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Category Archives: National Library of Ireland

25 Cultural Tourism Technology projects to be funded

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport yesterday (1st November 2010) announced funding of in excess of €1 million towards Cultural Tourism Technology projects.

The projects to be funded are those which were successful under the Cultural Technology Grant Scheme – an initiative aimed at using technology to promote Irish arts and culture announced by Minister Hanafin in July of this year.

The aim of the initiative is to use a variety of the best emerging and existing technology information and communications methods to deliver a promotional, educational or information product to promote the Irish arts, culture and creative sectors and the successful projects each fulfils this aim.

The level of interest in the grant available greatly surpassed all expectations and Minister Hanafin said that “the extent and calibre of the applications received is clear evidence of our national spirit of innovation and creativity and demonstrates the vital role which the arts, culture and creative sectors can play in our economic recovery. Ireland is already well placed as a destination for the cultural tourist and the projects being funded under this initiative will further develop and support the cultural tourism product on offer in Ireland.”

The scope of the successful projects is far reaching and diverse, ranging from apps for iPhones and Smartphones, to mobile websites and tours of some of our cultural tourism highlights, to online interactive games, to even a hologram show.

When complete, the projects will allow self guided tours and walks of the National Botanic Gardens; virtual and 3D tours of the extensive collections of some of our National Cultural Institutions and a number of web based digital programmes aimed specifically at children, including a dedicated children’s Art Website where the creative work of children will go on display, a Digital Creativity Platform for children and an interactive online Viking game.

The high regard and widespread popularity of both our traditional and popular music will be further promoted and developed under the initiative, as will Dublin’s public art; the best of Irish theatre and opera; the ecclesiastical treasures of Co. Clare and the life and poetry of Patrick Kavanagh, to mention but a view of the successful projects.

Minister Hanafin added that “great ideas and innovations in technology are developing all the time and this initiative has allowed us to marry our innovative and creative thinking to our rich and developing cultural offering, thereby allowing us to showcase the best of our Irish art, music, culture and heritage in the most exciting, innovative and dynamic ways. This is the application of smart technology to culture, heritage and tradition.

For a full list of recipients of funding and description of projects see the following table:

Cultural Technology Grant Scheme 2010 projects

For more on this story see:

http://tiny.cc/embgd

http://tiny.cc/axskj

 

 

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Examining the Project Arts Centre Archive

The Irish history blog, Pue’s Occurences, has published an article detailing the history and archive of the Project Arts Centre. The article discusses the processes of archiving a performance and artistic archive and its value to Irish cultural history. 

http://puesoccurrences.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/building-an-archive-the-project-arts-centre/

The Project Arts Centre is one of Ireland’s most important and contemporary arts venues in Ireland and has been so since its insception in 1966 and continues to promote and develope new and emerging Irish artists, playwrights, actors and dancers. The archive is a vital addition to the documented heritage of Irish culture and is  housed in the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Ireland.

Full details on the archive are available via the article on Pue’s Occurances and via the National Library of Ireland.

 

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Archives in Crisis – Reaction

Action on Archives

On the first sun-filled Saturday of Summer, a darkened and windowless lecture theatre would hardly be the first choice of venue to spend ones day. However, it certainly was for the 250 people who packed the Robert Emmet Lecture theatre to capacity in Trinity College for the Archives in Crisis symposium.

Organised by the Action on Archives group, headed by T.C.D. Research Fellow Dr. Peter Crooks ,the event was also organised in association by the Society of Archivists (Ireland), headed by Cecile Chemin. The symposium was chaired by Dr. Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin. The panel of guest speakers included Catriona Crowe of the National Archives, Eunan O’Halpin, Professor of Modern Irish History at Trinity College and Fintan O’Toole, Deputy Editor of the Irish Times.

The meeting was scheduled to tackle, for the first time by public debate, the proposed merger of the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission INTO the National Library of Ireland, put forward by the Government in the December 2000 budget. Described as the biggest risk to Irish documented heritage and records since the shelling of the Four Courts in 1922, the meeting certainly did address and tackle this issue of merging the Archives and Library, with O’Toole calling it an “idiotic proposal and symptomatic of the back-of-an-envelope and ill-informed politics that has brought Ireland to the current state of crisis it finds itself in today”. Given the crowd and undoubted public interest in the future of Irish records and archives, the meeting also addressed ‘action on archives’ that must be taken nationally and in all aspects of the profession, its funding, its service, its accessibility and its direction from the Department of Sport, Culture and Tourism and its Minister.

Catriona Crowe, representing the archivists’ branch of IMPACT trade union, addressed the distinct lack of storage capacity that prevents the National Archives from acting on its statutory obligations to receive, catalogue, preserve and disseminate the records of the Irish state as appropriate. Today, records even dating back to the nineteenth and eighteenth lie at risk in the government departments as the National Archives, despite desperately wanting the records, do not have space, staff or budget to take in the records. Staffing levels in the National Archives are at 45 people, the National Library of Ireland has a staff of 100 and the National Museum has a staff of 200. These figures are but one reminder of the funding and personnel issues which are at crisis point at the National Archives. Crowe argued strongly for the necessity for the re-establishment of the National Archives Advisory Council, which was established under the National Archives Act of 1986. The NAAC has not met since 2007. A vocal and informed NAAC is an absent and vital cog in the efficient and dedicated service of the National Archives.

Fintan O’Toole has through the columns of The Irish Times, of which he is assistant editor, has long been an advocate for stringent or at least consistent and beneficial policy on archives and state records from the Government and at the National Archives. The ability of any citizens of a nation to truly know one-self and grasp at the idea of national identity is through the actions of its National Archives. In the wake of recent damming and horrific reports of abuse and deliberate destruction of records in institutional schools, Magdalene laundries, mental hospitals and general hospitals, how we as a people and nation respond to these crises will tell forever more. Through the records and archives of these forgotten Irish and forgotten institutions the stories of those who were previously silent can now be heard.

In fact, the theme of health records, with particular emphasis on those records of Irish mental hospitals, drew particular attention and debate from attendees of the symposium. It was obvious from the passionate interest from audience members, with reference to health records in particular, that ‘action on archives’ is indeed needed in many aspects of how records of health and education are documented and preserved.  Events that lie beyond the immediate hands of record keepers such as the fire that gutted Longford town Cathedral on Christmas morning of 2009 must be averted in the future. Countless birth, death and marriage records as well as priceless golden crosiers were destroyed in the fire but it was only from the ashes did officials realise that these records were even kept in the cathedral.

The Action-on-Archives organised symposium on the current crisis in Irish state record keeping was a hugely positive starting point. It is the primary goal and objective of the group to oppose the loss by the National Archives of its autonomous identity. The work by Peter Crooks to bring this event together should not be lost and should prove to be the first step of a united effort to lobby an uninformed Government decision and highlight to a public the vital importance of the consistent adherence of the National Archives to its statutory obligations, they primarily being safeguarding and preserving of records of the Irish State and therefore also, the actions of a people and government.

For Further Information Contact:

Peter Crooks – pcrooks@tcd.ie

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=379393677441

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0412/1224268137886.html

 

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Ireland’s History Through a Lens

 
National Library of Ireland

Looking through the lens of great Irish past photographers is now possible thanks to the The National Library of Ireland. The Library has recently launched an online database of over 34,000 images portraying nearly one hundred years of Irish life.  The National Library of Ireland holds the world’s largest collection of photographs relating to Ireland. Since 2007, the Library has been engaged in a major digitization project to increase online access to an extensive collection of rare and remarkable glass plate negatives.

Collections of photographs include images from Eason and Son, JJ Clarke, a Dublin Medical student, The Keogh brothers of Dorset Street, A.H. Poole of Waterford, Tempest collection, Louth, Independent Newspapers, Dublin, Lawrence Royal and Cabinet Collection and Studio Pair Collection. These unique images depict an unrivaled view of the topographical make up of the East and South of the country, Dublin City and Ireland’s Revolutionary period.

The director of the National Library of Ireland, Fiona Ross, states the “photographs are a rich source of primary research material and as a means of understanding and engaging with the past. They are invaluable because they provide us with evidence of places, events and people who shaped the nation, as well as providing insights into cultural and social history, politics, art landscape and natural history.” The photographs range from 1860 to 1954.

The database can be viewed and searched online at: http://digital.nli.ie/cdm4/index_glassplates.php?CISOROOT=/glassplates

www.nli.ie

Countess Markievicz. Keogh Collection

Pope Pius XII meeting Bishop McQuaid, Archbishop of Ireland. Independent Newspapers Collection

Colosuem Theatre, Henry Street, 1916. Independent Newspapers Collections

 

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Action on Archives

Action on Archives

Archives in Crisis: 

A Symposium to Debate the Future of Archives in Irish Society  

Saturday 10 April 2010, 3 PM to 5 PM 

Robert Emmet Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin.  

Moderator: Diarmaid Ferriter 

Speakers: Fintan O’Toole, Catriona Crowe, Eunan O’Halpin 

 In 1922 the bulk of Ireland’s documentary heritage was destroyed. This symposium poses a stark question: what will be the state of Irish archives in 2022 on the centenary of the Four Courts blaze? 

Presentations will discuss the cultural significance of archives in Irish society and the proposed merger of the National Archives of Ireland into the National Library. This will be followed by an open forum, during which audience members will have an opportunity to pose questions and share their views on archival policy in Ireland. 

The meeting will conclude by taking nominations to a new Action on Archives committee, which will seek to make representations to appropriate bodies. 

 Admission Free – All Welcome  

Courtesy of Action on Archives

For further information, contact Dr Peter Crooks, pcrooks@tcd.ie (01 896 1368)

Organized in association with the Irish Chancery Project, Medieval History Research Centre, 

Trinity College, Dublin

 

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Gaiety School of Acting plays on at Dublin City Archives

Gaiety School Archive 

The Gaiety School of Acting’s latest production was not on a usual Dublin stage but it did feature its largest ensemble cast.  Dublin City Library and Archive on Pearse Street has acquired the archive of the Gaiety School of Acting, the national theatre school of Ireland. On 22nd February, the Dublin Room of Dublin City Library and Archives hosted an exhibition and evening of talks to mark this transfer of the Gaiety School’s records into the Irish National Theatre Archive. 

Some of Ireland’s most celebrated actors, directors and writers have graduated, taught at or are simply associated with the Gaiety School of Acting. Managers, staff and past students such as Joe Dowling, Pat Laffan, Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy, Don Wycherly, Karl Shiels, Eva Birthistle, Catherine Walker, Keith McErlean, Orlaith Rafter, Stuart Townsend, Flora Montgomery, Rory Nowlan and countless others have made the Gaiety School an established and essential part of the Irish theatre scene. 

Founded in 1986 by renowned actor, director and teacher, Joe Dowling, the Gaiety School evolved to meet head on a distinct lack of acting training in Ireland. Originally offering just a nine week evening course the Gaiety School has grown beyond all realms of belief. According to Joe Dowling, “When we started, there was a dearth of training [available in Ireland]. We wanted people in the profession to train the next generation of actors. I’m very proud we began it”.   

The collection contains all administrative, financial and Board of Directors records from the schools inception in 1986 up to early 1997. This ten year span was crucial in the development of the Gaiety School. It oversaw its growth from a single part-time course to offering full time actor training as well as part time acting courses. This period also records two changes of premises, from humble beginnings on Baggot Street to the move in 1995 to the Gaiety Schools current home on Sycamore Street in Templebar.   

The move to Templebar highlights the Gaiety School as another major cultural institution that relocated to Templebar during the redevelopment of the area in the early and mid 1990s. The correspondence, building plans and other records document the immense planning that went into such a move and are a vital resource for any social researcher or historian of urban redevelopment. The Templebar project grew from transformation of premises that were bought en masse by C.I.E. This urban redevelopment was happening in a period of Irish governance that saw three different Taoisigh from Charles Haughey, to Albert Reynolds to John Bruton, ranging from a Fianna Fail to Rainbow Coalition led Governments that took charge in pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland. 

The history of the Gaiety School, however, runs a lot deeper than 1986. A Gaiety Theatre School existed in the 1940s and was headed by the celebrated actress and director Ria Mooney. Very little documented evidence of this original Gaiety Theatre School exists. However, the archive of the Gaiety School of Acting proudly holds possibly the only documented account of this school. A prospectus of the school from the year 1944-45 in immaculate condition lists a detailed account of the acting training offered by the then Gaiety School and also a statement by the school principal Ria Mooney. Also present is a letter from Ria Mooney to a prospective student who was not successful in her desire to claim a place in the Gaiety Theatre School in 1945. The National Library of Ireland does hold a collection of Ria Mooney papers. These records do not contain any mention of her time at the Gaiety School and pertain only to her capacity as head of the Abbey theatre school, the position Mooney took up following her time at the Gaiety School. This fact acts only to emphasis the importance of the two items relating to the original Gaiety School. 

The Gaiety School of Acting archive also contains all records of graduate productions and showcases from 1986 to early 2010. There is an extensive collection of programmes, flyers, posters, press cuttings, reviews, scripts and ephemera from these productions which present a stirring and visual snapshot of the success and productivity of the school. Scrapbooks of marketing and press information highlight the challenge of promoting an actor training school and also document how Irish media and expectations of advertising also grew during the twenty four years covered by the Gaiety School archive. 

The archive also proudly boasts framed posters from productions directed by Gaiety School founder Joe Dowling at various Dublin theatres including The Gaiety Theatre, the Abbey Theatre and the Peacock Theatre. One of the most striking of these is a poster from the 1988 production of Translations by Brian Friel and directed by Joe Dowling. This production is often noted as being the definitive production of Translations and also starred the late, great actor Donal McCann. 

At Dublin City Archives the launch evening and exhibition was made all the more special by an exhibition featuring highlights from the Gaiety School past that was wonderfully orchestrated by Ellen Murphy, senior archivist at Dublin City Archives. Cllr Kevin Humphries, Deputy Mayor of Dublin addressed the assembled crowd of past and present Gaiety students, Gaiety staff and Board of Directors and those who had fond memories of the School. The event was completed by the presence and speech by school founder Joe Dowling who travelled from his current position as director the Guthrie Centre in Minneapolis, U.S.A. Dowling spoke of how the school came to be and of the effort required on so many fronts to see the school evolve into what it is today. 

At the Gaiety School of Acting Archive launch: Joe Dowling, Gaiety School Founder, Ellen Murphy, Senior Archivist, Dublin City Archives, Patrick Sutton, Director Gaiety School of Archives and Barry Houlihan, Gaiety School Archivist.

Current Gaiety School director Patrick Sutton spoke passionately about the challenges of running such a school in an economic climate that is often quick to forget the Arts when for so long Arts and culture was and is one of the main attractions of foreign tourism and investment to these shores. Sutton also addressed the students and described how to carve a career in the acting industry is not for the ill-committed and how it is not for the long established to call the shots in the industry but how it is ever more important for new creativity to rise and be noticed. 

A video montage, expertly assembled by past student Simon Stewart presented the skill and talent of past and current Gaiety School students. Rounding off the night, Patrick Sutton added: “We are delighted at becoming part of the documented theatre history of Dublin and hope that the archive will prove to be of interest to researchers in the coming years.” As many theatre companies are unfortunately falling victim to funding cuts and suffering as a result, the Gaiety School, which also manages the magnificent Smock Alley theatre is going from strength to strength and the commitment of its archive to a public institution is a great addition to the documented theatre heritage of Ireland.  

Gaiety School of Acting, National Theatre School of Ireland

 http://www.gaietyschool.com/

http://www.dublincity.ie/RecreationandCulture/libraries/Heritage%20and%20History/Dublin%20City%20Archives/pages/index.aspx

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaietyschool/sets/72157623493226772/

 

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