Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Advent at the Archives and Special Collections - 7th December

Ceol na Nollaig: Carúil Nollag agus roinnt Amhrán
Fionnuala de Barra-Cusack a thionscain. (Baile Átha Cliath: Cló Chaisil/Foras na Gaeilge, 2002)
Is é a chuir an tionscnamh seo sa tsiúl ná go raibh Fionnuala de Barra ag obair le Ghaelscoileanna nach raibh aon chnuasach cuimsitheach an de Charúil Nollag Gaeilge. Bhí gá lena Leithéid. D’oibrigh sí le Cló Chaisil agus Foras na Gaeilge chun an cnuasach seo a fhoilsiú. Is é Jenny Cleary a rinne an obair ealaíne álainn sa leabhar.
The background project to this book came about as a result of work being conducted by Fionnuala de Barra with Gaelscoileanna who didn’t have access to a comprehensive collection of Christmas carols in Irish for which there was a need. She worked with Cló Chaisil and Foras na Gaeilge to publish this collection. The beautiful art work in the book was undertaken by Jenny Clarke.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Advent at the Archives and Special Collections - 6th December

Today's images come from the Bairead Collection. They are from Christmas cards in Irish in the early twentieth century, published by Connradh na Gaeilge in an effort to encourage use of the Irish language. As first Treasurer of the Gaelic League Stiophan Bairead would have been in charge of the Publications Committee, who were behind the campaign to get Irish language Christmas cards into wide circulation.
Stiophan Bairead was born to Stephen Barrett and Sheila O'Beirne in Kilmore, County Roscommon on the 22nd August 1867. His father was a well-to-do farmer, and had held the position of barony constable at the time. Stiophan was one of nine children who all received a good education, the boys in the Grammar School in Athlone, and the girls in convents in Athlone and Sligo.

When Stiophan was eleven he was in a bad accident which took him three years to recover from. When he finally left hospital in 1882, he had a permanent limp. He was educated at home and developed a good head for figures. He also read voraciously at this time, and at nineteen became interested in the Irish language movement. He corresponded regularly with a number of people, including R.J. O'Mulrenin of the Gaelic Union. He was also a member of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language and the Irish National League. He moved to Dublin, learned Irish, and began to give classes to the Celtic Literary Society, He was active in Connradh na Gaelige from its foundation as Treasurer, and by the turn of the twentieth century he was working full-time for Connradh as well as organising the "Oireachtas". He got to know many people through his work, including Padraig Pearse, working on the financial side of "An Cliadheamh Solus" as well as the foundation of Scoil Eanna.


In spite of the trouble which occurred at the Dundalk Ard Fheis in 1915 when An Craoibhin resigned as President, Stiophan continued on, looking after financial matters and doing the work of officers such as Sean T O Ceallaigh when they were in prison. He was arrested after a raid on Connradh offices uncovered a small quantity of ammunition in November 1920, but he was subsequently cleared of the charges brought against him. He died suddenly while attending mass with his daughter Sighle on 26th March 1921.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Advent at the Archives and Special Collections - 2nd December

Over the years the Quadrangle at NUI, Galway has become one of the most iconic and enduring symbols of Galway, featuring on postcards and in many other publications. Today's photograph comes from An Teanglann Collection, the audio-visual service of the university which not only looked after the audio-visual requirements of the university for many years, but also kept a photographic record of changes in the physical structure of the campus.
Today's image features the Quadrangle, taken from the side, with a light dusting of snow to add to that festive feeling.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Advent at Archives and Special Collections

To celebrate advent we will be uploading an image a day from various collections across archives and special collections here at the James Hardiman Library - which celebrate Christmas. Our item for the first day of advent features a hand-written copy of poem "Mi Nodhlaic", 1879. Written by Doglas Hyde in a book he had acquired the previous year, John O'Daly, Reliques of Irish Jacobite Poetry by John O'Daly, published by John O'Daly, Rose-Inn-Street, Kilkenny in 1844.
This book, along with many others, arrived in with the Eamon de Buitlear collection - which, along with the archival material, cover a range of cultural topics, as well as the landscape and countryside of Ireland and elsewhere. Eamon's father would have served as aide-de-campe to An Craoibhin during his time as first President of Ireland. The poem itself shows the early efforts of An Craoibhin to compose in Irish, and to gather books on the literature and language of Ireland.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Abbey Theatre Digital Archive Project - Podcast of Seminar at James Hardiman Library

The James Hardiman Library at National University of Ireland, Galway, hosted a seminar on Tuesday 4 October which told the story of the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, created by one of the largest theatre archive digitisation projects undertaken worldwide. It reflected on challenges faced, lessons learned, new opportunities and impact on academic mission, library and archives.

All talks have been recorded with audio podcasts available at the following link:

 Slides from many of the presentations are available here:


1100    Welcome and Introduction (John Cox, University Librarian, NUI Galway)
1110    A brief history of the Abbey Theatre archive (Mairéad Delaney, Archivist, Abbey Theatre)
1140    Digitising the archive (Martin Bradley, Archives Consultant, and Aisling Keane, Digital Archivist, NUI Galway Library)
1210    The Abbey Theatre Early Minute Books Project (Cillian Joy, Digital Library Developer, NUI Galway Library, and Patricia O’Beirne, Abbey Digital Archive PhD Fellow, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway)

1340    The academic impact of the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive (Professor Patrick Lonergan, Centre for  Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUIG)
1410    Data mining case study (Marc Mellotte, Applied Innovation Unit Lead, Insight, NUI Galway)
1430    Staging the Archive: mediating user engagement and experience (Barry Houlihan, Archivist, NUI Galway Library)
1450    The researcher experience (Christopher McCormack, Abbey Digital Archive PhD Fellow, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUIG)
1510    The transformative impact of the Abbey project on NUI Galway’s Library and Archives (John Cox, University Librarian, NUI Galway)
1530    Close

Monday, November 28, 2016

Podcast: Prof. Frank Shovlin - Mining the Literary Archive of John McGahern

Welcome to this podcast from the Archives of the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. This episode features a conversation with Professor Frank Shovlin, who shares his experiences and thoughts from extensive research carried out on the archive of writer, John McGahern.

Prof. Frank Shovlin
Frank was educated at University College Galway where he took BA and MA degrees before moving to complete doctoral studies at St John's College, Oxford. In 2008 frank became a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool and in 2014 took up the role as head of department at the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool.

Frank has earned numerous competitive fellowship awards, notably Leverhulme Study Abroad Fellowships and Moore Institute Visiting Fellowships which enabled detailed study of the Archive of John McGahern.

Frank has published widely in leading journals and publications on Irish literature, print culture and related topics. Previous monographs include "The Irish Literary Periodical 1923-1958" ; "Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival" and Frank's most recent monograph is entitled "Touchstones: John McGahern's Classical style"

Items from the McGahern Archive at NUI Galway
In this conversation Frank discusses his engagement with the archive of the archive John McGahern and how that archive has influenced Frank's research.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Can Ireland Afford to Fatten a Sacred Cow? #ExploreArchives

Fifty years ago in the late 1960’s, Ireland was commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. As with this year’s centenary celebrations, Ireland’s citizens contemplated the direction our nation was taking, considering issues like our nationhood, our place in the world, and the Irish language and its revival.

There were some who objected to the elevated status the Irish language received in school
curriculums and in public sector recruitment, on the grounds that Irish was not the principal language spoken in the state, and the large amount of time devoted to teaching it compromised the standard of education received in schools. An organisation called the Language Freedom Movement (LFM) was established who believed the State had an unrealistic attitude towards the Irish language, and noted there were few opportunities to speak the language in everyday life, while Irish-speaking areas were shrinking due to economic circumstances leading to emigration.

The Irish language became a highly emotive issue through the 1960s, and the growth of television broadcasting during this decade amplified the reach of the debate.

The LFM organised many public meetings, which tended to descend into total chaos. A public meeting organised in 1966 was advertised by a provocative poster, shown here. It depicts a bloated cow named ‘Gaelic Language Policy’. The cow is sprawled on an armchair named ‘Irish Education’.  A child is pinned beneath the chair, and the cow smokes a currency note from a large barrel filled with money. 

On the night of the meeting, approximately 2,000 people, mostly unfriendly to the organisers of the meeting turned up. An eyewitness commented:

“Union Jacks were waved derisively at the platform. On the platform itself was an Irish tricolour which a member of the audience made haste to seize at the outset, shouting that the national flag should not be displayed at a meeting of this kind. As he was hustled away, a shower of papers was flung at the stage, and a stink bomb was let off. Immediately after this, a fight broke out, involving about 10 men. It was evident there was going to be serious trouble unless something was done to lower the temperature”.  

A report from RTE’s Seven Days programme shows some footage from one of the meetings.

The Language Freedom Movement continued their campaign into the early 1970s, with involvement in the by-election campaigns of the late 1960s, and involvement with parents involved in disputes with schools about education standards.

The archive is one of the collections in NUI Galway, which documents their campaigns, and correspondence with members of Connradh na Gaeilge and Gael-Linn. The archive is complemented by other papers relating to the time, notably the archive of Prionsias Mac an Bheatha, who was involved in the other side of the debate.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can view the descriptive list.

The collection can be viewed in full in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room.