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New Collection in DRI – Kingstown Lifeboat Disaster Fund Letter Book

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is pleased to announce that a new collection – The Kingstown Lifeboat Disaster Fund Letter Book – has been published in the Repository through Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Councillor Denis O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has officially launched the Council’s first digitized archive publication, with the launch of the new digital series: Miscellany from the dlr Archive Collection.

The first item available in the series is the Kingstown Life-Boat Disaster Fund Letter Book, a record of the Trust established to support the bereaved families of the fifteen-lifeboat crew lost at sea in Dún Laoghaire on Christmas Eve 1895. The original book is now extremely fragile, so making it available digitally makes the content available to a much wider audience than is possible in a traditional archive while still preserving the original item.

Speaking at the launch, An Cathaoirleach Denis O’Callaghan said:

The archive collection is important for the history of the county, and I welcome this first example of the Council extending the reach of our historic records while ensuring the integrity and preservation of the originals. We are looking forward to adding to the collection over time.”

To mark the occasion, as the new publication is central to the history of lifeboats in Dún Laoghaire and to celebrate the 200th Anniversary year of the RNLI, An Cathaoirleach made a presentation to Eddie Totterdell, Lifeboat Operation Manager

Georgina Sweetnam, dlr Archives commented that:

This is an exciting step forward for dlr Archive Services and we have already identified suitable parts of the archive for inclusion, which gives us the perfect platform to share the details of sometimes forgotten parts of local history with as wide an audience as possible. We are very fortunate to have worked closely with the DRI team in bringing the project to fruition and look forward to extending this collaboration in the future.

The Collection has been deposited in the DRI, a certified trustworthy digital repository that provides long-term preservation and access to Ireland’s social and cultural digital data. DRI provides stewardship of social and cultural data from a range of organisations including higher education institutions, cultural heritage institutions, government agencies, local authorities, and community archives.

DRI Director Dr Lisa Griffith said:

We are glad that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council have ingested the ‘Kingstown Life-Boat Disaster Trust Letter Book’ collection into the Repository, ensuring these materials will be preserved safely, for the long-term, and viewable to all on open access.

This moving collection, which sheds light on the assistance dispensed to the families of the fifteen men who lost their lives on Christmas eve 1895, highlights the profound bravery, experiences of loss and community responses to the shipping disaster – marking an important contribution to our knowledge of naval history.

The Kingstown Lifeboat Disaster Fund Letter Book can now be viewed in full in the Repository.

DRI are delighted to include this valuable collection from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in the Repository. Other collections in the Repository include: Ports: Past and Present, and the Life Histories and Social Change collections.

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