and learn more about the 1916 uprising right from their phone, tablet or computer.

Throughout the tour, visitors will stop at city centre locations as they are today, hear what happened there and click to explore photos, videos, stories and witness statements from the Dublin of 1916. As a person stands looking at the GPO of today, for example, they’ll see the GPO as it was 100 years ago, destroyed by shell fire. They’ll hear witness statements from rebels who fought there and hear stories of all the people involved. All artefacts in the tour have been curated by the National Library, Military Archives, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, the Abbey Theatre, the Royal Irish Academy, and the Library of Trinity College Dublin alongside Century Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD said: “2016 is an important year that allows us to explore and understand the events not only of 1916, but the subsequent events that led to the establishment of our independent state. In acknowledging our past, we are creating stronger foundations for a more vibrant and shared future. I want to congratulate Google, Ireland 2016 and the cultural partners who have come together to create this unique online experience. They are enabling all the people of Ireland, the diaspora and others around the world to commemorate, learn about and explore the events of 1916 and the 100 years since then and to celebrate the country we are today.”

Ronan Harris, VP and Head of Google Ireland said; “2016 is a significant year for Ireland, commemorating as it does the events of 1916 which subsequently led to the birth of the modern Ireland we are today. In commemoration, we have worked with a number of partners and historians to help people in Ireland and around the world, explore, learn and talk about the people, events, places and objects that shaped these defining events. Google is about giving everyone access to the best information, culture and experiences through technology and this tour gives people a way to peel back the layers of history and experience what life was like 100 years ago in Ireland.”

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD., added: “The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme has been a hugely collaborative effort, so I was delighted that we were able to team up with Google to produce this amazing interactive historical tour. Getting Colin Farrell on board was a huge boost to the project; his international star power will no doubt encourage people from right around the world to go online to check out one of the most important periods in Irish history in an exciting and interactive way. Making material from our Cultural Institutions available via Google’s Cultural Institute will also open up our history to a huge global audience. I would like to thank everyone at Google who provided their expertise to make this exciting project a reality.”

Colin Farrell, Actor, said: “Travelling and working all over the world means that I don’t get to go home to Ireland very often so anything I can do to get home, even virtually, is a blessing. Growing up in Dublin, the events of 1916 are a key part of our schooling and culture and I’m glad now that anyone around the world can learn more about it and see why it had such an impact on modern day Ireland just by picking up their phone or computer.”

Most of the artefacts featured in the tour will also be available for anyone to explore in virtual exhibitions on Google’s Cultural Institute. The exhibitions will tell the stories of the people who were involved, from the women rebels of Cumann na mBan, to the messengers who carried information around the city; from members of the British forces in Ireland, to the leaders of the Rising.

The Google Cultural Institute, which partners with hundreds of museums, art galleries and archives around the world, aims to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone, and to digitally preserve this material in order to educate and inspire future generations.

Dublin Rising 1916-2016 Tour can be accessed at: https://dublinrising.withgoogle.com/