A rare copy of the 1916 Proclamation has been donated to University College Cork.

It is one of around 50 original copies still in existence and was personally held by Richard Gogan, reputedly the youngest member of the GPO garrison during the 1916 Rising.

It has been donated to UCC by Liam and Kaye Cronin.

One thousand copies of the Proclamation were printed at Liberty Hall in Dublin on Easter Sunday 1916.

It was read from the steps of the GPO on Easter Monday morning by Pádraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the rising, in the presence of the other signatories of the document.

That marked the beginning of the Easter Rising and Ireland's push for self-determination.

The Proclamation donated to UCC belonged to Richard Gogan. He came from a strongly republican family and joined the Volunteers at the age of 14.

He was reputedly the youngest member of the GPO garrison during the 1916 Rising.

Gogan attended to James Connolly after he was wounded and was one of the stretcher-bearers for Connolly when the GPO was evacuated. It is known that he carried his copy of the Proclamation with him from the GPO.

Gogan went on to become a founding member of Fianna Fáil and a TD for Dublin North West from 1954 to 1977. He died in 1982.

His copy of the Proclamation was said to have been his proudest possession.

Liam and Kaye Cronin came into possession of Richard Gogan's copy of the Proclamation in 1998 through Éamonn de Búrca, who is considered one of the world’s leading dealers in Irish antiquarian books and manuscripts.

Liam and Kaye Cronin, who are originally from Cork and live in London, are donating the copy of the Proclamation to UCC.

"UCC is a university with deep heritage in Irish history and it is wonderful that this remarkable document will now be preserved here for future generations," Mr Cronin said at the handover ceremony.

President of UCC Prof John O'Halloran thanked the Cronins for their generous donation.

"We are honoured to have become the guardians of this unique Proclamation and I wish to thank Liam and Kaye for their wonderful gift," he said.

"In a matter of weeks, UCC will host Ireland's National Conference on the Civil War and this donation further recognises UCC as a centre for Irish history and the preservation of our rich national heritage."

The Proclamation will be on display to the public in the university’s Glucksman Gallery from 8-12 June from 10am-5pm.

Eventually, it will be on public display in UCC’s planned Treasures Gallery, a fully secure and serviced space for public display and interpretation of important and unique material from the UCC Collections.

In addition to the Proclamation, the Cronins have also gifted €500,000 to support students from under-represented socio-economic backgrounds at undergraduate and PhD level.

"The Daniel and Margaret Cronin Advancing Access Scholarships" will be created at UCC in honour of Mr Cronin’s parents.

The Proclamation is believed to have been composed by Pearse, with some changes and amendments made by Connolly and Thomas MacDonagh.

A print run of 2,500 copies was planned, with the intention of supplying the country, as well as the city. Because of the difficulties encountered in the printing process, it is likely that no more than 1,000 copies were in fact printed.

It was printed on an old Wharfdale Double-Crown, printing machine. The work commenced around midday on Sunday 23 April and was completed at approximately 1am on Easter Monday morning. Connolly organised and oversaw all arrangements for printing and distribution.

The printer was Christopher Brady, and the compositors were Michael Molloy and Liam O’Brien. All had previously been employed in the work of printing The Workers Republic for Connolly.

Brady, who worked the machine throughout, described his task as one of great difficulty. He found it hard to ink the type evenly and the rollers refused to maintain an even pressure, with the result that nearly all copies show much smudging in some parts and faint printing in others.

In the beginning, an attempt was made to set the entire document at the one time, but it was found this was not viable as there was not enough type available, and it had to be set in two stages.

The UCC copy conforms in size and type of paper, and also contains all the attendant typographical inexactitudes and irregularities.

This copy also displays clearly that the original Proclamation was in fact printed in two parts, as the distance between the last two paragraphs and the top half varies in size.

The type for the second section or bottom half was still in the press when British soldiers entered Liberty Hall on Thursday 27 April, 1916.

Around 1940, the printer, Christopher Brady, examined the copy of the Proclamation now donated to UCC and confirmed it was an authentic, original example printed by him on Easter Sunday 1916.

The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic is the foundation document of modern Irish nationhood. Experts say it is perhaps the single most important and most iconic document in the context of modern Irish history.

It is a single broadsheet, approximately 76cm by 49cm, and there are no more than 50 to 60 original copies in existence, with approximately 30 of these in public institutions.