How to Scan and Digitize Glass Plate Photographs

ScanningTechnology is an ever-changing form for the collection and communication of information. What happens, however, when the form of equipment is no longer the current practice of collecting information? What happens when the method is out dated and showing its age? At Dublin City Library and Archive, the staff work hard to preserve the documented history of Ireland even in its less prevalent forms. Numerous images were generously donated from Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority. These images came in many forms from positive printed images to film negatives and negative glass plate images (see image below). (Click images to view larger versions)

Nelson's Pillar Commemorative Event - Photos

Nelson's PillarThe 50th anniversary of the destruction of Nelson's Pillar occurred on Tuesday, 8th March 2016, and to mark the occasion Dublin City Archives held a commemorative event entailing a talk by historian Donal Fallon, poetry read by Alastair Smeaton, and ballads by Luke Cheevers and Tony Fitzpatrick.

View the photo slideshow of the event below.

Private Edward Brierley Collection

Edward BrierleyThe Private Edward Brierley MM, 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers Collection is the latest to be arranged and catalogued from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Collection at the Dublin City Archives.  While not unique, it is unusual in that, as well as offering the standard archival fare of documents and photographs, it contains many of Brierley’s personal effects from his time in the army.  The reason for this is that the majority of the papers, artefacts and memorabilia in the collection were donated to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) by Noel Brierley, son of Edward Brierley, and assembled in their current form with some supplementation by the RDFA with a view to curating an exhibition.  As a result it also contains a folder of supplementary material, including biographical research notes and laminated caption cards, which may by of use to researchers or exhibitors.

W & R Jacobs Archives at Dublin City Library and Archive

JacobsOn Monday 22nd February 2016, a special tea party is being hosted by an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh at the Mansion House to mark the transfer by Valeo Foods of the archives of W & R Jacobs and the transfer of the Appleyard Collection by Douglas Appleyard to Dublin City Council.

The archives of W & R Jacob and Company, consisting of over 330 boxes, were acquired by Dublin City Library and Archive in 2012. Following a major cataloguing project they will now be opened for public access in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library and Archive at 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

Irish Theatre Archive: John MacDonagh Collection

John MacDonaghThe Decade of Centenaries has brought with it many opportunities for mature reflection on the Irish state’s legacy of the past hundred years.  Accompanying this has been a renewed interest and analysis of the character and contribution of the leaders and their near mythical status as exemplars of the Irish revolutionary spirit.  The broadly civic and inclusive nature of the commemorations has also brought to light the stories of many of those involved in 1916, which have heretofore been consigned to the footnotes of history books, or to family photo albums and fireside reminiscence.  It is only right and proper that the contributions of the many great women of 1916, for example, or the roles of rank-and-file rebels, or the tragedies of the ordinary civilians whose lives were cruelly cut short, are receiving the attention they deserve.

John MacDonagh, in my opinion, falls between two stools.  While a junior officer with the Volunteers during the Rising, he was not a leading figure.  However, his relationship to Thomas MacDonagh, as well as his subsequent success as a dramatist, film director, writer, poet, singer and musical composer, mean that he offers the student of 1916 neither the ‘everyman’ quality that appeals to human interest, nor the opportunity for great historical revelations.  It is for just this reason however, that John MacDonagh’s papers deserve attention.

View John MacDonagh Collection Image Gallery

Wide Street Commission Architectural Drawings (1757-1849)

Dublin Library EditionThe full set of Wide Street Commission architectural drawings have been conserved and digitised and are now available to view online. The Wide Streets Commission had the authority to determine and regulate the facades of buildings erected along the line of new streets developed by it. The Commission decided on the heights of buildings, the number of houses in a terrace, the materials to be employed and the type and spacing of windows. Builders had to conform to specifications and the Commission could, and did, order re-building where its instructions had been flouted.

As a by-product of its interest in and impact on the architecture of Dublin in the period 1757-1849, the Wide Streets Commission amassed a total of 60 elevations of buildings and terraces. The WSC Architectural Drawing Catalogue was prepared by Dr Mary Clark, City Archivist and published by Dublin City Council in 1988. It provides detailed description of the full set of architectural drawings in the archives of the Wide Street Commission. The catalogue is now being published online, along with an image gallery of the architectural drawings.

The Mansion House Dublin, 300 Years of History and Hospitality

The Mansion House, Dublin 300 Years of History and HospitalityA year–long series of events to mark the tercentenary of Dublin’s Mansion House culminated on 14 December 2015 with the launch of a beautiful book The Mansion House, Dublin 300 years of History and Hospitality edited by City archivist Dr Mary Clark.

Professor Christine Casey, guest speaker at the launch, has kindly given permission to reproduce her speech in which she reflects on the historical significance of Dublin's Mansion House and highlights some of the fascinating insights uncovered by the book contributors:-

New Additions to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive

Lieutenant Herbert Justin LemassThe Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) was established in 1996 to commemorate all Irish men and women who volunteered, served and died in the First World War. In 2005, the RDFA decided to place its archive with Dublin City Library & Archive, where it is available for public consultation in the Reading Room. The RDFA Archive is managed by Dublin City Archives.

Right: Lieutenant Herbert Justin Lemass

Just added to the Collection are

  1. Items relating to two brothers, Edwin and Herbert Lemass, who both served in the British Army during the First World War. Second Lieutenant Herbert Justin Lemass and Lieutenant Edwin Stephen Lemass were second cousins of Sean Lemass, one of the most prominent Irish politicians of the 20th century. At the time that Herbert, age 19, and Edwin Lemass, age 21, were in the trenches on the Western Front, their second cousin, Sean Lemass, age 17, was fighting the British in the General Post Office during the 1916 Easter Rising. Herbert dies at the Battle of the Somme on 23rd October, 1916, while Edwin, a barrister-at-law, went on to become one of Egypt's leading judges after the war.
  2. Volume 9 of the Monica Roberts Letters. The items contained were donated by Mrs Mary Shackleton, daughter of Monica Roberts, to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association at Dublin City Library and Archive on 28 July 2014. The letters give vivid pen-pictures of conditions at the Western Front and reveal the courage of troops in the face of appalling circumstances.

O’Connor and O’Neill Family Archives re-telling life in the Liberties

Sean O'ConnorDublin City Library and Archives were given a boost, when An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh was formally presented with the family papers and genealogy materials of the O’Connor/O’Neill families going back to the 1750’s.  The presentation was made by Sean O’Connor, head of the O’Connor family at a ceremony today in Dublin’s Mansion House attended by members of the O’Connor and O’Neill families.

Right: Sean O’Connor  at his school, Francis street CBS, 1951

The O’Connor/ O’Neill family papers were assembled by Sean O’Connor with the help of archivist Ellen Murphy and City Archivist Mary Clark.  After much painstaking research, the family papers have now been presented to the city which was home to the two families. The donation helps to strengthen the Dublin City archives as a valuable record of social history including accounts of happy times and challenging experiences in the Dublin Liberties.

Online Databases Launched

City SealLast Wednesday (26th August) saw the formal launch of a new website hosting a range of databases totalling over 5 million records. The databases are useful for genealogy, local history and social history. Many of the databases were previously available and searchable separately on, but the new site - - allows for integrated and enhanced searching while also giving access to an even greater number of databases.