The Irish Manuscripts Commission and the writing of Irish History


18/09/2020 at 1:30pm

History is about past people, their lives and their experiences. In this short feature historians Jane Ohlmeyer and David Fleming and genealogist Nicola Morris show how we can recover the stories of individual human beings, their enterprises, misfortunes and dealings from previous centuries. From the traces of their lives left in registers, wills and census returns, to records of land-ownership and reports of losses in times of rebellion, see how these are used to reconstruct the past and improve our understanding of life as it was lived.

In the 92 years since it was established by the President of the Executive Council in response to the burning of the Four Courts and the consequent loss of many historical records, the Irish Manuscripts Commission has worked to make available the local, national, private and public primary sources for the history of Ireland and its peoples.

Its work is not just to mitigate past losses but to provide edited sources, calendars and lists — in print and latterly online — to be used as the basis for the writing and understanding of Irish history.

A look through IMC’s publications is to see Irish history through the eyes of its men and women, its rulers and rebels, its maps and its letters and its famous and ordinary people. For the 2020 Festival of History we invite you to dip into our work, past and present, in the company of the historians, archivists and genealogists who work or have worked to produce IMC publications in the service of scholarship since the early years of the nascent Irish state.

This is the second of three short films prepared by the Irish Manuscripts Commission for the Festival of History 2020.

Watch the film here

Booking not required.