Immersive exhibition on the Burning of Cork by Black and Tans opens ahead of 100th anniversary
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Immersive exhibition on the Burning of Cork by Black and Tans opens ahead of 100th anniversary

A NEW immersive exhibition on the atrocity which saw Cork burned and destroyed by the Black and Tans in the year 1920 has opened in the city and will run for a full year.

As part of the decade of Centeneries, which in 2016 saw Dublin brought to a standstill in commemoration of the 1916 Rising, an incredible immersive exhibition aiming to educate and remember one of the worst atrocities of Ireland's War of Independence has opened in Cork.

The Burning of Cork in December 1920 saw the notoriously vicious Black and Tans and British soldiers loot, attack and burn numerous buildings in the city in retaliation for an Irish Republican Army (IRA) ambush on a British patrol.

The exhibition, entitled Cork 1920: The Burning of a City, and based in the historic St Peter's church, uses stories, archived material, historic photographs and first-hand witness statements to shine a spotlight on the city's brutal past.

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Cork Beo reports that photographs, text and images of the attack which left the city a smouldering ruin will be projected across the church, and specially-created 'immersive' boxes will allow people to see, hear and even feel what it was like to be a part of the the terror campaign.

The completely free exhibition makes up part of the State commemorations which will take place in Cork throughout the year, having been chosen for its prominence in Ireland's desperate bid for freedom.

Two Cork Mayors died during the War of Independence, with one, Terence MacSwiney, dying of starvation after 74 days on a hunger strike while imprisoned in Brixton on charges of inciting rebellion.

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And, of course, a principal figure in the War of Independence was Cork native Michael Collins, who died in his home county following an ambush at Béal na Bláth.

In November 2019, an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that Cork would take centre stage for this year's centenery celebrations, when he said "...Cork was the focal point for the War of Independence. In 2020 given the sacrifice of two Lord Mayors, and also the burning of the city in December 1920, we’re going to recognise that by having the main major state commemoration here in the city of Cork.”

The current Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, spoke to Cork Beo on the newly-opened exhibition, and said:

"I had the opportunity to preview Cork 1920 – The Burning of a City with the St. Peter’s team and I am sure everyone who visits during the year will agree that their creative approach gives a poignant insight into 1920".

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"Through thought-provoking stories, archival material, historic photographs and compelling witness statements, the exhibition highlights the vision, passion, energy and imagination of the men and women of 100 years ago in a powerful way”.

To know more about the exhibition or to plan your visit, you can visit the website here.