Friday, 15 September 2017

Culture Night 2017




This year’s culture night takes place on the 22 September. Culture night is an annual all-island public event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. The James Hardiman Library is holding an evening of talks and an exhibition to celebrate culture. The focus of the talks is on community development with the focus on materials from the Muintir na Tíre collection as well as volumes from the 19th century printed collections.

The James Hardiman Library’s collections hold a rich source of material on local and community studies. In the archives we have collections from The Abbey Theatre, The Gate Theatre, Professor Kevin Boyle, Brendan Duddy, Ritchie-Pickow, Éamon de Buitléar, Tim Robinson and Druid Theatre company to name but a few. The James Hardiman Library has recently acquired the archive of Muintir na Tíre, a national voluntary organisation dedicated to promoting the process of community development. A series of blogs have been written about the work to date of making the collection accessible for researchers.



The Muintir na Tíre talk will look at Rural Ireland and Landmark two publications of Muintir na Tíre and discuss how they promoted community development before and after the United Nations definition in 1958. These will also be on display in the exhibition. Community development in Galway and the West of Ireland will be discussed as well during the talk. Much earlier attempts at community development in Galway will be addressed in the talk on James Hardiman and his involvement with organisations such as the Royal Galway Institution.

Venue: Room G010, Hardiman Research Building

Talks:
18.30: “Muintir na Tíre Periodical literature”.  Speaker: Fiona Kearney, Archivist

19.30: “James Hardiman, historian of Galway” Speaker: Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian

We hope you can come along and join us for the evening.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Bible returns to Galway - after 154 years!

The library hosted a pleasant hand-over event on 8 September, when members of the extended Colohan family, living in Australia and the UK, visited Special Collections. They were here to present us with a bible that had first left Galway 154 years ago, when it was presented to John Colohan by his father, Professor Nicholas Colohan. John had graduated in Medicine from what was then Queen's College, Galway in 1857. He subsequently took a post as Surgeon General in the British Army. His work took him to various parts of the world including South Africa, before he settled in Australia. His descendant, Seán Colohan, and his family, have now decided that the bible should be kept in the care of the library's Special Collections. They had first visited the University on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of its opening in 1999 and have been back to Galway several times since. Our picture shows Seán with the historic bible. On his right is Monica Crump, our Head of Collections, and to his left are Sean's wife, Narelle, his cousin, Mimi Colohan from London, Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian, and Prof. Tadhg Foley, formerly of the Discipline of  English, who facilitated the visit.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Muintir na Tíre's financial and governance records

In my last blog I wrote about the various stages of work that an archivist does in preparing a collection to make it accessible in the reading room. Having completed the arrangement (almost) I have now started describing the collection. These descriptions will provide researchers with sign posts to what is contained in a file or bound volume.

The material I have been cataloguing in the collection so far has been mainly financial records and governance records of Muintir na Tíre. The financial records of Muintir na Tíre contain various ledgers detailing membership, income and expenditure, annual reports and petty cash books. The annual reports of Muintir na Tíre date back as far as 1945. Below is an example of the annual report from 1974. These records provide a great understanding of the financial position of Muintir na Tíre throughout its history.   

 

  

  


The ledgers dealing with membership provide us with the details of the guilds and community councils who registered as members with Muintir na Tíre. The Guild’s Ledgers contain information on the subscriptions that guilds had for Landmark. Below is an example of this. All this valuable information provides us with evidence of the number of guilds/community councils that were members of Muintir na Tíre down through the years. We can ascertain the history of guilds/community councils for the last 80 years from these records as well.


A constitution has been used as the governing method of Muintir na Tíre since its foundation. The constitution has been amended over the years to reflect the development and different ways of working of Muintir na Tíre. In 1996, Muintir na Tíre became a Company Limited by Guarantee and now has a memorandum of understanding and articles of association. They developed guidelines on setting up a community council and they provided a template for the constitution they required if setting up the council as a company limited by guarantee. Examples of some of the constitutions is provided below. 

   

 


We also get an understanding of the election process in Muintir na Tíre. The Honorary Returning Officer was a busy person organising and managing the election process from the nominations to confirming the names of those elected. We see the variety of individual who were nominated and got involved in the National Council.

 


Finally, we also get an understanding of the decisions made by the National Council of Muintir na Tíre. The minutes of the National Executive committee meetings provide the eveidence of the decisions made by the leadership of Muintir na Tíre down through the years. They also show the many discussions that took place on various issues that faced Muintir na Tíre and the many projects they got involved in.




These records provide us with the evidence of how Muintir na Tíre was governed over its 80 year history. The descriptions for these records have been written and while you have to wait until the collection as a whole is catalogued before they are available for consultation, you can start thinking about how you can use this wonderful collection for your research purposes.