New Library Project – RIA Membership Certificates, 1785-1920


The Academy Library holds a collection of Certificates of Candidate. These are forms recommending individuals for membership of the Academy. The forms contain information such as the candidate’s name, address, profession or qualification for membership, the signatures of those members who acted as proposers and date of election.

The Library has begun a project to catalogue and digitise certificates for the years 1785-1920. There are few extant certificates for the early years of the Academy and the collection is not comprehensive. However, the information contained in the extant certificates can inform us about the composition of the membership over time and can yield other data, e.g. who were the proposers, were some members more active than others in proposing candidates for election? Who were the movers and shakers? Can the certificates provide us with information about antiquarian or scientific networks?

We intend to display records on the membership 1785-1920 with accompanying certificates (as available), links to the Dictionary of Irish Biography and images of members, depending on availability.

This is Phase 1 of a project which will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Assistant Librarian, Amy Hughes, Library intern, Konstantin Ermolin and Library Assistant Dave McKeon are the team working on this project.

For further details contact Siobhán Fitzpatrick, Librarian, or 00-353-1-6380910.

Irish History Online

iho website thumbnailIrish History Online (IHO) is an authoritative guide (in progress) to what has been written about Irish history from earliest times to the present.IHO records bibliographic information on books and pamphlets, articles from journals published in Ireland or internationally, and chapters from books of essays, including Festschriften and conference proceedings.
IHO is an essential resource for the study of Irish history at any level, and the database is free of charge to users.

The proceedings of the fifth international conference on European historical bibliographies has been published (June 2015). It includes an essay by Bernadette Cunningham on the history of Irish History Online and earlier historical bibliographies in Ireland.


The Doegen Records Web Project: Irish Dialect Sound Recordings 1928-1931

Now accessible at

In 1928 a German professor, Dr Wilhelm Doegen, came to Ireland at the request of the new Irish Ministry of Education to record Irish-language speakers throughout the island. The objective ─ to have a permanent record of the spoken language from all of the districts in which it was still spoken.

Funded by the Ministry of Education, the project was managed by the Royal Irish Academy’s Irish Studies Committee, assisted by the Irish departments in the universities at Cork, Galway and Belfast where recording was carried out, and in co-operation with the Convent of Mercy, Killarney where Kerry speakers were recorded and the Courthouse, Letterkenny to which Donegal speakers travelled. Recording under the strict protocols laid down by Doegen, an expert in the field of dialect recording and phonics, the project ran from 1928 to 1931. In all, 136 speakers in 17 counties recorded 400 stories, songs, prayers, charms and parables. The original matrices were transferred to Berlin and reformatted on shellac records.

Doegen, his assistant Herr Tempel, and the members of the Irish Studies Committee, compiled speaker data on survey sheets (Personalbogen) which included ― place of residence, level of education, occupation, parent’s place of origin, ability to play an instrument, facility in speaking English, etc.

Although the shellac recordings were long known to linguists, the Academy Library wanted to make them freely available to all via the internet. In 2008, with a funding grant under the Higher Education Authority’s PRTLI4, the Academy Library commenced a project to transfer the recordings to the web, together with annotated transcripts of content, speaker details derived from the survey forms, translations of the transcripts and other data. The project provided postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers with an opportunity to gain experience of participating in the growing digital humanities sector. The project was completed in October 2013.

The site is fully bilingual. It will enable comparative linguistic research and third-level teaching. It is a resource for family and local history.

Listen to one of the last speakers in Co. Antrim, Brian Mac Amhlaoibh (Barney McAuley), born in 1850 —

Listen to W.T. Cosgrave, Head of the Irish government, speaking on 5 September 1928 in Cork during the recording session there. This is the only recording in English taken by Doegen during his time in Ireland —

Search by County, Speaker or Recording Title. Discover the Irish of your locality as spoken in the 1920s.

S. Fitzpatrick,
January 2014

Contact: or


Irish Script on Screen is a project which was initiated by the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, in 1999.
The aim of the project is to make Irish manuscripts available on the web for the purposes of information and research. More...


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