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Jacinta Prunty moving on to South Sudan

29 October 2020

Irish Historic Towns Atlas honorary editor, contributor, colleague and friend moves to South Sudan to take on a new challenge.

Jacinta Prunty has been a vibrant presence in all things IHTA-related over the last thirteen years as editor, and many more as an advisor and mentor. She has resigned from the editorial board of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (and from her post in Maynooth University) and has moved to the town of Yambio in South Sudan to work in Solidarity Teacher Training College.  

Her research expertise as an historical geographer in mapping, particularly the Ordnance Survey, her book on Maps and map-making in local history (2004) and the valuation records along with her nineteenth-century education and religious records acumen made her an expert in many respects of IHTA research. 

Most recently, Jacinta was co-author of Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 28 Galway/Gaillimhe with Paul Walsh (2016) where we had a memorable launch in the Galway City Museum by President Michael D. Higgins.

President Michael D. Higgins being introduced to Jacinta Prunty, Paul Walsh and Anngret Simms by Mary E. Daly, President, Royal Irish Academy, 2016.

Members from the Royal Irish Academy, Galway City Council and Galway City Museum pictured with President Michael D. Higgins, 2016. 

Jacinta was co-author of Reading the maps: a guide to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (2011) with Howard Clarke. This was the first detailed comparative study of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas series and continues to be the principal text for Irish urban study, especially in teaching and learning. 

Jacinta Prunty and Howard Clarke with Carrie Fonseca and Seamas Cannon at the launch of Reading the maps in 2011.

She has also been a key person in the Maps and Texts seminar series that have taken place in Academy House every May since 2009. Often either presenting or chairing the various comparative sessions and linking people and research from Irish and European institutions. The proceedings of the first 6 seminars have been published as Maps and texts: exploring the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (2013) and More maps and texts: sources and the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (2018) with a third volume to follow. 

Jacinta presenting during a Maps and Texts seminar 'Mapping Townscapes', 2017. 

Jacinta is a member of the International Commission for the History of Towns and has been an active and enthusiastic contributor at annual meetings held across Europe. 

Members of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas team with members of the International Commission for the History of Towns, 2011.

The Dublin Suburbs series was established under the initial guidance of Jacinta, backed by the IHTA board and Colm Lennon was appointed as the other series editor. Clontarf was published in late 2017 and subsequently sold out. Rathmines is due in 2021, followed by Drumcondra and Kilmainham/Inchicore.

Charles Duggan, Jacinta Prunty, Peter Kennedy, Colm Lennon and Lord Mayor, Cllr Mícheál MacDonncha at the launch of Clontarf, 2017. 

Jacinta also sat on the IHTA Digital Working Group to assist in a progressive move to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that utilises the interactive nature of the atlas, and IHTA Online, which has made twenty-seven IHTAs available free of charge on the IHTA website.

Members of the IHTA team with Eamonn Doyle, ESRI, Paul Walsh and Colin Bray, OSI at the Digital Atlas of Galway launch, 2017.

As a mentor, Jacinta has introduced Maynooth University students to the research elements of the IHTA as part of the SPUR scheme. Students gained experience working in repositories such as the National Archives, Valuation Office, Registry of Deeds, National Library of Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy Library along with valuable workshops and different elements of urban history. 

Howard Clarke and Jacinta Prunty present a gift to SPUR student Aiden Gilsenan, 2019. 

In 2019, after serving a term as Head of the Department of History in Maynooth University, Jacinta spent four months in teacher education in Yambio, South Sudan. With the backing of her community, Holy Faith Sisters, she has just returned to Yambio to work as a lecturer and in curriculum development in the local Solidarity Teacher Training College. 

We will miss her as part of the IHTA team but know that a map will never be far from her reach, along with many coloured pencils. 

Jacinta admiring St Mary's Collegiate Church during a walking tour of Youghal, 2015. 

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