The National Library of Ireland has secured funding for its Towards a Republic project, which will see the digitisation of some of the personal papers of the signatories of The Treaty in preparation for the centenary of the foundation of the State.
The funding is part of the Government's €2million handout to a new cultural Digitisation Scheme; it will be shared among a number of digitisation projects planned by National Cultural Institutions and cultural heritage organisations.
Towards a Republic is the National Library’s next major cataloguing and digitisation project, marking the second phase of the Decade of Commemorations from 1917 to 1923.
The digitised papers will be made released online on a phased basis between 2018 and 2023. These rich archives will allow everyone to explore key moments such as suffrage, 1918 Elections, the First and subsequent Dáils, the Peace Conference, the Anglo-Irish War, the Treaty negotiations, and the Civil War.
Personal papers of John Devoy, Arthur Griffith, Rosamond Jacob, Annie O’Farrelly, John Redmond and the Sheehy Skeffingtons, amongst many others, provide complex insights into the events and personalities that shaped the later revolutionary period and Civil War. They go beyond the experience and perspectives of the individuals themselves through their correspondence and interaction with diverse and opposing figures and organisations.
Announcing the funding, Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said: "I know that there is a large public appetite for these materials, which will reveal the social, cultural and political context of the period.
“The importance of digitisation was really underlined during the 2016 centenary year, when a number of our national cultural institutions made a wealth of material available online for the first time. The new scheme will help our cultural institutions, together with a number of other cultural heritage bodies, to build on this work and digitise their rich and varied collections for the benefit of the public.”