The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust CLG is pleased to announce the launch of the Bureau of Military History website:
At the official launch of the website on Tuesday 7th August, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht stated:-
“Our Archives are essential in the preservation of primary sources for study by future generations. This launch is the culmination of years of work by the Military and National Archives. The records held within this collection cover almost the entire duration of the Decade of Commemorations, providing primary source material for the revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921.
“The Bureau of Military History website will make a significant contribution to the goals of the Decade of Commemorations by encouraging scholarly and original research on the momentous events of this period in our history both nationally and internationally. In funding and developing this project, the State is paying tribute to the sacrifices of the past and celebrating the achievements of a revolutionary decade.
“The Military Bureau’s official brief was ‘to assemble and co-ordinate material to form the basis for the compilation of the history of the movement for Independence from the formation of the Irish Volunteers on 25th November 1913, to the 11th July 1921’. Anyone who sees these collections online will have to agree that they accomplished this goal with distinction.
Maj. Gen. Ralph James (DCOS Ops), Minister Deenihan, Ms. Caitriona Crowe (National Military Archives) and Comdt. Padraig Kennedy (OIC Archives) in front of AAR 2 ‘Sliabh na mBan’ (the ‘Michael Collins armoured car)..
“As the use of the internet at home continues to grow as the medium of choice for research, this project will bring these records to a whole new audience, and will greatly enhance understanding and appreciation of the sacrifice made during these formative years of our state”
Bureau of Military History Collection
The Bureau of Military History Collection (BMH) is among the most important primary sources of information in Irish History from 1913-1921 available anywhere in the world. The project was undertaken by the Defence Forces Military Archives, in collaboration with the National Archives and was largely funded through the Dept of Heritage, Arts and the Gaeltacht.
The collection involved the digitisation of over 35,000 pages of witness statements and contemporary documents, 400 photographs and 13 voice recordings from primary sources covering the revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921.
This documentary evidence was collected by the State between 1947 and 1957 ‘to assemble and co-ordinate material to form the basis for the compilation of the history of the movement for Independence from the formation of the Irish Volunteers on 25th November 1913, to the 11th July 1921’ (report of the Director, 1957).
The Bureau was stored for decades in the Department of An Taoiseach after the last statement was collected but in 2001, it was decided to transfer the Bureau to Military Archives and prepare it for release into the public domain. Now the website, www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie, allows people from all over the world unprecedented online access to these eye witness accounts for the first time.
Photo of Thomas Whelan taken one or two days before his execution on a charge having taken part in the activities of Bloody Sunday 1921