Archive for April 6th, 2010

Archives in Crisis

6 April 2010

Contributed by Peter Crooks

In 1922 the bulk of the nation’s documentary heritage was destroyed in the cataclysm at the Four Courts. What will be the state of Irish archives in 2022, on the centenary of the Four Courts blaze? This is the stark question posed by Archives in Crisis’, a symposium that takes place this Saturday in the Robert Emmet Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin (10 April 2010 @ 3 pm). The meeting opens with three short papers representing different viewpoints on the current crisis. Catriona Crowe (chairperson of the archivist’s branch of IMPACT) will outline the straitened circumstances under which Irish archivists currently operate. Eunan O’Halpin (Bank of Ireland Professor of Contemporary Irish History at TCD) will offer the scholar’s perspective on the crisis, while Fintan O’Toole will address the cultural significance of archives for Irish society at large. The symposium is intended to facilitate public debate, and the majority of the session will be taken up by an open forum moderated by Diarmaid Ferriter (Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD), during which the audience will be invited to pose questions, respond to the speakers and make their own views known. (chairperson of the archivist’s branch of IMPACT) will outline the straitened circumstances under which Irish archivists currently operate.

The immediate context for the ‘Archives in Crisis’ symposium is the present government’s proposal to merge the National Archives of Ireland into the National Library. But this proposed merger is, in fact, merely a symptom of a wilful neglect of archives that has deep roots in Irish political culture. Read more