University of Galway unveils digitised collection of images from Conradh na Gaeilge archive

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Nov 06 2023 Posted: 14:21 GMT

University of Galway has unveiled a milestone for its Archives and Special Collections with the unveiling of about 60,000 digitised images from the Conradh na Gaeilge archive.

Following an 18-month digitisation project, the collection has been made openly available online, on the Digital Archives platform of University of Galway Library, offering a window to momentous episodes in Irish history and the work, campaigning and activism of Conradh. 

The extensive Conradh na Gaeilge archive includes more than 600,000 items. It represents the organisation’s activities, campaigning and achievements since its foundation in 1893.

The digital collection, which was unveiled at the weekend at Oireachtas na Samhna in Killarney, in  was carefully curated by Project Archivist Niamh Ní Charra from the extensive physical archive, with the digitisation itself carried out by digital photographer Maeve O’Neill, on behalf of Archives Ireland.

Along with near complete runs of Oireachtas and Conradh na Gaeilge Ard Fheis programmes from 1890s to early 2000s, the material covers a range of topics from Irish language rights campaigns, including broadcasting and the status of the Irish language in Europe, through to material relating to the Northern Ireland peace process.

University of Galway became the custodian of the Conradh na Gaeilge archive in 2018, following discussions led by former University of Galway academic Dr John Walsh.

University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Nurturing and promoting the Irish language is a priority for our University and central to our values, something which we have committed to through our Straitéis don Ghaeilge. We now hold one of the largest open access resources in the Irish language on our campus, joining many other Irish language digital collections donated to the University, such as Professor Tomás Ó Máille’s audio folklore material, Irish language newspapers – An Gaodhal and An Stoc, and photographs from Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, all of which are available to access by educators, students, scholars, and those interested in Irish history through our Library. Tá fáilte roimh chách teacht ar an gcampas s’againne nó ar line le ghabháil do’s na hachmhainní atá againn i léamh agus léann an Ghaeilge agus muid bródúil astu agus buíoch go bhfuil siad linn in Ollscoile na Gaillimhe”

Monica Crump, Acting University Librarian, said: “The University of Galway Library is very proud to be the custodians of the Conradh na Gaeilge archive.  We have been delighted to see the archive being used in research and in teaching since the collection was catalogued and made accessible in our Reading Room. Today we are particularly pleased to bring 60,000 images from that collection to a global audience by launching the Conradh na Gaeilge Digital Collection.  

“By making this digital collection openly available we enable researchers, citizen scientists and anyone interested in the history of Conradh na Gaeilge, the Irish language or indeed Irish history more broadly, to delve into the records of this important national organisation. We are grateful for the University’s support for this work to become a reality, and to our Heritage Collections Team and the Archives Ireland team for their work in delivering this wonderful digital collection.” 

Paula Melvin, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, said: "We are delighted that a wide range of materials from the Conradh na Gaeilge Archive has been digitised and published online by the University of Galway Library. This archive is a fantastic resource for our branches, our members and everyone who is interested in both the history of Conradh na Gaeilge and Irish history alike. It is a great achievement that more than 100 years of our organisation's material has now been made available to the public, and we would like to express our thanks to the Conradh na Gaeilge Project Archivist, Niamh Ní Charra, and the whole team who made the project happen."

The collection can be viewed on the University of Galway’s Digital Archives platform alongside other digitised archives at  


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