Wednesday, November 16, 2016


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Last night saw the publication of IRISH ARCHIVES 2016. This is the annual journal of the Irish Society for Archives (ISA) which was founded by Robin Dudley Edwards in 1970, so it's been in existence for almost half a century at this stage.

The event took place at the newly refurbished reading room at the National Archives of Ireland.

Each year's edition concentrates on a particular theme and this year it was "Hidden Pages from the 1916 Rising". This recapped on a seminar held in February 2016 on this theme in St. Thomas and St. George's church in Cathal Brugha St.

Elizabeth McEvoy, Joint Editor, Irish Archives

As far as the theme was concerned, the idea was to present research on the Rising from lesser known archives. These included the St. John's Ambulance, the Post Office (GPO & London HQ), the Monica Roberts Collection (diaries and correspondence exchanged with the troops on the Western Front), the Irish Architectural Archive (damage to buildings) and the Co. Wexford Archive (contribution of three families to the Rising).

Raymond Refaussé, Chairman, ISA

In an additional paper in IRISH ARCHIVES, which was not part of the original seminar, Church of Ireland parish documents from around the country, including newsletters, preachers books and correspondence, are drawn on.

Lia Mills, author

The volume was launched by Lia Mills, whose book "Fallen" was chosen for this year's Dublin One City One Book Festival. Except this year it was two cities one book when Dublin readers were joined by those in Belfast. The story deals with conflicting loyalties in the twin conflicts of WWI and the Rising. So Lia was an excellent choice to launch the current volume.

She didn't mince her words in criticising what is effectively a decline in popular literacy with the current widespread debasement of words. She had me thinking once again of George Orwell's Newspeak.

She was also lavish in her praise of the vital role of the archivist in preserving past and present material and in presenting it in digestible form to the wider public.

Susan Hood, Joint Editor, Irish Archives

Refurbished Reading Room, National Archives of Ireland

So it's full marks to the ISA for a highly relevant publication in this year of commmoration of the Rising and for continuing to validate the role of the archivist as a pro-active guardian, not only of our history, but of the underpinnings of our civilisation and of who we are.

Copies of IRISH ARCHIVES 2006 can be purchased from Easons bookshops or by mailing Elizabeth McEvoy

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