Spike Island - Independence
War of Independence Exhibition Design and Build at Spike Island
The project consisted in the design of a new visitor experience on the ground floor of the Mitchell Hall spanning across 6 rooms. Mirador liaised with the council's architect and fire officer in planning the new visitor flow facilitated by the demolition of two internal walls. Building works were carried out by the Spike maintenance team with exhibition fit-out carried out by Mirador who also supervised the entire build.
The exhibition begins with an overview of World War 1 in Ireland and the gun runnings that were taking place at the the time to arm the Irish rebels. Artefacts from the gun running ship The Aud are on display in the first room where visitors can familiarise themselves with the impending events of 1916, its aftermath and the beginnings of the War of Independence. The story is told through audio, projections and sets - most notabely through a poignant scene depicting James Connolly's execution chair with audio of the executed rebel leaders' last words.
Visitors move on to the War of Independence displays which concludes by the re-enactment of a court scene where the visitor is literally sentence to Spike Military Prison in the field.
The next room depicts a prison cell with many artefacts and autograph books belonging to the internees and prisoners. The story concludes in this room with the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty and hand over of Cork Harbour to the Irish authorities - a symbolic moment which visitors can re-enact by lowering the British flag and raising the Irish flag... an action which triggers archive footage of the historical moment.
The subsequent two rooms are dedicated to The Defence Forces and The Irish Navy where many artefacts are interpreted through multimedia, projections and graphics.
A genealogy room aslo allows descendants of prisoners and internees held on Spike during the War of Independence to access and print their records.