Ireland’s archive collections have found a new central home online at http://www.iar.ie. The web site launched today and allows the public to search a wide range of Irish archives online. Some of the collections featured include the Irish Film Archive, the Guinness family archives, archives from UCC’s Boole Library and a large number of city and county council archives.
The Irish Archives Resource site brings together a large number of collections from around the country, preserved by a range of organisations. It includes records from current and defunct government and local government agencies, personal contributions, estate records, clubs, societies, trade unions, religious, cultural, sporting and political organisations.links to wherever these archives are digitised and searchable online. One notable collection includes deeds on properties in Cork city dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
The same web site also carries detailed descriptions of what is in every archive listed and where it can be accessed physically, if the collection is not online. 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 digitised, and some archives are going in that direction already. Limerick city archives have been digitising a lot of their material recently.