UL’s online archive shows human side of WWI

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Significant collection: Professor Paul McCutcheon, vice-president and registrar, UL, Gobnait ORiordan, director of UL Glucksman Library and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys. Picture: Alan Place.
THE ‘entire story’ of the First World War will be told in real time through a new digital archive launched in UL.

THE ‘entire story’ of the First World War will be told in real time through a new digital archive launched in UL.

It’s a Long Way to Tipperary – An Irish Story of the Great War was launched by arts minister Heather Humphreys last week in the Glucksman Library.

The team in the library digitised the Armstrong Papers - belonging to a family from Moyaliffe Castle, near Thurles - a massive collection of diaries, correspondence, photographs and memorabilia relating to WWI.

In a project that marries history and social media, the exhibition will be delivered in real time with a new entries uploaded weekly, allowing visitors and subscribers to relive the events of the war as they unfolded.

“Each week we are going to post up information in the form of letters, photographs, diary entries, all about a family who experienced the Great War 100 years ago,” said Ken Bergin, special collections librarian in UL of the papers, which he said were “a very significant archive”.

“It took some years to list all those papers, there are hundreds of thousands of documents, and when we were listing the archive, we realised we had the entire story of the First World War from one family’s perspective.

“It is a four year project, delivered in real time each week to tell the story of the War,” he added.

UL vice-president Professor Paul McCutcheon said it would “reach the widest possible community, ensuring that Limerick reaches beyond the region to the world”.

The exhibition will be supported by social media, including Facebook and Twitter and Mr Bergin said there was interest from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, America and England.

Ms Humphreys said the exhibition offered an insight into the “human dimension” affected by the War.

See www.longwaytotipperary.ul.ie for more.