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NLI to Digitize Pre-Republic History of Ireland

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland. (Photo: Naoise Culhane)

By Mary Gallagher, Editorial Assistant
April / May 2018

The National Library of Ireland rolled out plans in January for a new digital archive of modern Irish history. The archive, called Towards a Republic, will document the tumultuous series of events between 1918 and 1923, beginning with the Irish Republican Army’s brutal struggle for independence from Britain and ending with the Irish Civil War. It is one product of a €2 million investment in historical preservation by the Irish Department for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Showcasing the written records of such iconic figures of the time as Arthur Griffith and Countess Constance Markievicz, the collection promises to provide newer, closer insights into the time period, including the progress of the Home Rule movement and the inner workings of the early IRA with the preservation of official government documents and military orders. It will also contain the records of lesser-known individuals, who even without historical renown help to paint a vivid, previously-unseen picture of how life was touched by the rebellion. For example, the letters of Annie O’Farrelly, sent to her family while she was imprisoned by the Irish Free State, are expected to provide an interesting personal perspective on the Civil War.

“The next phase of the commemorations will be challenging for Irish people, and having open access to the archival sources will be hugely important to ground and guide the debate and discussion,” NLI director Sandra Collins said in a statement. “The National Library is the keeper of these national and personal memories of a turbulent time in our history, and we look forward to sharing them with everyone.” ♦


3 Responses to “NLI to Digitize Pre-Republic History of Ireland”

  1. Jack Lane says:

    A Chairde

    Can you tell me if the Irish Bulletin will be included in the digitised programme?


    Jack Lane

  2. Sean Curtain says:

    The Republic of Ireland Act was passed in the Dáil I 1948 and applied to the 5/6 of the Irish nation that had become Independent in early 1922. In 1920, the British government imposed Partition on Ireland after monarchs and governments in London had treated Ireland a single political entity for more than 7 centuries. I’d like very much to know if the current Dáil recognizes the Irish international rugby team that won all its 5 matches in this year’s Six nations contest – resenting ALL of Ireland. As an English-born U.S. citizen, I have always felt that my nationality applies to the Whole Irish Nation and all its parts (an náisiún uuile agus gach roinn de).

  3. Sean Curtain says:

    The above article includes a picture of Heather Humpreys, whose include Minister for the Gaeltach. Tá an cheist seo agam di: Cad tá a á dhéeanamh agat ar son an teanga náisiúnta?

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