The mother of all archives goes online

17 Sep 2014

Archivists Hazel Menton and Natalie Milne. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

Irish Archives Resource, a portal that links together hundreds of unique archival collections and 34 archive services in Ireland north and south, has gone live.

Ireland’s first archive web portal, Irish Archives Resource (IAR), includes contribution from Trinity College Dublin’s Manuscripts and Archives Research Department, RTÉ Stills Library, National Museum of Ireland Archives, University College Cork Archives, Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, and the archives of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. 

“Popular television series such as Who Do You Think You Are?, and the Decade of Centenaries celebrations have put the spotlight on archives,” said Hazel Menton, chairperson of IAR.

“This portal now provides a user-friendly pathway for individuals interested in accessing Ireland’s archival heritage. The portal is unique in Ireland by facilitating web users in viewing a rich and diverse range of archival collections on a single website.” 

Beginning as a pilot project in 2008, as a result of a joint initiative of the Heritage Council and Archives and Records Association, Ireland, the IAR is an all-Ireland portal containing collections from Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and National Archives of Ireland. 

The IAR is currently funded by the Heritage Council, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland. 

The portal is hosted by University College Dublin’s School of History and Archives. With adequate funding, it aims to expand the current number of contributing archive services from 34 to up to 70.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years