The recorded interviews of volunteers who fought in the Irish War of Independence could soon be made available to the public.
The archive of recordings, which includes interviews made during the 1960s of 112 mainly northern-based volunteers and provides insight into the horrors of the conflict, has been accessible to only a few researchers for over 50 years, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
The Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive in Armagh will use a £58,000 ($92,000) grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a listening kiosk and develop an outreach program to make the Louis O’Kane collection more accessible to everyone.
"Fr O'Kane was not only a passionate historian exploring many aspects of the local past, but he was also a creator of historical documents. The most important of these are his collection of recordings with men and women, although primarily men, who had taken part in the struggle for Irish independence 1913-21,” said Roddy Hegarty, the director of the library.
"No doubt his (Fr O'Kane's) interest in history and his position as a priest gave him the opportunity to develop relationships and build the confidence required to carry out the work of interviewing and recording these men. He traveled from Belfast to Donegal to speak with and record a variety of respondents creating a unique account of this pivotal period in Irish history."
Paul Mullan, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Northern Ireland, said: "We are pleased to be funding this project. The materials collected are of great historical importance and will be very gratifying to see them being made accessible to the general public."
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