Thursday, 23 October 2014

Book launch: The Atlantic Coast of Ireland

It may come as a surprise to some family historians to know that John Grenham, the Dublin-based genealogist and author of the best-selling Tracing your Irish Ancestors (now in its fourth edition), has interests beyond genealogy.

He is putting them to good use in The Atlantic Coast of Ireland, a book to be launched this evening, in which he has written a series of short essays to accompany a collection of stunning landscape photographs taken by Jonathan Hession.

In typical Grenham style, his texts convey his wide range of knowledge as much as his characteristic wit.

He says: "I grabbed the opportunity to get out of the genealogy ghetto and unburden myself about ecology, geology, myth, Irish accents, the Gaeltacht, religion, what’s wrong with Kerry and whatever you’re having yourself. Complete editorial freedom went straight to my head."

The book visits Ireland’s wild west – the Atlantic coast – heading southwards from Donegal through Sligo and Mayo to Galway before crossing into Munster to visit Clare, Kerry and Cork. In the process it tells the story of the coast's landscape, its people, its history, the bogs, emigration, superstition, and much more. Here is a sample where John writes about the weather:

"...the main feature of the weather here is not rain (despite what it sometimes feels like), the main feature is variability. More than three to four days in the future, Irish weather is completely unpredictable. It can touch 30 degrees C. in summer and minus 15 in winter. It can also go up to 15 or 16 in winter and stay down at 15 or 16 in summer. It can rain at any time of the year for an hour, a day, a week, a month. Being an Irish weather forecaster is a thankless job, and the favourite defensive euphemism of Irish forecasts is the word "unsettled". Irish weather is unsettled like the Black Death was an outbreak of acne."

The Atlantic Coast of Ireland will be formally launched this evening in Dubray Books, Grafton Street, Dublin. It's a 176-page hardback and is published by Frances Lincoln, price €25.

ISBN-10: 0711235791
ISBN-13: 978-0711235793

Irish Family History Society's Autumn meeting: 8 Nov

The Irish Family History Society will be holding its Autumn meeting on Saturday 8 November at Dublin City Library & Archives, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

It's free, open to non-members and there's no need to book. Just turn up, learn and enjoy.

Here's the lecture programme:

10:00am:  Registration

10:30am:  Where do you think they were? What older maps can tell us about local and family
               history, with Dominic Cronin

11:30am:  Finding the Irish in WW1 records, with Maeve Mullin

12:30pm:  Lunch (at own expense)

2:15pm  :  Women in the Military Service Pension Collection, with Cecile Gordon

3:25pm  :  Undertaking a graveyard project, with Christiaan Corlettt

In addition to the lectures, there will be a book stall and raffle.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New edition of The Irish Hand published

Newly published by Cork University Press
New edition published by Cork University Press
A revised and expanded edition of The Irish Hand by Timothy O'Neill, has been publised by Cork University Press.

The original work has long been regarded as the standard text on Irish Manuscripts, written by an author and historian who is widely acknowledged as the finest calligrapher in Ireland.

This new edition incorporates high quality digital images of the works of Irish scribes through the centuries. The extraordinary stories of the survival of these volumes, which date from the sixth to the 21st century, provide a commentary on the cultural history of Ireland, its language, scholars and scribes.

Beautifully produced, The Irish Hand is arranged in two parts with the first presenting a survey of the manuscript tradition, followed by essays on thirty-one of the great books of Ireland.

The context, contents, and history of each manuscript are given, accompanied by a full-page illustration.

Part Two surveys the work of the scribes from a practical perspective, examining script and lettering in detail. Extracts are given from fifty-two manuscripts, transliterated and translated, with a commentary on the penwork.

The 148-page hardback (9781782050926) can be purchased for €39 from the publishers.

October bank holiday arrangements in ROI

The Republic of Ireland enjoys an Autumn bank holiday on Monday 27 October. Here are the opening and closing arrangements for the main repositories and institutions used for Irish family history:

Dublin City Public Libraries will be closed on Saturday 25 October and Monday 27 October, reopening for normal hours on Tuesday 28 October.

The National Archives of Ireland will be closed to the public on Monday 27 October and will re-open on Tuesday 28 October at 9:15am. (Note also that Reading Room closing early on Thursday 30 October.)

The National Library of Ireland
's Reading Room will be closed on Monday 27 October. However, exhibitions at Kildare Street (Yeats and JFK) will be open 12pm to 5pm.

The General Register Office Research Room
in Werburgh Street will be closed on Monday 27 October, reopening Tuesday 28 October at 9:30am.

Local branch libraries will be closed on Saturday 25 October and Monday 27 October, reopening for normal hours on Tuesday 28 October.

This bank holiday does not apply in Northern Ireland where repositories, libraries and commercial enterprises are open for business as normal.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Stop Press: Irish Newspaper Archive to slash prices
Here's something to cheer about!

The Irish Newspaper Archive, a privately-owned commercial database offering access to some 40 Irish titles, is gearing up to dramatically reduce the cost of its subscription packages.

The new 'individual researcher' rates are not yet set in stone, but are expected to be somewhere in the ballpark of:

One Day    : €9.99 (currently €10, so not exactly a headline grabber)
One Month : €29.99 (currently €60)
One Year   : €179.99 (currently €350)

The existing 48-hour and 7-day packages will be discountinued.

The announcement of imminent big price cuts was made by director Phillip Martin in the final lecture at Back To Our Past 2014. What a great note for the show to end on!

News of the changes hasn't reached the IrishNewsArchive website yet because the figures are not yet confirmed and the new regime will not be introduced until the tail-end of November, Phillip told Irish Genealogy News today. He also advised that new titles, all covering Mayo, have been added to the database in the last month:

Ballinrobe Chronicle 03/02/1866 - 10/09/1903
Ballina Herald 06/08/1927 - 28/04/1962
Mayo Examiner 06/07/1868 - 30/12/1876
Mayo News 07/01/1893 - 29/12/2004
Western Journal 03/06/1977 - 11/03/1983

In addition, all issues for the Leinster Express from 1831 to 1877 should be available before the end of the year, and all issues of the Sligo Champion, currently online from 1950 to 1981, should, from early 2015, be available up to the current year.

There's also another major title ready to join the Irish News Archive shortly. It's under wraps right now, but more than 100 years of this publication (the span starts pre-Famine) will be uploaded in the next couple of months. I'll bring you news of the launch in due course.

NOTE: This blogpost was edited at 17:10pm.

National Archives Reading Room closures - October

The National Archives of Ireland's Reading Room will be closed on Monday 27 October, a public holiday.

Please also note that the Reading Room will close early – at 4pm – on Thursday 29 October.

Derry Family History Fair focusses on WW1

A Family History Fair will be held at Derry Central Library on Thursday 23 October. It has a particular focus on World War 1 and invites people to bring along objects and artefacts such as photographs, letters, postcards, diaries or other memorabilia.

Researchers from Living Legacies will be on hand using their state-of-the-art scanning equipment to help individuals interpret and tell a story of these wartime items. For those who wish to share their cherished possessions, this is an opportunity to digitally record personal legacies and reminders from the Great War. The aim is to preserve and capture memories for the benefit of future generations

A range of organisations will be participating at the Fair offering free information and advice including the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI), Derry City Council Heritage & Museum Archives & Genealogy Services, and local and family history organisations.

Five sessions will be held:

10:30am–11:15am: Digitisation and WW1 Research

11:15am–12:00pm: WW1 Resources at PRONI

12:00pm–1:15pm  : Exploring WW1 through objects memories and stories

2:00pm–2:45pm    : On-line resources from GRONI

2:45pm–3:45pm    : Shared stories from WW1 led by Brian Mitchell

Visitors will also be able to access Derry Central Library’s Heritage Collection, which includes microfilmed local newspapers of the period, use Libraries NI's free on-line Ancestry Library Edition, and discover how the Living Legacies 1914-18 Engagement Centre is connecting academic and community researchers.

Venue: Derry Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, BT48 6AL.
Time: 10am to 4pm.
Cost: Free.
Details: 028 7127 2310 or​