Archive for the ‘Archives’ Category

Mass observation project, Dublin 2011

20 October 2011

Last week Pue’s was contacted by Ruth Kenny who is looking for assistance on an exciting project that she is putting together in November. Ruth is running a Mass Observation project in Dublin. This is a re-creation of the Mass Observation project that first took place in the UK in 1937 and which involved 2,000 voluntary observers watching, listening and reporting on the streets of Bolton and London. The original project was led by Tom Harrisson, an anthropologist and adventurer, Charles Madge, a poet and journalist, and Humphrey Jennings, a documentary film-maker. Nothing was beneath their attention; from snippets of overheard conversations to the number of people wearing tweed overcoats on a given day; from a survey of window displays to the average number of chips in a six-penny portion (25 and one-sixth chips, excluding the small bits, in case you’re wondering).

Ruth is looking for a team of volunteers to undertake this observation in Dublin, every day, throughout the month of November to record what people are talking about and doing throughout Dublin. Read more
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The Irish Landed Estates Database

12 July 2011

Contributed by Joanne McEntee

One could be forgiven for supposing that the contemporary terms ‘ghost estates’ or ‘abandoned estates’ merely exist as part of the historic nomenclature of the now defunct world of operating Irish landed estates. Yet the ghost estates of yesteryear are now as visible and accessible to the public as their twenty-first century brethren thanks to the recent launch of the Munster Landed Estates Database. Complementing the already existing Connacht database and maintained by the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway, the Landed Estates Database provides a comprehensive and integrated resource guide to landed estates and historic houses in Connacht and Munster, c. 1700-1914. Seeking to assist and support researchers working on social, economic, political and cultural Irish history, this user-friendly website should not confound even those claiming not to be au fait with the rapidly expanding world of digitization. The fact alone that the website records over 4500 houses and provides images for approximately half of those bears testament to the Trojan work of the researchers Marie Boran and Brigid Clesham in undertaking such a monumental task. Read More

The Bit of Spade Work!

18 April 2011

Contributed by David Garreth Toms

Long before I began my PhD in 2009, I would pick up a copy of the Waterford Soccer Monthly from time to time. My favourite part, perhaps predictably, was the old photographs of teams from the 1920s and 1930s. There is often something otherworldly about photographs of sports teams from that era. Thinking more on it, it is the formality of the occasion of having one’s photograph taken – after all, the photographic image was not then as ubiquitous as it has since become. The rigidity of the subjects (out of technical necessity) also ensures photographs from that era have an idiosyncratic strangeness to them.

This piece isn’t really about the photographs that appeared in the Waterford Soccer Monthly (WSM) though. Instead, it is about the old-fashioned digging around, the donkey-work of historical research. I remembered those photographs when it came time for me to begin research on grassroots football in Waterford city as part of my thesis. Typically, the old copies of the WSM had long been consigned to the bin in my house. So it was with hope that I e-mailed the editor of the magazine, and sure enough he kept his entire back-catalogue. What’s more, he had original scans of many of the photographs I was looking for, and much more besides. Read more

A guide to labour history on the web

31 March 2011

Contributed by Brian Hanley

Most history courses taught in Irish universities tend to confine their studies of labour to the 1913 Lockout or as a way of explaining James Connolly and 1916. Jim Larkin may or not be mentioned again in passing later, but there remains a consensus that labour was marginal to the main story of Ireland in the 20th century. That 1919-22 were far more important years for labour than 1913, and that the labour movement was influential in terms of numbers and activity during the revolutionary era usually passes most people by. Professor Emmet O’Connor offers some thoughts on this here. (An updated edition of O’Connor’s A Labour History of Ireland is being re-published this year.)

Despite at times being seen as having a narrow focus, labour history is about more than trade union records, or strikes and lockouts, or left organisations (though it is of course about all those things). There is a growing appreciation of studies of work, family life, leisure, class (in both town and country) and ethnicity involved in labour history. These sites will give you some idea of this. As with most things on the internet, some have links that will lead you to even more interesting sites, and others have links that will lead you nowhere.

This is a very rough guide – there’s loads more and feel free to point them out!  Read More

Magazine of Magazines

23 March 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

Irish print culture and eighteenth century studies are soon to benefit from a fantastic Eighteenth Century Research Group (University of Limerick & Mary Immaculate College) digitization initiative. The project is two strands, the first to digitize the Magazine of Magazine’s, making it searchable and providing free access to the public. The Magazine of Magazines is a remarkable eighteenth-century miscellany which was written and published in Limerick (1751-1769) and which included literary and scientific reviews and information. The digitization is currently in process and the second strand consists of the creation of approximately 150 ‘interactive ebooks’ which will also have ‘informative annotations’ and that will not only be valuable for those studying the texts but will also be a useful teaching tool. This looks like it will be a fantastic resource when it is completed and will open up the intellectual life of Ireland and the eighteenth century for scholars of literary and scientific history.

Bar Council Archive: appeal for material

15 March 2011

Contributed by Jeanne McDonagh

The Bar Council Archive of photographs, documents and related legal material, under the patronage of His Hon, Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan, has been in place for four years, forming a collection of images and history of the legal profession.

In an effort to expand our collection, we are getting in touch with other archives and people to see if they have relevant material that we could copy in digital form. We have been borrowing images, taking a digital photograph and returning them to the owners. We are hopeful that there may be further items in personal collections that would be of interest and would enable us to develop our archive. If you have an image or document that would be relevant, please contact Jeanne McDonagh at jmcdonagh AT lawlibrary DOT ie to discuss it. All help is greatly appreciated.



To pickle pidgeons…

30 January 2011

By Juliana Adelman

You may or may not have heard Catherine Cleary and I talking about 18th and 19th C Irish recipes on Myles Dungan’s History Show on Sunday night.  Being food fans and also curious, we decided to cook up some recipes found in the National Library of Ireland’s vast collection of manuscript recipe books.  It gave me a great excuse to look at these books, which have a kind of peripheral interest to my research on animal-human relationships (if you can call being slaughtered and eaten a kind of relationship…).  Anyway, much to our surprise the recipes were quite easy to follow and they all worked.  We did modify them using our judgment, but overall it wasn’t too difficult.  And most of them were actually delicious and well worth a try.  So I thought I’d share all the recipes below.  They are transcribed nearly as they appeared with some corrections of spelling to make them easier to understand.  If anyone is keen to try one, send an email and I can advise on how we modified it.  If you are interested in Irish food history, see Leslie A. Clarkson and E. Margaret Crawford, Feast and famine: a history of food in Ireland 1500-1920.

NLI MS 9563: Mrs Jane Bury’s Receipt Booke (c. 1700)

‘To make the best minse pye’

Take a neat’s tongue [that’s ox tongue] and boil and blanch it.  Cut it into thin slices and when it is cold mince it very small with 3 [epsilon symbol with line through it, some kind of measurement] of suet if tongue be very large if not 2 [epsilon] of suet, two pounds of currants one pound of raisins, stoned, and each of mace, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in all the same, half a pound of sugar a spoonful of salt half a pint of sack [sweet sherry] some rose water some candied orange or citron mix all those well together & put into your coffin [a pie crust] being made thin and let them stand about an hour in the oven.

[These were actually the best mince pies.  We used butter instead of suet.  Tongue is delicious!  Really! A generous hand with the spices is good.  Also, we used rose syrup instead of rose water.  Tongue must be boiled for a good couple of hours (even up to 4), we did it for only about 1.5 hours and it was still a bit chewy.] Read more

My conversation with Margaret

19 January 2011

Contributed by Carolyn Shadid Lewis


This is a follow-up to the post I submitted in July, asking for help in finding women who worked as seamstresses in a parachute factory in Carrickfergus during the Second World War. [The image is from the parachute factory in Carrickfergus, courtesy of the National Archives of Ireland.-Pue]

Margaret Smyth warmly welcomed me into her home in Ballymena, directing her daughter to start the kettle as we settled into her living room.  She had trouble hearing, so she asked me to sit close to her.  She held my hand, gave me a smile and asked in a perplexed voice, “You came all the way from America to interview me?”  I laughed and assured her that she was worth the effort.

Now age 89, Margaret had worked for five years as a seamstress in the parachute factory in Carrickfergus during the war.  My journey to find her was long and varied, filled with the help and support of so many people on both sides of the border.  It was a difficult task, mostly due to my own lack of research skills, but also due to the unfortunate fact that the women’s experience during the Second World War was not well documented.   In the end, I found Margaret from the sheer luck that her daughter, Daphne, read my letter in the Belfast Telegraph and took the initiative to write to me.  Her letter arrived two weeks before I was set to return to the States, just as I gave up hope of actually finding anyone. Read more

Ireland in Turmoil at the Trinity Long Room

25 October 2010

By Lisa Marie Griffith
On Saturday I was lucky enough to be escorted around the new exhibition at the Trinity Long Room: Ireland in Turmoil: The 1641 Depositions by the co-curator of the exhibition Eamon Darcy. The digitization of the depositions is Ireland’s largest digital humanities project to date. If you are not familiar with the 1641 depositions, they are over 3,000 testimonies which were taken by a team of government officials in the aftermath of one of the most violent events, the 1641 rebellion. There is a very nice explanation of the significance of these depositions, as well as the scope of the project from the RTE 6 O’clock news that you can watch from Youtube here.

Read more

Power and Privilege at the NPA

20 October 2010

Contributed by Joanne McEntee

Just as a privileged few laid claim to Ireland’s magnificent Big Houses in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so the powerful remain those privileged enough to grace the remaining few of these houses. Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan featured in a recent episode of the ‘X Factor’ and was also home to the wedding of ‘Beatle’ Paul McCartney in 2002. Earlier this year, Ireland’s outside centre Brian O’Driscoll tied the knot in Lough Rynn, Co. Leitrim. Back in 2001, Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo was the site of the lavish wedding of actor Pierce Brosnan.

The current photographic exhibition on display in the National Photographic Archive, Temple Bar, Dublin, entitled Power and Privilege: Photographs of the Big House in Ireland 1858-1922, offers insights into a world long gone through images depicting the family, employees, entertainment, landscape and gardens, transport, the arts and sciences, and, of course, weddings of various Big Houses across the country. Read more