The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has announced that 34,000 historic photographs of Ireland are now available online.
The NLI has recently issued the following news release:
“Following the completion of the latest phase of a major digitisation project by staff at the National Library of Ireland, the public can now search and view up to 34,000 historic photographic images of Ireland online, Fiona Ross, the Library’s newly appointed Director, announced today.
“The initiative is part of a project designed to increase online access to the National Library of Ireland’s important collection of glass plate negatives. These form part of the Library’s 630,000-item photographic collection, which is housed in the National hotographic Archive in Temple Bar, Dublin.
“Last year, the Library introduced an online service whereby 22,000 photographs from the Lawrence, Poole and Independent Newspapers collections were added to its website database. Since then, Library staff have digitised an additional 12,000 images from five other important National Photographic Archive collections: Eason, Stereo Pair, Clarke, Tempest and Keogh. The 34,000 photographs of Ireland, all relating to the period 1860 to 1954, can now be viewed on www.nli.ie/digital-photographs.aspx.
“Commenting on this latest development in enhanced National Library of Ireland online services, Ms Ross said the digitisation of many of the National Photographic Archive’s glass plate negatives had transformed public access to these rare and fragile items. ‘The Library holds the world’s largest collection of photographs relating to Ireland. These photographs are a rich source of primary research material and, as a means of understanding and engaging with the past, they are invaluable because they provide us with evidence of places, events and people who shaped the nation, as well as providing insights into culture and social history, politics, art, landscape and natural history,’ Ms Ross added.
“Family historians and the general research community are well catered for with the Lawrence, Stereo Pair and Eason collections. The main Lawrence images, taken between 1870 and 1914, show rural and urban Ireland during those years. The collection of Stereo Pair images were also produced by the Lawrence studios, between 1860 and 1890. The original glass plates have two almost identical images, usually of tourist spots, which produced a three-dimensional effect when viewed in a special device called a stereoscope. The Eason photographs, created for the postcard trade, comprise images of the island of Ireland from 1900 to 1940.
“Certain parts of Ireland are particularly well represented. The Poole collection is a particularly valuable resource for the South East of Ireland in general and Waterford city and county in particular. The photographs, ranging from studio portraits to social and political events, were taken by the Waterford-based commercial photographers AH Poole between 1884 and 1954. The Tempest collection shows Co Louth in the early years of the twentieth century, while the Clarke collection provides fascinating images of some of James Joyce’s contemporaries.
“The Keogh and Independent Newspapers collections feature photographs of a number of political figures and significant early twentieth century events. The selected Independent Newspapers (Ireland) material covers the period 1912 to 1936; most of the Keogh material dates from 1915 to1923.
“The 34,000 images are displayed online at a low resolution through a digital photograph database, accompanied by basic information such as title, date and location (where available). The database makes it easy to search the information about all 34,000 images, including the option to search by keywords such as ‘evictions’, ‘women’, or ‘war’.
“Copies of high-resolution versions of the photographs can be ordered from the National Library of Ireland by telephoning 01-603 0214 or by emailing email@example.com. The Library is working towards building a complete digital resource, with further work planned to maximise the full potential of its digitised images.”