The School of History marked a significant milestone this year celebrating 50 years since the first archivists were trained in the university. Public awareness of the value of archivists has increased in Ireland over the last two decades, due to the significance of records in Commissions of Inquiry and the Decade of Centenaries but establishing the first training programme took place in a very different context. At this time, individuals had to travel abroad for full professional education and archives were collected mainly by the national repositories on the island and by special collection departments in universities.
For this blog post, my plan had been to quickly browse through the collection to provide a general overview of its contents. But I found myself getting sucked in because of the incredible richness of the collections and the remarkable insights they offer into people’s extraordinary lives. They illuminate the historical and social changes Ireland has undergone over the past century through real personal experiences.