Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Prof. Kevin Boyle Archive Launch and Symposium

On 28th November a memorable and fascinating series of events saw the Professor Kevin Boyle archive officially launched at NUI Galway. A seminar entitled "the Human Rights Scholar-Activist / Activist-Scholar", excellently organised by the School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights, saw a host of local national and international speakers, including keynote speaker, Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, present papers on not just Kevin Boyle's major contribution to teaching and practising of law and Human Rights advocacy and activism but on wider, current and important issues of human rights law and conditions in Ireland and internationally.

 Following the symposium, the launch of the archives was officiated by the Attorney General Máire Whelan, a former student of Professor Boyle and an alumni of NUI Galway, spoke warmly and passionately about Kevin's contribution and to the potential of the archive for future research.

You can watch all the proceedings of the symposium - The morning session and the afternoon session.

For more on The Professor Kevin Boyle archive and to access the archive catalogue please click here

You can read Irish Times coverage of the launch here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

100 years of College Drama Society

The college annuals of University College Galway are an indispensable record of student life and activity on campus. With updates on study and academic courses, sporting life, achievements of students and academics, contributions to social and cultural life and general news of interest for and by students it is an insight into what being student in Galway was like over 100 years ago.

In an issue for 1914 the Dramatic Society documents the activities of the first year in existence of the UCG Dramatic Society. According to the notes:

"The first year of this society has been very successful, notwithstanding some "excursions and alarums". There was first of all the question whether we were a college society at all, which was pursued by some so far that one night of rehearsal we found ourselves faced with an order by a college official that we are not to be allowed into the Aula Maxima".

UCG Drama Society, 1914

Thankfully things did improve for the society as it is noted how "Twelfth Night" was to be the first production:
"Rehearsals were frequent, but though they take up much time, they were essential and often good fun as well. The actors were all enthusiastic and painstaking, and from the beginning each did his or her best to make the play a success, and a success it was."

A tribute to the success of the play was noted as being the attendance of the President of UCG on the night of the play (December 16th):

"This tribute of loyalty and respect, not to say affection, acted as a message of encouragement and a stimulus to the actors and made manifest that this was truly "a college night", and such a one as it is hoped will be frequent in the future."

To view the 1914, and other editions of the historic College annuals visit the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room.

UCG Drama Society, 1915, seated at Aula Maxima

Monday, November 24, 2014

Digital Seminar Series Event 2 at Hardiman Building 27 Nov.

Digital Scholarship Seminar. THU 27 NOV, 12-2pm. G1001 Hardiman Research Building.

Creating a database of Irish international trade 1698-1829
Dr Aidan Kane (Economics, NUI Galway), Dr Patrick A Walsh (History, UCD), Dr Eoin Magennis (InterTrade Ireland)

What are the potential benefits of applying mathematical network theory to Humanities sources?
Dr Máirín Mac Carron (History, NUI Galway)

The second event of this semester’s Digital Scholarship Seminar features talks on databases in economic history and on mathematics meeting mythology (abstracts below). Featuring both local and visiting speakers, this event will focus on two projects with interdisciplinary methods at their core. Please join us for this seminar on Thu 27 November. Presentation and discussion will take place in Room G1001, Hardiman Building (first floor) from 12-1pm, and will be followed by lunch and further discussion from 1-2pm.
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Creating a database of Irish international trade 1698-1829
We report on work-in-progress in capturing and interpreting data from a unique set of records of Ireland’s international trade, the “Customs 15" ledgers housed in the UK National Archives. These (hand-written) records span the period 1698 to 1829, with at least one c.50-folio volume for each year. They record (in remarkably internally consistent and stable formats) Ireland’s exports and imports in each year, for hundreds of commodities, detailing quantities, prices, and values, distinguished by main trading partners, and by Irish port, along with summary tables of shipping tonnage and trade-related tax revenue (these latter two also detailed by port). Only a small proportion of the wealth of the data these records contain has been accessible to date. Having digitised a sample of these volumes and captured some data, we report on the challenges of data capture, management, presentation, curation, and interpretation in anticipation of a larger project to make this unique resource available to a wide community. See http://www.duanaire.ie/trade

What are the potential benefits of applying mathematical network theory to Humanities sources?

I recently applied mathematical network theory to Humanities sources, following collaboration with mathematicians, as part of my involvement in an ESF-funded exploratory workshop called ‘Maths meets Myths’, held at Coventry University (10-13 September 2014). My test cases are accounts of saints’ lives (hagiographies) from seventh- and eighth-century Anglo-Saxon England. Following presentation of my preliminary findings, the paper will pose questions such as: does network theory tell us anything that we could not already infer from close textual study? For network theory to be effective, do our sources need to contain a minimum or maximum number of characters? Is it necessary for humanities scholars to work closely with mathematicians in order to get the greatest benefit from such quantitative research tools?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Verne Harris Lecture at Hardiman Building - "Post-Apartheid, Post Mandela"

Verne Harris, Director of Research and Archives at the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Lecture on 

"Post-Apartheid, Post Mandela"

Seminar Room G011 the Hardiman Reserach Building

Date & Time
20th November, 2014 @ 13:00:00

Verne Harris offers a reflection on reckoning with pasts and making futures in South Africa. He interrogates inter alia the country's continuing transition to democracy, the unfinished work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Director of Research and Archive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Verne Harris was Mandela's archivist from 2004 to 2013. He is an honorary research fellow with the University of Cape Town, participated in a range of structures which transformed South Africa's apartheid archival landscape, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and is a former Deputy Director of the National Archives. Widely published, he is probably best-known for leading the editorial team on the best-seller Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself. He is the recipient of archival publication awards from Australia, Canada and South Africa, and both his novels were short-listed for South Africa's M-Net Book Prize. He has served on the Boards of Archival Science, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the Freedom of Expression Institute, and the South African History Archive

For more information please contact tflorath@web.de

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Digital Scholarship Series at the Hardiman Building - Autumn 2014 Schedule

Another edition of Digital Scholarship Series of talks and lectures is beginning this November at the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway. With sessions focusing on advances, new projects and research in the Digital Humanities from speakers locally, nationally and internationally, it promises to be a really exciting and interesting series. All information and contact details of organisers can be seen on the following poster:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Announcing Symposium on Archives, Human Rights and Activism & Launch of Kevin Boyle Archive

The family of the late Professor Kevin Boyle, co-founder of the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), has kindly deposited the Kevin Boyle archive at the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. This important archive has much to say about the pursuit of human rights in Ireland, the UK and internationally. The Archive will be launched at a series of events at NUI Galway on the 28th November 2014. A day-long symposium, organised by the ICHR and the School of Law, will bring together leading human rights scholars and activists to address the theme “The Human Rights Scholar-Activist or Activist-Scholar" and will also explore issues of human rights, archives and memorialisation. The keynote speaker is Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Committee.

Panel speakers include:
Brice Dickson
Michael Farrell
Tom Hadden
Françoise Hampson
Barry Houlihan
Bernadette McAliskey
Marie McGonagle
Tarlach McGonagle
Donncha O’Connell
Pól O’Dochartaigh
Michael O’Flaherty
Louis Boyle

28 November 2014
All are welcome.

Following the Symposium, the Archive of the late Professor Boyle, catalogued and available at the Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, will be officially launched by Máire Whelan, S.C., Attorney General.

For further information:  humanrights@nuigalway.ie

To register for Symposium:  www.conference.ie 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Will of James Hardiman

James Hardiman, historian and librarian was born around 1782. Hardiman was born in Westport, County Mayo, in the west of Ireland around 1782. His father owned a small estate in County Mayo. He was trained as a lawyer and became sub-commissioner of public records in Dublin Castle. He was an active member of the Royal Irish Academy, and collected and rescued many examples of Irish traditional music. In 1855, shortly after its foundation, Hardiman became librarian of Queen's College, Galway. The university library was later named in his honour.

From Errew near Westport, the site of Errew Franciscan Monastery was donated by James Hardiman, the foundation stone was laid on the 21st of July, 1840 and a great number of people were present. Dr. McHale, Archbishop of Tuam was the leader of the ceremonies. James Hardiman laid the foundation stone and placed coins of the day under it, the people of Errew helped with the building. Local tradition in Errew states that James Hardiman had a son called `Black James Hardiman`. `Black` James often visited the Monastery and had special rooms reserved for him there. He married a lady from Galway and lived in Dublin. When his wife died he left Dublin and it is believed that he had no family and his whereabouts were unknown.

James Hardiman, Historian and first Librarian of Queen's College Galway

This will of James Hardiman who died in 1909 fills in the details of this Black James Hardiman. Two beneficiaries are mentioned in the will Lily O’Flaherty Johnston of Kilmurvey House, Aran Island and Brigid (or Delia) O’Flaherty of 51 Leinster Road, Rathmines, Dublin. Lily and Brigid are sisters, and another sister, Julia, had married James. The O’Flaherties were middlemen who became the biggest landholders on Inis Mór, and feature strongly in Tim’s book Stones of Aran: Labyrinth. Because of this will we have an address for James in Dublin, and from the Census returns of 1901 held in the National Archives of Ireland and now available digitally, James’ age is given as 81 in 1901, and Delia’s as 45.

This will and it’s associated material relating to James Hardiman’s grave plot in Glasnevin, was donated by Tim and Mairéad Robinson  as part of their collection to John Cox, the librarian of the James Hardiman Library in September 2013. It is a link between the many strands that go to make up Humanities research. From the work of James Hardiman himself, to the folklore of his local area of Errew, available at http://www.castlebar.ie/clubs/ballyheane/bally2.html. Black James Hardiman features in the work of Tim Robinson in a footnote, that has contributed to an entry by Moore Institute scholar Deirdre Ní Chonghaile, who’s blog entry on the piano at Kilmurvey House available at http://aransongs.blogspot.ie/2013_12_01_archive.html fills in the O’Flaherty of Aran connection with James Hardiman. The address furnished in the will allows us to check the census returns in the online version of the 1901 census digitized by the National Archives of Ireland available at http://census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Dublin/Rathmines/Leinster_Road__Part_/1296656/ .

This will provides a tangible link with the family of the first librarian of this Library, and is an example of how one item can link and overlap with other research being done in the humanities.