UCD Archives Document of the Month: December 2016, Christmas prison ephemera

UCD Archives December Document of the Month

We have chosen Christmas prison ephemera as our document of the month for December. The documentation of the Irish revolutionary period is wide and varied. Included amongst UCD Archives’ unparalleled archival collections covering 1916–23, is a significant amount of material created by those who are imprisoned at various points during the period. Much of this material takes the form of letters and diaries but also included are more ephemeral documents created in the prisons, by and for the prisoners. The files numbered UCDA P150/612 and UCDA P150/615 concern De Valera’s imprisonment in 1918 under the Defence of the Realm Act (1914) for his involvement in the ‘German Plot’: an alleged conspiracy between Sinn Féin and Germany to start an armed insurrection in Ireland. (De Valera escaped in February 1919 by copying the chaplain’s key in wax during mass.) The documents chosen are Éamon de Valera’s personal copy of a menu for Christmas Day 1918 from the ‘Royal Hotel Lincoln’ [Lincoln Jail] and a coloured Christmas card depicting the Christmas tragedies ‘Sean’s Troubles’. Seán McGarry (IRB member) is shown with an out-size key in his hand with the captions ‘Xmas 1917 can’t get in’ and ‘Xmas 1918 can’t get out’. For more information and to see the documents, visit http://www.ucd.ie/archives/collections/month/. Images are reproduced by kind permission of UCD-OFM Partnership.

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