Posts Tagged ‘National Library of Ireland’

Pue’s recommendations for October

4 October 2010

Juliana Adelman This month I want to draw attention to a few new or newish digital resources, especially given Kevin’s post of last week. Trinity College Dublin’s library has a new electronic catalogue for archives and manuscripts, MARLOC, which is a very welcome change from the array of printed lists and guides. The National Library of Ireland has been digitizing photographs and other items from its collections and these are now searchable through the online catalogue.  I also came across a really clever use of the internet for group motivation on the History Compass blog.  One grad student challenged fellow twitterers to focused periods of writing in what she called a Saturday Sprint.  Comeraderie and mutual encouragement for a lonely task. Finally, I am reading a book that I keep touting to other people: On deep history and the brain by Daniel Lord Smail.  The basic argument is that there should be no division between what is called ‘prehistory’ and history and that historians should accept scientific data as historical traces.

Lisa Marie Griffith I have just finished J G Farrell’s wonderful novel Troubles which won the Lost Booker Prize. Farrell’s novel is set in a crumbling Victorian hotel in rural Ireland. An English Officer comes back from the Great War to claim his Irish fiancee but the Troubles in Ireland are escalating. We have been debating the historic novel at Pue’s and this has made it to the top of my list of favourites. The National Concert Hall has two very special performances for Halloween The RTE Symphony Orchestra are playing two performances to accompany Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho on Saturday 31 October.

Christina Morin There’s a lot going on this month in Dublin, with several festivals overlapping and offering the average punter a huge variety of cultural events from which to choose. Among these festivals are the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, which runs from 30 September to 17 October, and Oktoberfest 2010, which returns to Dublin for a second year on 30 September to 10 October. So, after enjoying a performance at the theatre festival you can head down to the IFSC for some German food and beer. Fantastic! As I’m supposed to be finishing a book this month, I doubt I’ll have much of a chance to experience this myself, but when I’m in need of a break, I plan to dip into Colm Tóibín’s new short story collection, The Empty Family. In times of stress and looming deadlines, I find the short story the absolute perfect literary form – enough to take one’s mind off the task at hand, but not long enough to do it for more than a half hour or so. Brilliant!

Kevin O’Sullivan Like Lisa, Pue’s debate on historical fiction put me in mind of those books that capture the mood of an era. I’m making my way through Vikram Seth’s mammoth – and superb – 1993 novel A Suitable Boy at the moment, and enjoying being transported to a world of religious, class and familial tensions in post-partition India. I’ve also recently been introduced to a whole world of great history on the web via Twitter. Search for the #twitterstorians – you’ll find Pue’s among them too. Finally, when you’re out this month cursing typos (what historian doesn’t?), spare a thought for poor Leeds Building Society, which has recently employed a retired teacher to improve its staff’s grammar: ‘The executives could not understand the reports being sent to them.’

Witness to War at the National Photographic Archives

22 January 2010

Contributed by Ciarán Wallace

An interesting new exhibition of images from the Black & Tan and Civil Wars has opened at the National Photographic Archive in Dublin’s Temple Bar.  Alongside some familiar shots of Irish politicians and British military figures are many less well known images; the streets of Dublin and Cork during the War of Independence, domestic scenes of Arthur Griffith with his children and National Army troops embarking on the coastal voyage to capture Cork city.  The poster image for the exhibition is among a number of photographs showing locals salvaging firewood and scrap from barracks destroyed by retreating Republican forces.  Indeed the sight of individual civilians and crowds helps to emphasise the local and intimate nature of events in the revolutionary period.  The caption cards carry original text by Rev. Denis Wilson, a chaplain to the National Army, describing the works of Dublin photographer W.D. Hogan.  While the information sheet explains Wilson’s strongly pro-Irish and pro-Treaty sentiment, this is not made clear on the captions themselves, with result that the National Photographic Archive appears to hold these somewhat biased opinions.  Simple quotation marks around descriptions of England’s minions at leisure, the innocent pastimes of the Irish or enthusiastic crowd welcoming National Army troops into Cork might resolve the confusion.  The excellent reproduction quality, and the large format of the prints, makes this engaging exhibition well worth a visit.

Witness to War runs from January to mid-May 1010, entrance is free. Opening hours:  Mon – Fri: 10am to 5pm Sat: 10am to 2pm.

The Shemus Cartoons

17 December 2009

Contributed by Felix M. Larkin

The latest National Library of Ireland exhibition focuses on the Shemus Cartoons. The exhibition runs from 9 December 2009 until end February 2010.

In December 2006 the National Library of Ireland acquired an archive of about 280 items by Ernest Forbes, mostly original drawings of his Shemus cartoons. Forbes (1879–1962) was an Englishman who had come to Ireland in 1920 to join the Freeman’s Journal staff.  He was later a well-known landscape artist and portrait painter in London and in his native Yorkshire. He used a number of pseudonyms in his long career, and the pseudonym ‘Shemus’ was exclusive to the Freeman’s Journal.

There was, of course, a rich heritage of newspaper cartoons in Ireland.  The wonderfully vivid and colourful cartoons published in the late nineteenth century by the Freeman’s Journal and other organs of nationalist opinion were immensely popular and are still often reproduced.  Not actually part of the newspaper, these cartoons were distributed gratis as ‘supplements’.   Read More

New Archive Report: The Irish Queer Archive

24 June 2009

Contributed by Ciarán Wallace

IQA - ProtestWhen a person dies it is like a library burning down. The US author Edmund White spoke for many historians and archivists when he described the loss of personal and communal memory that happens every day. Happily, a significant new collection of Irish social, political and social memory will shortly be available to researchers. The Irish Queer Archive (IQA) is a fascinating, and surprisingly rich, body of material relating to the campaign for equality by Irish lesbians and gays. As a by-product it also records the official and unofficial opposition which they faced. Indeed much of the history of late-twentieth century Ireland can be traced through this archive.

The archive contains around 250,000 press-clippings from as far back as the 1950s and copies of the many community publications produced since the 1970s. Provincial newsletters, short-run ‘zines’ and colour magazines (37 titles in all) give a lively picture of life both north and south of the border. One photo of half a dozen gay men with placards outside the Department of Justice in 1974 reminds you how grey Ireland was – in all senses of the word.  Read More