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  • The Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Oral History will be offered at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 on Monday evenings from September 2016 until April 2017. The course consists of 70 hours part time and the course will equip participants with skills in the preparation and conduct of oral history projects, including best practice in the collection and archiving of oral history interviews. The closing date for course applications is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 16 September 2016. Dublin City Council offers two Bursaries for candidates taking the Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Oral History, and closing date for bursary applications is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 9 September 2016
    Full details of bursary and course application can be downloaded online or please email Dublin City Library and Archive with details of your postal address to request print versions.

  • ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann 1913-1918 The Irish Volunteers’ exhibition was officially launched in Louth County Archives by Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Councillor Peter Savage on Tuesday 16th February 2016.
  • Leading European Research Project showcases half a million resources on Medieval and World War I history from over 1,200 institutions across the globe One of the largest historical archive platforms worldwide Read More .......

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Louth County Archives Story Box 2016


 Dundalk Gaol 1853-1931, now home to Louth County Archives

Louth County Archives is home to the county’s public and private papers and is situated in one of Dundalk’s most historical buildings, Dundalk Gaol. The Gaol was built in 1853 in order to relieve problems of the undersized prison then in existence at Crowe Street Dundalk. The building was designed by John Neville who was employed by the Grand Jury as County Surveyor for Louth from 1840-1886. The total cost of the Gaol building was £23,000, £5,000 over the original estimate. When originally built, the Gaol was classed as a County Borough Gaol, for imprisonment administrated by the Grand Juries. In 1915 the Gaol was taken over by the British Military and was later used to hold political prisoners during the War of Independence, and again during the Civil War.


The Governor’s House was joined to the prison’s two cell blocks through an inspection hall and is now home to the Garda Síochána. The A wing of the Gaol which was formerly the Women’s block is now home to Louth County Archives, and the B Wing which housed the male prisoners is now home to the Oriel Centre. The Gaol and its surrounding buildings were enclosed by a 20ft stone wall. The surrounding area of the Gaol originally contained grass and tillage plots, gravel areas, and additional buildings including the Gaol hospital. The old layout of the Gaol and its surroundings can be seen in the map below.

During the period that the Gaol housed political prisoners, many well known figures were interned here in Dundalk. These figures included- Frank Aiken (who later became a Government Minister for Defence, Finance, and External Affairs), Austin Stack (who later became the Minister for Home Affairs), Seán Treacy (leader of the Third Tipperary Brigade of the I.R.A during the War of Independence) and Diarmuid Lynch (who is said to have married Kathleen Quinn in Dundalk Gaol before his deportation). Amidst the Anglo-Irish struggle, a hunger strike took place in the Gaol which Stack led and Treacy took part in. During the Civil War there was a successful attempt made to rescue anti-treaty prisoners. On 27 July 1922, a mine was placed on the perimeter wall on the Ardee Road. This blew a hole in the stone wall and was followed by a grenade attack on the Gaol. It is estimated that 105 prisoners managed to escape during this attack, having previously been alerted to the plan. Many of the escapees were later recaptured. Frank Aiken was amongst the men who managed to escape. The destruction on the perimeter wall caused by the explosion can still be seen on entering the Archives building from the Ardee road. Details of the prisoners who escaped can also be seen on the Gaol Register, a copy of which is held here. A transcript of the escapees is also available on our website-


In 1999 refurbishment work began on the Southern cell block of the Gaol in order to transform the building into a suitable premise for Louth’s Archives Service. A considerable amount of restoration work was carried out in order to accommodate long term preservation strategies. The Gaol’s solid stonewalls were painted with a special white and lime wash mix to allow them to breath. The old ventilation outlets were sealed and a dual air handling and heating system was installed to control the interior environmental conditions. The original features of the Gaol that had survived such as cell doors, number plates, and windows were restored. After approximately eighteen months of construction work, the building was transformed and the Archives service was opened. The collections now have secure and environmentally controlled storage while the public can access the Archive’s collections in our reading room.

Louth County Archives holds a small collection relating to Dundalk Gaol. Items can be viewed on display or in the reading room. The Archive has a historical cell which is open to the public and holds a display of photographs and artefacts from the collection. A drawing of the Gaol layout (P408) was donated by the Dundalk Gardaí. This was designed by Jeremiagh J Hayes and is dated 1914. This is on display in the Archives. There is a Jail Register dated from 1917-1931 which is held in the National Archives. Louth Archives holds a microfilm copy of the register which can be viewed in our reading room. The image below (NAI/PRIS/1/16/1) is a digital copy of a page from the register. This copy was sent by the National Archives and we would like to acknowledge the Director for giving us permission to use this image. The entries show the names and descriptions of the prisoners and also detail the offence which they committed. The image below contains the entry for Frank Aiken and notes the day of his escape- "Rescued from custody 27.7.22". Other items included in this story box feature a photograph (PP256) showing the Gaol building from the front, looking at the Governor’s house. This was donated by the Old Dundalk Society. There are also two images from an autograph book (PP11_005) held here which was compiled by Packie Flynn who was a prisoner in the jail during 1918. The final image shows the historical cell located in the Archives building.


Louth County Archives is open to researchers Monday to Friday 9am-4pm by appointment only. Readers can come in to see the historical cell, the items on display in the entrance, research our collections in the reading room, or come into our exhibition space which currently holds the ‘Our Louth Volunteers 1914-1918’ exhibition. For further information please visit our website -


                                   Historic Cell   PP11_005(2)  ‘PP11_005(1)’       ‘PP256’   ‘NAI/PRIS/1/16/1’


 We would like to acknowledge the Director of the National Archives for granting permission to use the image from the Jail Register.

We would also like to acknowledge the Old Dundalk Society for the use of the photograph of Dundalk Gaol.


Liam O'Leary Archive Story Box 2016

                                                                                MS 50,000/149/2: Photograph of Liam O’Leary from the Irish Film Society materials in the Liam O’Leary Archive

The Irish Film Institute and the National Library of Ireland are collaborating to preserve and catalogue the archive of Liam O’Leary (1910-1992); a founding member of the Irish Film Society, actor, writer, film researcher, historian, archivist and overall film fanatic. O’Leary laid the foundation stone of the Irish Film Archive, in April 1992, where his film collection is now preserved. The Liam O’Leary Archive, which was donated to the National Library of Ireland in 1986 comprise O’Leary’s papers relating to his research into Irish film, filmmakers and cinemas, and his personal collection of correspondence and film memorabilia.

More information on the collection can be found on a regular blog for the IFI;


                                                                                                            MS 50,000/76/14 First page of the script for ‘Our Country’, directed by Liam O’Leary                                                     


Liam O’Leary was also involved in making some films in the 1940s-1950s in Ireland, including the party political film ‘Our Country’ for Clann na Poblachta and the public service films ‘Mr. Careless Goes to Town’ and ‘Safe Cycling’; which are both on the IFI Player.;

                                                                                                                                MS50000/71/12Review of ‘Mr. Careless Goes to Town’ and ‘Safe Cycling’ from The Leader Irish newspaper, 1949          


The films were produced by the National Film Institute for the Department of Local Government in 1949 and directed by Liam O’Leary.‘Mr. Careless Goes to Town’ shows the dangers and consequences of drunk driving while also showing how to drive well on city and country roads. ‘Safe Cycling’ is a more light-hearted film illustrating the history of the bicycle (including the penny-farthing and the bone-shaker) and how to stay safe, cycling on Irish roads. The films are a great chance to see Dublin city in 1949; with images of the Theatre Royal Cinema (no doubt a nod from Liam O’Leary to his love of cinema), and tramlines around the city.

                                                                                         MS 50000/230/20 Image of the Theatre Royal from the Liam O’Leary Archive


IFI Irish Film Archive Story Box 2016


 Horgan Brothers Collection and the IFI Player

The Horgan Brothers’ films (1910- 1920) are some of the earliest moving images made in Ireland. Brothers George, James and Thomas Horgan began their careers in the late 19th century in Youghal, Co. Cork as shoemakers and photographers. They ran magic lantern shows in Youghal and in the surrounding villages and townlands. From 1900, following the success of their photographic studio and magic lantern shows, James Horgan began to use a motion picture camera to capture current events and their local community.

In 1917 the brothers opened the purpose-built 600-seat cinema The Horgan Picture Theatre in Youghal, where they screened The Youghal Gazette – their local topical newsreel featuring events of local interest – along with contemporary international feature films. This practice was not uncommon among early cinema owners – who would frequently film events (such as fairs and processions) which were well-attended by locals thereby guaranteeing a full house of people keen to see themselves on the big screen.

The Horgans experimented with photography and models and the collection at the Irish Film Archive includes the earliest surviving Irish animation which dates from about 1910. It features the Youghal Town Hall Clock standing on its head and pirouetting in place.

This collection was donated to the IFI Irish Film Archive by Jim Horgan, who is the grandson of James Horgan. Soon after acquisition, the nitrate rolls were transferred to modern safety stock. Although most of the reels had suffered the ravages of time and all were incomplete – enough had survived to provide an invaluable moving image record of what appeared on screen a century ago in a rural Irish cinema.

Some of the films from the Horgan Brothers Collection at now freely available to view around the globe on the recently launched IFI Player. The IFI Player is a virtual viewing room for the remarkable collections held at the Irish Film Archive. The material on the IFI Player has been selected to give audiences a taste of the breadth and depth of the collections preserved by the Archive. Home movies, newsreels, travelogues, animations, feature films, public information films and documentaries have been included as we have tried to reflect all aspects of indigenous amateur and professional production.

Every month we will be adding more great newsreels, travelogues, animations, feature films and more from the IFI Irish Film Archive onto the IFI Player. This virtual viewing room is a document of Ireland’s heritage and we want to find out more about the stories behind the films that we preserve in our vaults in Temple Bar. Spot yourself or someone you know in one of the films on the IFI Player? Let us know and tell us your story. Curious to learn more about a certain film? Ask us. Please feel free to get in touch with us and let us know what you think of the IFI Player. If you would like to get in contact with us please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would love to hear from you.
                                                         IFI Player Logo    Inside of Horgan’s Picture Theatre, Youghal, County Cork   A1124.jpg: Horgan’s Picture Theatre, Youghal, County Cork  
                                                                                                  A1129.jpg James Horgan with his son Joseph and a magic lantern  Horgan Brothers_Youghal Clock Tower

National Folklore Collection Story Box 2016

Established in 1935, the Irish Folklore Commission pioneered a revolutionary new approach to the collection of folklore in Ireland. Looking to collect and preserve the country’s oral tradition, the Commission hired full-time collectors from across the island to record and transcribe native tales, legends, traditions and customs, many of which faced extinction owing to the on-going effects of emigration, language decline and urbanisation. Focusing first on Irish language-speaking rural areas, the work of the Commission soon expanded to include English-speaking regions, both rural and urban. Here below we see three of our collectors at work, where for the first time they were recording tales and memories verbatim, that is word for word as spoken, so as to preserve as authentic a representation of the oral tradition as possible. Significantly, they also collected valuable contextual data on their informants and materials, allowing future scholars the opportunity to engage creatively with the raw data, discerning distribution patterns, migratory patterns and so on.

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As a result of the boundless zeal and dedication the Commission’s full-time, and later part-time, collectors over 2000 volumes of manuscript material was collected and this is now held by the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, a successor to the Commission.  Encompassing popular oral literature in the form of narrative tales, songs and poems; in-depth descriptions of Irish material culture and vernacular architecture; descriptions of calendar customs and cultural history, the collection is recognised as one of the richest in western Europe, covering all aspects of human life. Here below is a sampling from those early manuscript materials


The transcribed manuscript volumes held by the National Folklore Collection are further complemented by its rich photographic archive, as well as its audio and film collection, its specialist library and its breath-taking art collection. Enjoy a few samples below from these collections, depicting a number of key aspects of Irish folk life and tradition – music, religion, livelihood and festival customs

                                                                           Image 6   Image 8  Iamge 9

But folklore is not simply a matter for the history books, it is a living tradition and the work of the National Folklore Collection continues. Currently there are two new folklore collection projects underway – the Irish Traveller History Project and the Irish Protestant Folk Memory Project – both intended to document these two under-represented traditions in Irish life. Why not stay up-to-date with the archive’s activities by liking them on Facebook ( or by following them on Twitter (@bealoideasucd)

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Public Record Office Northern Ireland Story Box

Eva Chichester was a Sunday school teacher and keen amateur photographer who lived in Newcastle, County Down. Eva was born in 1872 and died in 1955. She travelled widely in the British Isles and Europe and photographed and wrote about her experiences.  In the archive, we have a large collection of interesting photographs from Ireland and Europe, notebooks, correspondence and travel journals. The travel journals offer some candid views and opinions of Europe and Europeans as experienced by Eva and the photograph albums offer some compelling  pictures of everyday life and landscape between 1890-1910
                                                                                   D4563/1/2/4-  Street scene in Brussels, 1895- very rare photo of a dog-drawn cart      D4563 /1/7/9  Old MaCartan', Strangford, County Down Postman 1890  D4563/1/8/1  Unknown shipwreck (possibly the Esperance) off the County Down coast c.1890

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