Thursday 9 October 2014

It's a long way to Tipperary: the Irish story launches

The University of Limerick has launched a new website this morning to tell the story of the First World War through the experiences of one family: the Armstrongs of Moyaliffe, Co Tipperary.
It’s a Long Way to Tipperary – An Irish Story of the Great War involves an active online archive that follows the lives of a single family in weekly online bulletins throughout the First World War. The diaries, correspondence, memorabilia and photos of the Armstrong family provide a fascinating insight on the social, physical and emotional impact of the conflict on individuals, families and society.

This virtual First World War Exhibition will run in ‘real time’ from July 2014 until November 2018, with a new exhibition uploaded every week, allowing visitors and subscribers to the site to relive the events of the war as they unfolded exactly 100 years previously. The weekly exhibitions comprise of updates of the current stage of the war, photographs taken by Captain Pat Armstrong, press cuttings, and extracts from diaries and correspondence to give both the soldier’s and the civilian’s experience of the war. The exhibition is supported by social media, including Facebook and Twitter, with weekly tweets to subscribers.

Performing the official launch honours, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “Exploring the website feels like being taken back in time; as we read about the experiences of those on the front line, we can also share in the everyday happenings of the family at home. Initiatives such as this are an excellent example of how communities around the country are getting involved in the Decade of Centenaries. I would like to commend the creativity and imagination of the team who have transformed the historical material into this fantastic online resource, fit for a 21st century audience. I have no doubt that it will be enjoyed throughout Limerick and far beyond.”

The Armstrong Archive was donated to the University of Limerick's Glucksman Library in 1999. The estate collection encompasses 350 years of history of the Armstrongs of Moyaliffe Castle, County Tipperary, and the related families of Maude of Lenaghan Park, County Fermanagh, and Kemmis of Ballinacor, County Wicklow. It contains some 50,000 items, including over 13,000 photographs. All original material used in the online exhibition can be viewed, by appointment, in the Library's Special Collections and Archives Department.