Ahead of the celebrations to mark 100 years since the 1916 Easter Rising, troves of writings as Gaeilge by the likes of Pádraig Pearse and Eoin Mac Néill, as well as other legendary Irish figures, have gone online.
Shortly before the 1916 Easter Rising, many of Ireland’s most established writers, activists and political upstarts contributed to Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, or ‘The Gaelic Journal’, which was published on an almost monthly basis between 1882 and 1909.
As one of the country’s largest Irish language publications at a time when there was a resurgent interest in our native language, Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge included poetry, proverbs, songs, history, short stories, folklore, place names, book reviews and material for learners of Irish.
It also served as a place to publish reports on the work of Conradh na Gaeilge, the organisation established by Ireland’s first president, Douglas Hyde in 1893, to promote the Irish language.
Digitising Irish history for future generations
Among the contributors to it were Douglas Hyde, Pádraig Parse, Fr Peadar Ua Laoghaire, Agnes O’Farrelly, Fr Eugene O’Growney and Eoin Mac Néill.
Now, thanks to the efforts of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and digital humanities specialist Niall O’Leary, all of Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge’s articles have been digitised for free online access.
The effort to digitise an important part of Irish history comes following the news earlier this month that a wealth of Irish parish records going back to 1655 were made available online for free for the month on Ancestry.ie.