The Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum’s latest exhibition, ‘Lisburn, 1912-1914’, explores the people and the place from the early 1900s to the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914. Through objects, images and text, the exhibition charts life in the town in the Edwardian era and reaction to the threat of Home Rule, including the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the formation of the local UVF, the South Antrim Volunteers. The life and work of Ernest Blythe, a Lisburn Protestant, Irish-language champion, and future cabinet minister in the Free State government is also examined, alongside the raising of the Irish Volunteers, supporters of Home Rule. As War broke out in 1914 both the UVF and the Irish Volunteers, as the exhibition explores, rushed to enlist in the British Army.
Finally, the exhibition revisits one of the most daring acts in the history of the Irish suffragettes: the bombing of Lisburn Cathedral in July 1914. Highlighting the town’s valuable contribution to the ‘votes for women’ campaign in Ulster, special attention is given to the militant suffragette, and enigmatic Lisburn-woman, Lillian Metge.