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The Correspondence of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century

The original website, The Correspondence of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century,  for this project element was part of a wider programme which aimed to collate the archival materials necessary for the study of the Irish Catholic Episcopate, its clergy and its dioceses in the seventeenth century and to host the findings in an on-line virtual research environment with search facilities. The wider project envisaged the hosting of prosopographical details, summaries of Episcopal letters and papers, transcriptions and translations of Episcopal writings and reports in full along with an up-to-date bibliography.

About the project

Described by one historian as a ‘remarkable’ body of men, the Catholic Episcopate looms large in the history of Early Modern and Counter-Reformation Ireland. Continentally educated and highly qualified, they spoke numerous languages and played a variety of ecclesiastical and political roles both in Ireland and continental Europe. This project aims to bring together the extant archival materials relevant to their careers including their letters, papers, reports and writings. It concentrates on the ecclesiastical province of Dublin which comprised of the Archdiocese of Dublin and its suffragan dioceses of Kildare, Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin. General correspondence information as well as the letter summaries of the five bishops of these dioceses in the early to mid-seventeenth century are included. These were Thomas Fleming, archbishop of Dublin (1623-1651); Ross MacGeoghegan, bishop of Kildare (1628-1644); David Rothe, bishop of Ossory (1620-1650); Nicholas French, bishop of Ferns (1645-1678) and Edmund O'Dempsey, bishop of Leighlin (1642-1658). Their letters are concerned with a variety of matters from contemporary Irish, British and European political and religious issues to their pastoral ministries and personal interests. Together they reveal the personalities and issues at the heart of the Counter-Reformation in seventeenth-century Ireland.


As of August 30, 2013, the activities of Digital Humanities Observatory have ceased and since then, the original website for the Correspondence of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century has been unpublished. As a result, the files necessary to enable individuals to run this site themselves are available as a downloadable zip. Please see below instructions for details.


"This site uses a JavaScript framework called Exhibit ( developed by MIT. In order to work, the data, stored in a file called data.json, must be hosted on a web server. For this reason, most of the site content and functionality will not be available when hosting the entire site locally on a user's own computer.  To enable the full functionality of this site, the site should be hosted on a web server.  Ensure the following:

  1. Unzip the website using your prefered software package.
  2. Ensure you have access to a web server (this would usually be hosted on a hosting service such as Blacknight or a Cloud-based solution such as Amazon Web Services).
  3. Copy the entire contents of the website to an accessible location on your web server (either in or below the web root) using an FTP client (such as WinSCP or Cyberduck).
  4. Access the site by navigating to the index.html page, e.g.

Alternatively, if you do not want to access the full site externally, you can host only the site data file externally. You will still need access to a web server, but you need only copy the data.json file to your web server. If you do this:

  1. Take note of the fully qualified web address of this file, e.g.
  2. In every HTML file where the line: <link href="data.json" type="application/json" rel="exhibit/data" /> appears, replace the reference to the data file with the new location, e.g.: <link href="" type="application/json" rel="exhibit/data" />

Please note that due to changes in the licensing model for Google Maps, mapping functionality may not work as intended.

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