An archive of depositions relating to the 1641 Rebellion in Ireland has recently been made available online.
On Friday 22 October 2010, Irish Republic President Mary McAleese and former Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley launched an online archive of the 8,000 depositions made by onlookers to the 1641 Rebellion. Eneclann Ltd. was responsible for the digitisation of manuscripts and technical development of the 1641 Depositions website, available now at www.1641.tcd.ie.
The rebellion, which was initiated by Catholic landowners, began on 22 October 1641 and led to over a decade of violence against Protestant plantation settlers. Fifty academics, from Trinity College Dublin and the universities of Aberdeen and Cambridge, worked on the project, which consisted of 19,000 pages of information contained in 31 volumes.
These volumes were digitised by Eneclann and transcribed and conserved by the project. The website is fully searchable and covers all four of Ireland’s provinces, making it a fascinating source for anyone interested in history or for tracing ancestors involved in the events.
The digitised testimonies are complimented by an exhibition, ‘Ireland in Turmoil: The 1641 Depositions’, which is running in the Long Room, Trinity College Dublin Library until 3 April 2011.
Commenting on the significance of the historic occasion of the exhibition and the online publication of the 1641 Depositions, Mary McAleese, President of the Republic of Ireland, said: “The events of 1641 have been the subject of considerable dispute and controversy, with wildly divergent accounts in both the Catholic and Protestant historical narratives.
“Facts and truth have been casualties along the way and the distillation of skewed perceptions over generations have contributed to a situation where both sides were confounding mysteries to one another.
“That is why, in these more chastened and reflective times, as we try to understand more deeply and generously the perspectives which have estranged us and as we try to reconcile, to be good neighbours, friends and partners across those sectarian divides, it is such a valuable thing to have access to this unique collection of witness testimonies from some of those who experienced the terror and horror of those tragic times.”