This week’s blog comes from third year single honours history student Ryan Heerey. Ryan is a member of the department’s Student-Staff Liaison Committee and is a former President of the Student History Society. Ryan details here his explorations in the National Archives of Ireland, as part of his SPUR experience working with Dr. Jacinta Prunty on the Historic Towns Atlas Project with the Royal Irish Academy.
The National Archives of Ireland could be seen as an intimidating place to a student, the National Library is full of books, which presumably a student is used to handling and extracting data from, but the archive is full of documents of various shapes and form, a place full of information which one could use but intimidating as the question must be asked on how to access said information. Well as it turns out the Archive is not an intimidating place at all and I would recommend any student doing history to visit, beyond the initial documentation needed to get a reader’s ticket, all one needs to bring is a pencil and a desire to find the information they are looking for. I would argue that the thirst for history is probably the most important thing one could bring to the archives as although the archives has much in the way of information it can often take a lot to get to the info one wants. The process can often be disheartening but you are almost always rewarded in little gems of history that are of interest to you or your work.
When we were doing the S.P.U.R Atlas project work an example of finding these gems were the drawings in the house books of the areas we looked at as it presented the opportunity to see how the houses and building where arranged beyond being a list of buildings and offices ordered numerically on a page.
Ryan’s blog will be followed by others who worked with him on this project.