In a couple of weeks I am off to Ireland to conduct research for my work, and, if time allows, family history research. I have a very full work schedule, but am looking forward to just being in Ireland once again.
It's difficult to believe, (perhaps not so difficult, given the Irish economy), that so much has changed with respect to archives/libraries since I was there last August. Due to "a significant reduction in staffing levels", UCD Archives has been forced to reduce reading room access hours. The Allen Library, a veritable treasure trove of documents and ephemera, is now closed. A vast array of materials now sits in boxes until someone can find the money (and the will) to house it properly. This is particularly sad for me because the Allen holds the Christian Brothers School portrait in which I saw, for the very first time, an image of my paternal grandmother's brother, Michael Magee.
In April of this year over 200 archivists, historians, librarians, genealogists and members of the general public attended the 'Archives in Crisis', symposium hosted by the Medieval History Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin. The event was prompted by the proposed amalgamation of the National Archives of Ireland with the National Library, and the news in January 2010 that state papers due to be released under the 30-year rule cannot be processed owing to a lack of resources in the National Archives. According to my contact at Kilmainham Gaol, "everyone in archives is feeling very unsettled at the moment".
As always we try to make the best of any situation and so I'm wondering, while I'm there...
Can I get you anything? Is there a document I can retrieve for you? Do you have a family member who has been difficult to trace and whose information I might be able to find for you? Is there a grave you would like photographed?
Let me know by email: email@example.com, or just post a comment here. I make no promises, but I'll do my very best to try and bring it home for you.
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