Wednesday 19 October 2016

25 Irish Historic Towns Atlases to be released online

Representative section of Map 2, Tuam, 1839.
 In J.A. Claffey, Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 20,
 Tuam. Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, 2009
Here's an exciting development for anyone who loves maps and the history of our built heritage: the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) project is to release online, free of charge, 25 of its atlases over the coming months. This decision follows the success of the pilot online release (IHTA Kilkenny) just over a year ago.

In each digital release, the cover, general abbreviations, select bibliography, essay, topographical information, maps 1, 2 and 3 as well as a growth map, will be word searchable and fully accessible to read online or to download.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy that aims to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small. It has been publishing maps and publications about Ireland's towns and cities since 1986, and is part of a wider European project that explores historical towns according to a fairly rigid formula of detailed enquiry and presentation. The 'formula' allows comparisons across the continent.

The resulting publications examine the topographical development of each town during key periods in their history.

Clues to the town's past religious life, defence and security, local and national government, industry, trade, transport, education and leisure habits are explored within the accompanying maps. Dense and accurate, these atlases reveal fascinating details about the physical environment and communities our ancestors lived in.

The first instalment of digitised atlases to be released are the towns of monastic origins, as below. In each case, the cover, general abbreviations, select bibliography, essay, topographical information, maps 1, 2 and 3 as well as a growth map, are freely available and word searchable to read online or to download.
  • IHTA no.1 Kildare, by J.H. Andrews
  • IHTA no.4 Kells, by Anngret Simms
  • IHTA no.8 Downpatrick, by R.H. Buchanan and Anthony Wilson
  • IHTA no.18 Armagh,by Catherine McCullough and W.H. Crawford
  • IHTA no.20 Tuam, by J.A. Claffey.
In addition, an excerpt on Irish towns of monastic origin from Reading the maps: a guide to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas by Jacinta Prunty and H.B. Clarke (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2011) is also made available, here.

The remaining atlases will be launched online thematically, as follows:

– From mid-Nov 2016: Viking towns (Dublin, part I to 1610 and Limerick)
– From mid-Dec 2016: Anglo-Norman towns I (Carrickfergus, Athlone, Kilkenny and Fethard)
– From mid-Jan 2017: Anglo-Norman towns II (Mullingar, Trim, Carlingford and Sligo)
– From mid-Feb 2017: Towns of early modern and plantation origin (Bandon, Belfast, part I to
   1840, LondonDerry, Longford and Ennis)
– From mid-Mar 2017: Towns in the 18th century (Maynooth, Dundalk, Dublin part II, 1610–1756)
– From mid-Apr 2017: Towns in the 19th century (Bray, Belfast part II, 1840–1900)