Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Digital Publishing Brownbag Series – Tim Robinson Archive

On Tuesday 1 November, NUI Galway Library will host a lunchtime event focusing on Digital work underway on the Library's Archives.

Our 2nd event in the series will focus on the Archive of Fear na Mapaí, Tim Robinson, which resides here at NUI Galway. This archive documents four decades of Robinson’s pioneering work in Irish landscape, which began in 1972 when he visited the Aran Islands with his wife Máiréad. His 1975 one-inch map of the Aran Islands was the first substantial map of the area to be created since the 6 inch Ordnance Survey map a century before, and its composition brought up several complexities that exist in this unique landscape, from place-names, to the geological, archaeological, and botanical features that are all inherent in the landscape. Beyond the publication of the map, he explored these subjects in a deep-mapping project of Aran, that led to the publication of two books, ‘Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage’ in 1986, and later ‘Stones of Aran: Labyrinth’ in 1995. His work brought him to map and consider the Burren and Connemara landscapes with equal emphasis, and in 1987, Tim and Máiréad won the Ford Ireland Conservation Award. They proceeded in the competition as Ireland’s official entry, and won the European Award in Madrid.

One particularly special element of Robinson’s archive is a meticulously accumulated index of the townlands of Connemara and the Aran Islands, which has inspired the Library’s first steps to a Digital Mapping project, focusing on Robinson’s archive, but with applications to future projects. This will be the focus of our inaugural Brownbag Pitch. As the name suggests, lunch will be provided, and we will take you through the story of the archive, the digital project, and plans for the future, before opening up the floor to some discussion about what parts of the project you consider useful, not useful, and if you think this has applications to your own research.

Everyone is welcome to the pitch, and registration is free, but for catering purposes, we would request that you please register, with details of how to do so at the bottom of this page.

Venue: Room G011, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway

Date and Time: Tuesday, 1 November 2016


12:00     Lunch will be available from 12 in Room G011

12:30     Dr Nessa Cronin, Lecturer and Co-Director of the MA in Irish Studies, will introduce the work              of Tim Robinson

12:40     Aisling Keane, Digital Archivist at NUI Galway Library, will speak about the archive, its contents,              some examples of items of interest, and the work that has taken place on the archive so far

13:00     Dr Nessa Cronin will return to speak about creative engagement with the archive

13:10     Peter Corrigan, Head of Digital Publishing and Innovation at NUI Galway Library will speak about              the future of the project

13:25     Discussion and exchange of ideas

14:00     Session Ends

If you wish to attend this event please register on Eventbrite 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Launch of Digital Archive Relating to Northern Ireland Peace Process - Brendan Duddy: Peacemaker

This new online resource contains digitised items from the archive of Brendan Duddy, the Derry businessman who maintained and operated a secret channel of communication between the British government and the IRA Army Council for twenty years. Duddy was a key figure in the 1975 ceasefire negotiations, the 1981 Republican Hunger Strikes, and ceasefire talks between 1990 and 1994 and was the subject of Peter Taylor's BBC documentary 'The Secret Peacemaker'. The digital archive makes available documents such as secret communications concerning the 1975 ceasefire; 'the Red Book', being Brendan's diary of transcribed phone negotiations to help bring a resolution to the 1981 Hunger Strikes and also documents relating to critical moments from the Peace Process of the early 1990s.

Venue: Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, Room G010, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway

Programme:           Venue: G010

17:00                       Interviews with Duddy family members: Shaun, Larry and Patricia Duddy, and Éamonn Downey, with Dr.                                           Niall Ó Dochartaigh

18:00 - 18:30           Questions and Answers/ Discussion

18:30 - 18:40           Launch of archive and introduction: John Cox, University Librarian,          

                                 with Professor Lionel Pilkington speaking on the digital archive and its value                                        to scholarship

18:40                       Demonstration of digital archive by Aisling Keane, Digital Archivist

18:50                       Reception - Venue G011

To Register please book here:

Dr. Niall O'Dochartaigh, Professor James Browne, President, NUI Galway with Brendan Duddy

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Druid's 'Beauty Queen' - from the Archive

Programme cover, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, 1996
The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh was a point of departure for many reasons. When it opened to a world premiere production by Galway's Druid Theatre Company, in a co-production with London's Royal Court Theatre, on the first of February 1996, it also marked the opening of a new theatre building – Galway's Town Hall Theatre. The play would also be a whirlwind success for Druid and open up one of the most important and celebrated relationship's in contemporary Irish drama – that of director Garry Hynes and the plays of Martin McDonagh. it also, of course, exposed audiences both in Ireland and around the world, to a very different 'Irish' play.

Within two years of the play's opening in Galway, Beauty Queen would make history and secure four Tony awards, including Best Director for Garry Hynes, the first female director to win the award.
The play would tour extensively in Ireland, the U.K. and wider internationally, from Broadway to Sydney, over successive years, tours, cast changes and revivals between 1996 and 2000. A constant being that the message of the play remained the same – that Ireland and indeed Irish drama (and their numerous definitions) were being redefined through Beauty Queen and through the subsequent Leenane Trilogy which would premiere again in Galway in 1997.

Beauty Queen on Broadway, 1998

The long suffering daughter, Maureen Folan, questions her controlling and ageing mother, Mag, in the opening scene, "What country do you live in?" Mag responds: "Galway". The short exchange would sum-up neatly the questioning of region and nation, tradition and modernity, home and place that the play examines in wickedly black humour and violence and which has captivated audiences around the world for two decades. As Fintan O'Toole wrote in an article for the programme of the world premiere of the play in 1996, entitled "Changing Places":

"That unbounded Ireland is the one which Martin McDonagh belongs to, and the one in which Druid has always been willing to play itself. It is a nation that cannot be taken as read but must continually be written up, and acted out"

This year, 2016, Beauty Queen turns twenty years of age. It is currently undergoing a major revival, opening, as it first did back in 1996, at Galway's Town Hall Theatre, before embarking on a major Irish and international tour. Marie Mullen, co-founder of Druid Theatre Company, returns to the play and takes up the role of Mag, first portrayed by the late Anna Manahan. The archive of Druid Theatre Company, held at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, offers a fascinating insight into the play and its production and reception. Among a wide range of records include programmes, press files, flyers and posters from all productions in Ireland, the U.K., America and Australia. there are also files of photographs of productions and rehearsals; the prompt-script from the 1996 production as well as a first-edition published edition of the script and also a later edition which is signed by all cast members. Technical details such as design plans, sound and lighting plans, reveal how the play was a complex and challenging work to stage, as it presented and constructed a rain-sodden and wild west of Ireland setting. (Mag: "Wet Maureen?" Maureen: "Of course wet".) The archive of this play and of Druid itself is a unique resource to understand anew this play as we revisit McDonagh's Leenane, twenty years after we first did so. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Culture Night 2016 at NUI Galway Archives!

This Friday, 16th September, sees another packed Culture Night across the country and across Galway city and county. The Archives of the Hardiman Library and NUI Galway bring you two events to keep you topped up with culture on this busy evening. First is a lunchtime event of music, song, spoken word and archives. Celebrating the heritage and culture of the West of Ireland, this event promises to be a special lunchtime gathering of a range of artists .The Galway Music Residency and NUI Galway invite you to join the Galway ConTempo Quartet in the President’s Drawing Room, NUI Galway, where you can view the historic art collection on display; a rare work by Lady Gregory’s son Robert, a portrait of actress Siobhan McKenna and more, with talks, readings and rare archival film, photographs and props from McKenna’s acting legacy and from the archives of Galway's celebrated company, Druid Theatre.

Time: 1300 - 1430
Location: President's Drawing Room, NUI Galway

At 6pm, join us for a special evening of encountering the University archives, stories and history during the turbulent period of 1913-1919. Staff and students of the University had prominent roles on and off the battlefields both in Europe and in Ireland during these formative years. Explore guided tours of our exhibition and behind the scenes look at the original University archives from the collections of the Hardiman Library. (tours begin at 6pm and 7pm and are c. 50 mins)

Time: 6pm and 7pm
Location: Foyer, Hardiman Building, NUI Galway
Details: http://www.culturenight.ie/regional_event/a-university-in-war-and-revolution-archives-at-the-hardiman-library-nui-galway/

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Seminar: Digitising the Abbey Theatre Archive: journey and destination

The Library at National University of Ireland, Galway, will host a seminar on Tuesday 4 October which will tell the story of the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, created by the largest theatre archive digitisation project undertaken worldwide.

It reflects on challenges faced, lessons learned, new opportunities and impact on academic mission, library and archives.

Registration is free, with full programme details at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/digitising-the-abbey-theatre-archive-journey-and-destination-tickets-27430060048

Niall O'Brien, Steven Rea and Kate Flynn in Brian Friel's Aristocrats, 1979

Friday, August 19, 2016

ESSE Conference at NUI Galway - Archive Tours and Exhibition

This week (22 - 26 August) NUI Galway welcomes to campus the 13th conference of E.S.S.E The European Society for the Study of English. The Society is a European federation of national higher educational associations which relate to all fields of study within English and the European study and understanding of English languages, literatures in English and cultures of English-speaking peoples.

The Archives service are delighted to support the conference with two exhibitions of literary works which highlight not only NUI Galway's rich collection of literary archives and special collections, writing in Irish and English from Ireland and the west of Ireland but also a visiting exhibition on-loan from the McClay Library of Queen's University Belfast. We hope conference delegates may take some time among a packed week to see the exhibitions and also take part in the daily lunchtime tour of the Archives.

The exhibition within our Archives and Special Collections Reading Room (Ground floor, Hardiman Building) offers a selection of highlights from our literary collections, such as first drafts and published first edition of John McGahern's acclaimed novel The Dark, known as "The Pit" in its initial writing; first editions of Thomas Kilroy's Booker-prize nominated novel, The Big Chapel; poetry in Irish from Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, letters from the late Seamus Heaney; programmes and images of Druid Theatre Company's many international successes such as its 1986 tour of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World and Tom Murphy's Conversations on a Homecoming. John Huston's film adaptation of James Joyce's short-story The Dead, with its deep Galway connections, is represented through material from the archive of Oscar-winning director, John Huston.

Exhibition in our Archives Reading Room
Also on display is a rare first edition of Cúchulain of Muirthemne by Lady Augusta Gregory, which was published in 1902 and represents a version of old Irish legends worked from oral and written folklore and stories collected by Gregory herself. The portrait of Lady Gregory, painted in 1912 by renowned artist Gerard Festus Kelly, also hangs in our Archives Reading Room.
Portrait of Lady Gregory at NUI Galway

Next to these published works are a wall-mounted display of water-colour sketches, painted by artist and playwright, Jack Butler Yeats. Brother of poet and senator, William, this 'Galway notebook' as it is known, contains many beautiful images of the landscape of the West of Ireland and captures the people, topography and culture of the West, through its fields and stone walls, Norman towers and castles and events such as the Galway Races.

In the foyer of the James Hardiman Library (through the electronic turnstiles) one can find the "Shakespeare Lives" exhibition. Assembled from the papers of celebrated Shakespearean actor and director, Sir Kenneth Branagh, located at the McClay Library of Queens University, Belfast, the exhibition offers a timely examination of the staging and reception of Shakespeare's work in Britain and northern Ireland both on-stage and on-screen.

Throughout the ESSE conference there will be daily lunchtime tours of Archives at 1pm, with a chance to see further material and explore in greater detail the documented heritage of the literary and theatrical collections of the Hardiman library. The meeting point is adjacent to the large 'Video Wall' in the foyer of the Hardiman Building. Please see your conference programme booklet for more information.

Looking forward to welcoming all ESSE delegates to Galway and to the Archives!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gate Theatre Digital Archive now available to research at NUI Galway

The digital archive of the Gate Theatre, Dublin, is now accessible in the Archives Reading Room of the Hardiman Building. Comprising a wealth of material in a range of formats and media, the archive and documents of one of Ireland's leading theatres, from the late 1980s to present, is newly open to study and research.
Rosaleen lenihan as 'Mary Tyrone' in Eugene O'Neill's
'Long Day's Journey into Night', (1998)

The scale of the archive and its digitisation ensures it is a vast resource for the study and understanding of plays performed at the Gate but also of Irish theatrical, social and wider cultural history. Already available within the digital archive are over 10,000 photographs, 11,000 press files, 6,500 pages of programmes, over 2,000 pages of play scripts, 1,700 pages of annotated prompt-scripts, 600 lighting designs and wealth of other material such as posters and handbills. Audio-visual material, including video recordings of productions and audio files of sound scores and design, will also be made available over the course of the digitisation project over coming months.

Programme cover of Gate Theatre's Beckett Festival
The archive of the Gate Theatre comprises material mainly from the period 1980-present, during which the theatre has been managed by Michael Colgan. The Gate under Michael Colgan has distinguished itself internationally for its work with two Nobel Prize winners, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. There is extensive correspondence with both writers, as well as huge detail about productions of their work. This will be of interest not only to Irish theatre scholars, but to people from further afield. There is also extensive archival material relating to other major writers, including David Mamet, Conor McPherson and Brian Friel. Indeed, Friel premiered seven plays at the Gate during the last 20 years of his life.

The Gate also has a long tradition of working with some of the world’s great actors; the archive features material relating to Orson Welles, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Penelope Wilton, Stephen Rea, Ian Holm, Liam Neeson, Charles Dance, and many others.

By connecting the Gate material to existing archival material at Hardiman Library on the Abbey and Druid theatres, playwright Thomas Kilroy, actress Siobhan McKenna and numerous other collections, NUI Galway’s status as the leading international centre for the study of Irish theatre is further enhanced.

This video provides an overview of the archive and its content.