On Monday, 7 December 2015, the National Library of Ireland launched its 2016 programme, including the release of a unique digital repository of personal papers and photographs that tell the story of the momentous events of 1916. To mark the launch of the programme by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, TD, as part of Ireland 2016, a special event presented by Dr John Bowman was held in the Library’s historic premises on Kildare Street.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Humphreys, said that ‘the National Library plays such a fundamental role in helping us to connect and remember our past. The release of the 1916 Digital Collections by the National Library is sure to be a great resource to individuals and groups across the State and beyond who want to mark 1916, or to simply reflect on it. The breadth of material that has been digitised and will be made available online is astounding and represents a hugely valuable record of events leading up to and including the Easter Rising. I would like to congratulate the Library on a wonderful and thoughtful 2016 programme of events – which I’m sure will engage and enrich all of those who take part in it, including schools, community organisations, academics and researchers, the culturally curious and lifelong learners of all ages’.
Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library, added that ‘at the heart of the National Library’s plans for 2016 is our core mission: collecting and making available Irish memory and heritage for people everywhere. Our 1916 programme is ambitious and includes digitisation, exhibitions and events, and I am delighted that we will be adding to our archive of the Irish internet by capturing websites related to the commemorations for people to explore as a record of this momentous year’.
In addition to the 70,000 digital images already available through the NLI’s online catalogue, the digitised personal papers and photographs of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation will be added in the coming months. The 1916 Digital Collections is a culmination of months of intensive work by the NLI team, and more than 20,000 items will be available online by April 2016. At the launch event on 7 December, the collection of personal and political papers of Éamonn Ceannt and his family was launched and is now available online.