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Giving to the maps that keep on giving … Conservation of Ordnance Survey 6-inch maps (1833-46)

23 July 2019

Would you like to help sponsor a map?

Thank you to our latest donor, Dr Philip Cohen, former Library Director, TU Dublin for his very generous funding of our OS 6” volume, Tipperary 1. Philip is a map enthusiast as you can see ...

The Academy Library holds a complete set of the first edition 6-inch maps of Ireland surveyed by the Ordnance Survey under the direction of Col. Thomas Colby and assistant director, Thomas Aiskew Larcom. The Survey was ambitious in scale and scope. The mapping exercise alone was groundbreaking — it influenced the Trigonometrical Survey of India led by George Everest (Everest had visited the Survey in Ireland in 1829). The maps feature not only the physical features of a locality but also the political, economic and historic elements, demesnes, military installations, mills, antiquities. 

These maps informed Richard Griffiths Valuation (1847-64), the first full-scale valuation of property in Ireland, the Geological Survey of Ireland, the establishment of the Poor Law Unions (1842-9) and the 1841 census. Today the county map volumes are still accessed frequently in the Library, by historians and local and family history researchers. They bring the past to life in tangible form.

OS Map conservation work is painstaking: it entails disbinding the volume, repairing wear and tear to the edges and gutters and replacing, in this case 46 sheets, in a new, reinforced spine. Thank you to conservator Paul Curtis, Muckross House, Co. Kerry.  

We also thank Academy member, Professor George L. Huxley for enabling the conservation of the Tyrone map.

Would you like to sponsor a map? Please contact library@ria.ie to explore further!

Listen back to our Lunchtime Lectures Series 'Mapping city, town and country since 1824: the Ordnance Survey in Ireland'

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