Century Ireland brings the decade of centenaries alive for internet generation

New website will deliver the news as it happened 100 years ago for the next decade

Liz McGrath and Paul Donnelly at Government Buildings to mark the setting up of  Century Ireland, an  online newspaper which  will contain contemporary accounts of momentous events from major newspapers at the time, both national and provincial, including The Irish Times. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Liz McGrath and Paul Donnelly at Government Buildings to mark the setting up of Century Ireland, an online newspaper which will contain contemporary accounts of momentous events from major newspapers at the time, both national and provincial, including The Irish Times. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Tue, May 7, 2013, 23:37

A momentous decade in Irish history is being brought to life with a new internet project.

Century Ireland will use online resources to look at the 10 years from the Dublin Lockout of 1913 to the end of the Civil War in 1923, which shaped the nation for better and worse.

It is part of the Government’s century of commemorations. A fortnightly online newspaper will be produced with contemporary accounts of what Ireland was like at the time.

The project is a joint venture between the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Boston College based on St Stephen’s Green, the national cultural institutions and RTÉ which will host the site at rte.ie/centuryireland. The Twitter handle @centuryIRL will send out a daily Twitter feed.

The online newspaper will contain contemporary accounts of momentous events from major newspapers at the time, both national and provincial, including The Irish Times .

It will cover in detail the first World War and the Easter Rising, but also less momentous events that shine a light on Ireland of the period.

The first online issue from May 1913 contains a report about an eight-year-old boy who was attacked by an organ grinder’s monkey on Parnell Street, and a marriage annulled on the grounds of hypnotism.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said the cost of the project, at €100,000, constituted “very good value for money” and he hoped it would revitalise the teaching of history in Irish schools.

Prof Mike Cronin of Boston College said the website would provide the “chance to live through the news headlines and day-to-day events in real time”, he said.

“We will highlight the complexities and the mundane and the ridiculous. Those years will be brought to life.”

He described it as “one of the largest state-sponsored history projects undertaken in the world at present”.

Speaking at the launch, emeritus professor of history at UCD Ronan Fanning said it was an “utterly admirable” project.

He quoted a German historian who said the duty of the historian was “to give to the past, the open future it once had”.