A new website allows the public to search a wide range of Irish archives online. These include the Irish Film archive, the Guinness family archive, University College Cork's Boole Library and a number of other city and county council archives.
It is available at www.iar.ie .
The Irish Archive Resource (IAR) links to archives in Ireland that are digitized, or explains to the reader how the information can be accessed physically if the collection had not been digitalized.
Organizer Brian McGee said that site is a fantastic resource for genealogists.
He said, "We would have lots from local government archives, for example documents from the workhouses’ board of guardians. The important thing about the site is that every collection on it is accessible and available to the public. The long-term hope is that it will one day all be digitized, and some archives are going in that direction already. Limerick city archives have been digitizing a lot of their material recently."
He commented that his favorite archive was one which was found in a garbage dumpster in the Netherlands. The archive references deeds on properties in Cork dating back to the 16th and 17th century.
McGee also explained to Journal.ie that for now it is a descriptive site which explains where information can be found. However, this is the first step on to digitizing all of Ireland's archives. He gave the example of one box which has 175 boxes of documents. It has yet to be digitized.
Ireland has only had state funded archiving for the last 30 to 40 years. IAR's plan is to bring all of these archives together. These archives will include records from defunct governments, personal contributions, estate records, clubs, societies, trade unions, religious, cultural, sporting and political organizations.
It's hoped that the archives will range in medium from audio visual to written and aural testimonies. There will also be records of traditional trades, crafts and traditions that were practiced in Ireland from 1850 along with more contemporary material.
One treat will be the production material from Jim Sheridan's Hell's Kitchen International Ltd which made movies such as "My Left Foot,” "The Field,” "Into the West" and "The Boxer.”Read more: Finding your family in Ireland: The 1659 Irish census