1916 Rising: Ailesbury Road letter bought by State


An eyewitness account of the 1916 Rising, in a letter written by a retired judge from Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4 to his daughter in Burma, has been acquired by the National Library of Ireland. It bought the diaries and letters of Sir Alfred Irwin for €2,100, slightly over the €1,500-€1,800 estimate, in Whyte’s History sale last Sunday. The Roscommon-born Irwin had joined the British Empire’s administrative service and became the most senior judge in colonial-era Burma before retiring home to Ireland.

Online bidders from some
30 countries, including China, Hungary and New Zealand, joined bidders in the Dublin saleroom when political, cultural and sporting memorabilia and collectibles went under the hammer. Overall, 71 per cent of lots sold and 43 per cent went to online bidders. Fine Gael is understood to have bought some of the 1930s Cumann na nGaedheal election posters to fill gaps in the party’s collection.

Ten bidders competed for a censored Irish version of a 1960s cinema poster for Dr No which made €3,800 (€600-€800); a 1967 All-Ireland hurling final medal belonging to a member of the Kilkenny team, €2,700 (€1,500- €2,000); and an 18th-century carved penal cross from Co Monaghan, €2,800. Among the more affordable lots, a collection of early-20th century postcards, made €130 (€100-€150).

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