Monday, March 30, 2020

Music for Galway - The Archive and Music





The Music for Galway Archive includes a detailed record of concerts and events produced since the group was established in early 1981.Ranging in date from 1981-2015, the archive consists of thirty boxes of materials and over 100 posters. 

Over the past nearly forty years, Music for Galway have established their place as a leading cultural group in Galway, in Ireland, and internationally, and have hosted renowned Irish and international acts as part of their season annually. The Music for Galway Archive, held at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, is a record of their many achievements since their beginning in 1981, their growth and development and how they have brought world class and internationally celebrated music to Galway audiences since its foundations. 

This audio post gives an overview of the MFG archive as well as its founding events in Galway in 1981. 
You can also search the MFG archive catalogue here and discover the records which chart the histry of one of Ireland's leading cultural groups.


The Steinway Grand Piano being lifted into position at the
Aula Maxima, University College Galway (NUIG) 1981.
Music for Galway Archive, Hardiman Library.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Cartlann Chonradh na Gaeilge - Céim 2: An Cóiriú

Agus an geimhreadh ag teannadh linn, agus ceann de na himeachtaí is tábhachtaí i saol na Gaeilge, an tOireachtas, buailte linn, tá sé tráthúil an scéal is déanaí a roinnt libh maidir leis an obair atá idir lámha ar chartlann Chonradh na Gaeilge. Is é seo an tríú blag i sraith a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aici spléachadh a thabhairt daoibh ar a mbíonn ar siúl ag an gcartlannaí - i.e. mé féin! D’inis mé daoibh i gcéad bhlag na sraithe seo faoi na céimeanna éagsúla atá ríthábhachtach chun bailiúchán a phróiseáil sular féidir é a chur ar fáil don phobal: bíodh a fhios agat céard atá agat, déan sábháilte é, déan é a mheas, déan cinneadh faoin leagan amach, déan é a chatalógú, déan cinneadh faoi cad ba cheart a bheith ar fáil don phobal agus ansin cuir ar fáil é. Rinneadh plé níos mionsonraithe sa dara blag ar an bpróiseas breithiúnais, agus tugadh míniú ar an réasúnaíocht a bhí taobh thiar den tionscadal ollmhór seo a bhriseadh suas ina thrí chéim: Tús na hOibre (is é seo an próiseas trína ndéantar ábhar gach bosca a thógáil amach, a scrúdú, a liostú agus a chur i mboscaí cartlainne speisialta a stóráiltear ansin i seomraí stórais sábháilte aerchóiriúcháin), Cóiriú agus an Chéim Dheireanach.


Leanann an blag seo ón gceann deireanach agus cuireann sé síos ar an obair a bhíonn i gceist nuair atáthar ag teacht ar chinneadh maidir le cóiriú a chur ar bhailiúchán. Pléitear ansin an chéim dheireanach den saothar leanúnach seo.


Dhá shampla den eagar a bhfuil trí leibhéal den ordlathas liostaithe anseo.  Beidh leibhéil eile ordlathais sa bhailiúchán, lena n-áirítear fo-fhoshraith, comhad agus mír.


Cóiriú


Ag deireadh na Chéad Chéime, tá a bhfuil sa bhailiúchán trí chéile cosanta ó riochtaí na haeráide, tá a fhios againn (ag leibhéal bunúsach) céard atá ann, agus tá tuairim againn cén chaoi teacht air.

An chéad chéim eile sa phróiseas cinneadh a dhéanamh maidir le cóiriú. Bíonn smacht intleachtúil againn ar bhailiúchán nuair atá cóiriú curtha air, tugann sé struchtúr dó agus éascaíonn sé an réamhobair atá le déanamh chun go mbeidh na míreanna atá ann inaimsithe ag taighdeoirí sa todhchaí trí ábhar a bhaineann lena chéile a ghrúpáil faoi chatagóirí ar leith i sraitheanna/foshraitheanna/comhaid etc.

Tá dhá fhochéim i gceist leis an gcéim seo:

    • Cóiriú intleachtúil

    • Cóiriú fisiciúil

Cóiriú Intleachtúil


Bhí orm, ar an gcéad dul síos, teacht ar cóiriú loighciúil chun ciall a bhaint as an mbailiúchán agus gach a raibh ann a dhéanamh a inaimsithe agus ab fhéidir. Is é an nós imeachta a ghlacfaidh an cartlannaí chuige nó chuici féin go hiondúil aon cóiriú reatha a bhí ann a choinneáil. Ar an drochuair, ní raibh sé sin indéanta sa chás seo. Cuimsítear breis agus 125 bliain sa bhailiúchán seo, tréimhse inar bhog ceanncheathrú an Chonartha sé huaire, agus ina raibh 32 uachtarán aige a chuimsigh 35 téarma oifige. Stóráladh ábhar i roinnt suíomhanna, stóráil sheachtrach san áireamh, agus ní raibh aon cóiriú inaitheanta air. Bhí modhanna oibre éagsúla ag rúnaithe éagsúla i gcaitheamh na mblianta, agus ba léir gur bogadh roinnt uaireanta é ón uair a tionscnaíodh é. (Is gnách go dtarlódh a leithéid i gcás eagraíochta chomh mór agus chomh fadsaolach sin!)

Cóiriú Fisiciúil


Tar éis dom an cinneadh a dhéanamh maidir le cóiriú, bhí orm na míreanna a chur le chéile go fisiciúil faoin struchtúr sin. D’fhág sé sin gur thosaigh mé ag céad chatagóir an eagair agus gur bhain mé amach gach ar bhain leis an gcatagóir sin ó gach bosca a raibh a leithéid d’ábhar iontu. Ní beag an líon sin i gcás roinnt de na catagóirí. Mar is féidir libh a shamhlú, bhí go leor ama i gceist leis sin ach ba thábhachtach an obair í. Bhí míreanna a bhain le topaicí sainiúla faoi leith scaipthe fud fad an bhailiúcháin go dtí gur críochnaíodh céim fhisiciúil an chóirithe.


Cad é an Chóiriú?


Tá trí phríomhchuid i gceist leis an cóiriú atá roghnaithe agam, agus cuimsítear leo sin 45 sraith. (Bailiúchán OLLMHÓR  atá ann, ar ndóigh!!!)

Cuimsíonn an chéad chuid (sraith 1 – 13) an eagraíocht féin agus a struchtúr agus san áireamh ann tá tuarascálacha bliantúla, doiciméid bheartais, comhaid fostaithe, ábhar riaracháin, ábhar airgeadais, foilseacháin, miontuairiscí na hArd-Fheise, Caidreamh Poiblí mar aon le hábhar ó chraobhacha agus coistí éagsúla. Baineann an dara cuid (sraith 14 – 21) leis na hEalaíona agus an Cultúr go ginearálta agus áirítear leis comórtas bliantúil an Oireachtais, féilte in Éirinn agus thar lear, ceol, spóirt, drámaíocht agus litríocht. Taighde is mó atá sa chuid deiridh (sraith 22 – 45), agus san áireamh tá páipéir Dhonncha Uí Shúilleabháin agus Ghiolla Críost Uí Bhroin mar aon le hábhar a bhaineann le Pádraig Mac Piarais, Tuaisceart Éireann, an pholaitíocht, ranna Rialtais agus gnólachtaí. Tá sraith fhairsing ann chomh maith a bhaineann leis na feachtais éagsúla a reáchtáil an eagraíocht nó a raibh baint aici leo.





Suaitheantais éadaigh an Oireachtais ó na 1940í nó na 1950í agus biachlár ó 1979



Tá struchtúr anois agam faoin cóiriú seo chun uimhreacha tagartha a eisiúint do gach sraith, foshraith, comhad agus mír. Tugadh an cód G60 ar bhailiúchán Chonradh na Gaeilge, mar shampla. Tá a fhios agam anois, i bhfianaise 45 sraith a bheith ann san iomlán, go dtósóidh na cóid sraithe ag G60/1 agus go gcríochnóidh siad ag G60/45, agus go leanfar leis an uimhriú de réir ordlathas an chóirithe e.g. tabharfar an cód G60/19/2/3 ar an tríú comhad sa 2ú foshraith den 19ú sraith!


Doiciméid stóráilte go sábháilte i bhfillteán saor ó aigéad, agus marcáilte leis an uimhir thagartha ábhartha. Is féidir an raon cód tagartha atá comhdaithe sa bhosca a fheiceáil ar chlaibín an bhosca.

Catalógú


Agus an dara céim curtha i gcrích, tá sé in am an bailiúchán a chatalógú. Ní bheidh sé indéanta don taighdeoir uirlis chuardaigh a úsáid chun fáil amach céard atá sa bhailiúchán ar féidir féachaint air go dtí go mbeidh an catalógú curtha i gcrích. Is é atá i gceist le catalógú cur síos a dhéanamh ar bhailiúchán, sraith, foshraith, comhad nó mír, ar cur síos é sin a insíonn don taighdeoir ní hamháin a bhfuil i gceist leis ach an comhthéacs chomh maith. Tá gnáthréimsí sonraí le comhlánú ag an gcartlannaí gairmiúil ag an staid seo agus ní mór dó nó di treoirlínte diana tuairisciúla a leanúint chun cloí le dea-chleachtas. Cuirtear an t-eolas sin ansin isteach i mbunachar sonraí (cartlainne) CALM.


Gabháil scáileáin den chrann taifead in CALM (bunachar sonraí cartlainne) ina bhfuil gach ceann den 45 sraith ar taispeáint.  



I gcás bailiúcháin chomh mór leis an gceann seo, is é an bealach is sábháilte chun a chinntiú go gcloífear leis na cleachtais is fearr ná cur síos a dhéanamh ar an mbailiúchán go céimneach ón leibhéal bailiúcháin síos go dtí an leibhéal comhaid nó fiú an leibhéal míre, agus cinntiú go bhfuil gach céim críochnaithe sula mbogfar ar aghaidh chuig an gcéad chéim eile. Tá áthas orm a bheith in ann a thuairisciú go bhfuil an cur síos ag an Leibhéal Bailiúcháin agus ag an Leibhéal Sraithe críochnaithe anois. Tá mé ag obair anois ar liostú ag leibhéal níos ísle den ordlathas (e.g. fo-fhoshraith / comhad) agus tá mé an-sásta a bheith in ann a rá go scaoilfimid le codanna den bhailiúchán i gcodanna de réir mar a chríochnaítear iad. Déanfaimid amhlaidh mar gheall ar an méid spéise atá á chur sa bhailiúchán agus mar go bhfuil sé chomh mór sin, agus ionas nach mbeidh ar thaighdeoirí fanacht go dtí go mbeidh cur síos déanta ar an mbailiúchán ina iomláine. Déanfaidh mé sin chomh tapaidh is atá mé in ann, ach ní mór foighne a bheith agaibh! Díreach mar go gcuirtear cuid amháin ar fáil, ná glac leis go mbeidh an chéad cheann eile sna sála air!





Rogha dearaí lógó do Iubhaile Órga na hArd-Chraoibhe. Ar taispeáint sna híomhánna tá an mhír roimh agus i ndiaidh glanadh bunúsach ar an dromchla agus mionobair dheisiúcháin ag úsáid na huirlisí atá ar taispeáint. 


Gnéithe eile le cur san áireamh


Tá dhá shaincheist eile atá luaite agam cheana féin a bhfuil aghaidh le tabhairt orthu ag an gcéim seo, is iad sin cinntí a dhéanamh maidir le hinrochtaineacht i gcomhthéacs GDPR agus breithnithe eile chun go mbeifí comhlíontach leis an reachtaíocht agus, ar an dara dul síos, míreanna a roghnú le haghaidh a ndigitithe. Sa chás gur bailiúchán beag atá i gceist (roinnt boscaí cartlanna, mar shampla), tá sé in ann a bheith éasca teacht ar na hacmhainní chun é a dhigitiú ina iomláine, agus an bailiúchán ar fad a chur ar fáil ar an gcaoi sin (seachas na taifid sin nach mór iad a bheith dúnta ar aon chuma chun bheith comhlíontach le GDPR etc.). I gcás bailiúchán ollmhór cosúil leis an gceann seo, ní raibh sé indéanta i dtéarmaí praiticiúla gach uile rud a dhigitiú. Tagann saincheisteanna cosúil le ham, costas agus stóráil chun cinn, faraor. Tá deacracht ann chomh maith ó thaobh an comhthéacs a bhaineann le gach íomhá a choinneáil, go háirithe mura bhfuil sí liostaithe ag leibhéal míre. Ní mór, mar sin, roghnú cúramach agus pragmatach a dhéanamh. De réir mar a leanaim le próiseáil agus le liostáil an bhailiúcháin, tarraingím aird ar na míreanna a bhféadfaí iad a dhigitiú amach anseo. 

Cur ar fáil


Ar aghaidh linn chuig an dea-scéal mar sin! Mar a luadh cheana, beidh sraitheanna á gcur ar fáil againn don phobal i gcodanna chun ligean do thaighdeoirí rochtain a fháil ar na codanna sin den bhailiúchán atá críochnaithe sula gcríochnófar an liostáil go hiomlán. Cuirfear na codanna sin ar fáil ar bhonn eatramhach i rith na bliana seo chugainn de réir mar a chríochnaítear iad. Tá tús áite á thabhairt do shraitheanna bunaithe ar líon fachtóirí, lena n-áirítear méid, spéis don taighdeoir, moltaí ón ngrúpa sainspéise, a éasca a bheidh sé iad a chur ar fáil agus ábhair imní maidir le GDPR. 

Céard atá á chur ar fáil?


Sé shraith atá i gceist leis an gcéad chuid roimh Oireachtas na bliana seo: “Craobhacha, Coistí Ceantair agus Dála Cúige”, “Comhaltas Uladh”, “Drámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Scannánaíocht”, “Spóirt”, “Pádraig Mac Piarais” agus, ar ndóigh “An tOireachtas”. I measc an ábhair a mbaineann spéis faoi leith leis áirítear craobh Londan agus Ard-Chraobh CnaG, litreacha ó Bhreandán Ó Beacháin agus Seán O’Casey faoi dhrámaí i nGaeilge, ábhar a bhaineann le Scoil Éanna, cláir, cuirí agus boinn comórtais. Cuimseofar tréimhse ama ó na 1890í go dtí an lá atá inniu ann sa 72 bosca ábhair a osclófar. Chun tuiscint cheart a fháil, áfach, ar shaibhreas an ábhair in aon cheann de na sraitheanna seo, moltar duit lá a chur i leataobh chun cuairt a thabhairt orainn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, agus a bheith ag treabhadh leat trí na boscaí tú féin!





Dhá ghrianghraf ó leabhar cuntas craoibhe i Londain a n-áirítear leis scoil in Highgate a raibh ranganna Gaeilge ar siúl inti.


An chéad chéim eile


Cuirfear an chéad chuid eile ar fáil (má spáráiltear muid!) go gairid roimh an Nollaig, agus eiseofar tuilleadh in 2020. Chun súil a choinneáil orthu, bí ag faire amach d’fhógraí eile amach anseo ar an mblag seo nó ar twitter (@nuigarchives).

Go dtí sin, bainigí taitneamh as na híomhánna seo a thugann blaiseadh beag dá bhfuil ann! 


An clár do “An Comhar” (aisteoirí Bhaile Átha Cliath) in Amharclann na Cathrach in 1925

Seic a scríobhadh do Phádraig Mac Piarais do agus thar ceann Scoil Éanna in 1912. Tá síniú an Phiarsaigh ar chúl.

Póstaeir Chumann Lúthchleas Gael do Chraobhchomórtas Iománaíochta Sóisearach, gan dáta ach deireadh na 1950í is dócha



Go dtí an chéad uair eile,

Beirigí bua,

Niamh

Conradh na Gaeilge Archive - Phase 2: The Arrangement



As winter approaches, and one of the most important events in the Irish language calendar, the Oireachtas, draws closer what better time for an update of progress on the Conradh na Gaeilge archive. This is the third blog in a series which is designed to give you all a “behind-the-scenes” view of the work of the archivist - i.e. moi! In the first blog of this series I noted the various stages vital to processing a collection before it can be made available: know what you have, make it safe, appraise it, decide on an arrangement, catalogue it, consider what should be made accessible and then release it. The second blog discussed appraisal in more detail and showed the value of breaking this vast project up into three stages: The First Pass (where the contents of every box are removed, examined, listed and re-housed in special archive boxes which are then stored in secure climate-conditioned storerooms), The Arrangement and The “Final Countdown”.

This blog follows on from the last and will cover the work that goes in to deciding on an arrangement for a collection, before also discussing the final phase in this ongoing work. 





Two examples of the arrangement which is listed here to 3 levels of hierarchy. Further levels of hierarchy will exist in the collection including sub-subseries, file and item.



Arrangement


At the end of what I’ve termed The First Pass the entire collection has been made safe from the elements, we know what’s in it (to a basic level), and we know roughly where to find it.

The next stage in the process is to come up with an arrangement. The arrangement of a collection gives us intellectual control over it, gives it structure, and lays the ground work for making items easily discoverable to researchers down the road by grouping related material together under distinct categories in series / sub-series / files etc.

This stage is broken into two parts:

    • Intellectual arrangement

    • Physical Arrangement


Intellectual arrangement


Firstly I needed to come up with a logical arrangement that made sense of the collection and made everything as discoverable as possible. Normally with a collection the archivist would try to retain any existing arrangement within it. However unfortunately for us this was not possible. During the 125+ year period covered in the collection Conradh headquarters moved six times, and had 32 presidents covering 35 terms. Material was stored in several locations including offsite storage, and had no discernible arrangement. Different secretaries had different work methods over the decades, and the material had clearly been moved and mixed up several times from when it was first generated. (This is completely normal for such a large and long running organisation!)


Physical Arrangement


Once I had come up with an arrangement, I then needed to physically put the items together under this structure. This meant starting at the first category of the arrangement and removing items relevant to that category from every box that held such items, which in some cases was numerous. As you can all imagine this is a time-consuming, but important step. Until the physical part of arrangement stage was completed, items relating to a specific topic were still scattered throughout the collection.


So what is the Arrangement?


The arrangement I decided on comprises three main sections totaling 45 series. (Yes! This collection is HUGE!!!)

The first section (series 1 – 13) covers the organisation itself and its structure and includes annual reports, policy documents, employee files, administration material, finance material, publications, Ard Fheis [annual congress] minutes, PR and material from various branches and committees. The second section (series 14 – 21) relates to Arts and Culture in general and includes the annual Oireachtas competition, festivals both in Ireland and abroad, music, sport, drama and literature. The final section (series 22 - 45) broadly relates to research including the papers of Donncha Ó Súilleabháin and Giolla Críost Ó Broin and material relating to Patrick Pearse, Northern Ireland, politics, Government departments and businesses. It also contains an extensive series relating to various campaigns run by or involving the organisation.



Oireachtas cloth badges from the 1940s or 50s and a menu from 1979



This arrangement now gives me a structure from which to issue reference numbers to every series, subseries, file and item. For example the Conradh na Gaeilge collection has been given the code G60. With 45 series in all, I know that series codes will run from G60/1 to G60/45 and numbering will continue according to the hierarchy of the arrangement e.g. the third file in the 2nd subseries of the 19th series will be given the code G60/19/2/3!

Documents safely stored in acid free folders, marked with the relevant reference number. The range of reference codes filed in the box can be seen marked on the box lid.


Cataloguing


Once the second stage has been completed it is then time to catalogue the collection. Until the cataloguing has been completed it is still not possible for the researcher to browse through a finding aid to know what can be viewed from the collection. Cataloguing involves giving a description to a collection, series, subseries, file or item which not only describes it but gives it its context. There are standard data fields a professional archivist must complete at this stage, following strict descriptive guidelines to adhere to best practice. This information is then entered into the CALM (Archive) database.
A screenshot of the record tree in CALM (Archive database) showing all 45 series. 



With a collection of this size, the safest way of ensuring best practice is maintained is to describe the collection from collection level down to file level or even item level in stages, ensuring each stage is complete before moving on to the next. I’m happy to say that Collection Level description and Series Level description are now complete. I am now working on listing to a lower level of hierarchy (eg subsubseries / file) and am even happier to announce that because there has been so much interest in this collection and because it is so vast, rather than waiting until the entire collection is described fully, we will instead release parts of the collection in tranches, as they are completed. I will do this as fast as I can, but please be patient! When a tranche is released, it doesn’t mean the next one will be hot on its heels!





A selection of logo designs for the Golden jubilee of the central branch. Images show the item before and after a basic surface clean and slight repair job using tools shown. 



Other Considerations


I have previously mentioned two further considerations that take place at this stage, namely making decisions on accessibility based on GDPR and other considerations thereby adhering to various legislation, and secondly selecting items for digitisation. Where a collection is small (several archive boxes, for example) it can be easy to find the resources to digitise it in its entirety thereby making the whole collection available (bar records which would have to be closed anyway to adhere to GDPR etc.). With a collection as gigantic as this one, it is simply not feasible in practical terms to digitise it all. Issues such as time, cost and storage raise their ugly heads, unfortunately. So too does the difficulty in retaining context for every image, in particular if it has not been listed to item level. Therefore careful and pragmatic selection is required - as I continue to process and list the collection, I am flagging items which could be digitised at a later point.


Releasing


So on to the good news! As mentioned previously we will be releasing in tranches to allow researchers access completed parts of the collection prior to the overall completion of listing. These tranches will be released at intervals over the coming year, as work is complete. Series are being prioritised for release based on a number of factors including size, interest for the researcher, recommendations from the special interest group, ease of release and GDPR concerns (or lack of).


What’s being released


The first tranche to be released ahead of the Oireachtas consists of six series: “Branches, District Councils and Provincial Executives”, “Comhaltas Uladh”, “Drama, Theatre and Film”, “Sport”, “Patrick Pearse” and of course “The Oireachtas”. Material of particular interest relates to the London and Central branches of CnaG, letters from Brendan Behan and Seán O’Casey relating to plays in Irish, material relating to Scoil Éanna, posters, programmes, invites, and competition medals. In total 72 boxes of material will be opened for access covering a time period from the 1890s to the present day. However to truly appreciate the richness of material in any of these series, the best advice is to give yourself a day off, visit us in NUIG and trawl through the boxes! 





Two photos from a London Branch book of accounts which include a school in Highgate where Irish language classes were taught.


What’s next


The next tranche will be released (all going well!) shortly before Christmas with subsequent releases following in 2020. To keep track of these releases keep an eye out for further release announcements either through this blog series or on twitter (@nuigarchives).

In the meantime enjoy the little taster of images included here!
Programme for “An Comhar” (Dublin actors) at the Abbey Theatre 1925

Cheque made out to Patrick Pearse, for and on behalf of Scoil Éanna 1912. This cheque is signed by Pearse on the reverse.


A GAA poster for a Junior Hurling Championship, no date but probably late 1950s



Until the next time,

Beirigí Bua

Niamh

Friday, August 9, 2019

“Houses of the Nobility and Gentry”: Big Houses of County Galway Heritage Week Photographic Exhibition 19 – 24 August 2019





Houses of the Nobility and Gentry”: 
Big Houses of County Galway
Heritage Week Photographic Exhibition
19 – 24 August 2019

O’Donoghue Centre, NUI, Galway 

  

  

Galway Landed Estates from the Archives
Heritage Week Seminar
24 August 2019, 10.00-13.30
O’Donoghue Theatre, NUI, Galway

Programme

10AM: Welcome
10.10-11.15: Researchers’ Panel
Olivia Martin: West of Ireland Landed Estates collections as sources for women’s lives
Joe Murphy: The Redington Papers: Insight into a 19th Clarinbridge estate
Ann O’Riordan: Hearnesbrook House & Estate, Killimor

11.15-11.45 Coffee/Tea

11.45-12.30 Landed Estates resources in practice
Geraldine Curtin: Family History in estate archives:  the Wilson-Lynch Collection
Martin Curley: The Landed Estates database as an educational tool for primary and second-level students
Brigid Clesham: Landed estates collections as evidence for landscape studies, the Plunket estate, Tourmakeady

12.30-13.30 Marie Boran & Brigid Clesham: Landed estates research workshop: Landed Estates database researchers will be on hand to help with queries relating to sourcing material on the history of big houses and landed estates in Ireland.

ADMISSION IS FREE BUT BOOKING ESSENTIAL. See https://www.heritageweek.ie/whats-on/event/galway-estates-from-the-archives for details.

NUI Galway, Galway County Council Heritage Service and Skehana Heritage Group are collaborating on a photographic showcase on Galway Estates as part of Heritage Week, which takes place from 17 to 25 August.


In 2016 Skehana Heritage Group first began displaying images of some of Galway’s “Big Houses”, the buildings from which landed estates large and small were managed for over 200 years. They were the multi-nationals of their day in providing employment. Sadly, however, their legacy was frequently one of control and which perpetuated an increasingly unsustainable economic model. The estates’ demise principally came about in the first decades of the twentieth century when the government-sponsored Land Acts advanced the money to tenant farmers to purchase their holdings and become owner-occupiers.

It has been estimated that east Galway, in particular, had a larger proportion of such houses, large and small, than any other county in Ireland. The Skehana initiative complements the research conducted at NUI Galway’s Moore Institute in the Irish Landed Estates project which has been in existence since 2007. For more information on the Irish Landed Estates project see http://www.landedestates.ie/.

The Heritage Week event will see hundreds of photographic images of these houses - some intact, some ruined, some whose memory only exists on the landscape in the form of a map or drawing from the nineteenth century – on display in banner format in the O’Donoghue Building foyer, from 19 to 24 August. An added attraction will be facsimile copies of leases, maps, memoirs and marriage settlements from the over 20 landed estate archival collections housed in the James Hardiman Library’s Archives and Special Collections.

NUI Galway will also host a half day seminar, Galway Estates from the Archives, on Saturday, 24 August from 9.30am to 1.30pm. The seminar will explore how historians and other researchers employ these documents to tell the stories of their families, local areas, landscapes and communities.

Marie Boran, NUI Galway Special Collections Librarian and Landed Estates researcher, said: “This is the first time the Galway Big Houses banners will be on display in Galway City, though they have been exhibited in various parts of the county. It will be a wonderful opportunity for Galway people and visitors alike to learn more about these buildings which are so central to our past.”

Attendance at the event is free. Details of booking and information are available at: https://www.heritageweek.ie/whats-on/event/galway-estates-from-the-archives





Friday, March 1, 2019

Maurice Hayes and the GAA

As well as being an outstanding public servant and commentator Maurice Hayes had an abiding interest in Irish culture, the Irish language and the GAA, particularly in relation to his native County Down. The archival collection now with the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway reflects those interests, in particular his abiding interest in County Down. 

As a player he was a hurler with Kilclif, and became the first player outside of the Ards to play on the Down county team. His interest in the GAA continued in Queens and later on his return to Downpatrick as a teacher. This interest in hurling may have been inspired by his father Michael, a native of Kildwan (near Bunmahon) County Waterford, while his mother’s links with her native Listowel probably inspired an interest in football. 



The GAA was the first organisation that Maurice became deeply involved in, and from an early age. He was a County Down delegate at the famous (or infamous) 1947 GAA Congress, which decided to hold the All-Ireland football final in New York that year. Although only a teenager at the time his abilities were noted, and he was Assistant Secretary of the Down County Board by 1950. In his report to the County AGM published in the “Irish Press” on 12 January 1951, he gave details of the new club football league introduced and played in 1950. “Ten teams were selected to take part and special by-laws were drawn up and approved”. He went on to report “there was a full programme of senior football in the county, catering for an average of 150 players each Sunday, either by way of league, championship or county matches”. This was followed by an inter-barony league, introducing players to a high standard of games, as well as better medical care for injured players and the introduction of track-suits to allow substitutes get on the field quickly. 


Becoming Vice-Chairman of the Ulster Council in 1955, Maurice continued with others to support the development of the county team, encouraging players and officials to think big. One of those players, Brian Morgan, was interviewed by Fabian Boyle in 1970 and recalled in impact of Maurice. Brian had come onto the County Team in 1957, along with household names like James McCartan, Paddy Doherty and Tony Hadden, who had been suspended for playing soccer. “The talent was there all right, but it could just as well have been squandered. The pieces did not just fall into place; it took three years of effort, experiment, persistence and organisation to slot the right man into the best position, and produce the magic formula.” 


“Maurice Hayes knew precisely where he was going, and predicted that, if we stayed together and co-operated with the team-management, we would win the Sam Maguire Cup. He had confidence in our ability, and there was mutual respect between him and the players.” 

“We could have got a U.S trip, after winning the All-Ireland title in 1960. But Maurice promised that, if we waited and went on to win in 1961, we would get a holiday that we would never forget. And, true to his word, the Down squad was treated to a six-weeks tour of the U.S.A., with everything laid on. The organisation was superb.”  

Speaking to Declan Bogue in 2017, Maurice gave his opinion on that team.  
"The one thing is that the 1960 team, every one of them was a good citizen afterwards. They made a contribution in one way or another to the society they were in." 

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, will officially open the archive of Maurice Hayes at NUI Galway before giving a public lecture entitled, ‘A European identity: some reflections on the career of Maurice Hayes on the opening of his archive at NUI Galway’ on Tuesday, 12 March.