A new virtual newspaper which charts some of the most momentous periods in Irish history has gone live.

The Century Ireland Project launched the site tell the story of Ireland 100 years ago in the form of an online newspaper. The project is part of the Irish government’s century of commemorations. At the project’s launch, emeritus professor of history at University College Dublin, Ronan Fanning, said it was “an admirable project,” reports the Irish Times.

The new project will cover between 1912 and 1923, which saw a wide range of events including Home Rule, Dublin Lockout, World War I, the Easter Rising, the Anglo-Irish War, and the Irish Civil War. Less momentous events that help readers understand the period will also be included.

The Century Ireland Project will feature accounts from contemporary major newspapers, both national, such as the Irish Times, and provincial. Each online newspaper will cover two weeks and show what Ireland looked liked at the time. Alongside the news reports, there will be photographs and academic research. There will also be a daily blog and twitter feed.

Items in the first edition include the Home Rule debate and an offbeat story about a boy attacked by an organ-grinder's monkey in Dublin.

The project cost $131,370 which Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said was “very good value for money.”

He said he hoped the project would revitalize the teaching of history in Irish schools. Boston College professor Michael Cronin said the project was “one of the largest state-sponsored history projects undertaken in the world at present.”

Cronin said the website would give the “chance to live through the news headlines and day-to-day events in real time.”

He added, “We will highlight the complexities and the mundane and the ridiculous. Those years will be brought to life.”

The project is already making good on its promise. The first online issue from May 1913 reports on an eight year old boy who was attacked by a organ grinder’s monkey on Parnell Street and a marriage that was annulled on the grounds of hypnotism. 

Century Ireland is supported by the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The project is a partnership between RTE, Boston College, and national cultural institutions.

RTE will host the project at rte.ie/centuryireland. The Twitter handle @centuryIRL will send out a daily Twitter feed.

Century Ireland's online newspaper goes live charting events from Home Rule to to 1916 RisingScreen Grab