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Free workshop at the Royal Irish Academy: Teaching and learning using the Irish Historic Towns Atlas at third level

Academy House, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Date: Thursday 10 September, 09:30-16:30

This is a one-day workshop aimed at those who are either currently or intending to use the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) as a tool for teaching at third level. Those regular readers of this blog will know that the IHTA is an ongoing project of the Royal Irish Academy which aims to trace the morphology of towns and cities through time and space. The projects has completed a number of towns and cities, of varying sizes, throughout the island of Ireland, thus, proving extremely useful for the comparative study of the development of urban centres. Each atlas consists of a number of useful maps on the development of these towns. It also contains a valuable topographical gazetteer which allows the researcher to trace the purposes to which various sections of the town were being used through time. The gazetteer –which is divided into various sections- can also help in understanding how various social aspects of the city, such as religion, impacted on the built environment. This means that each atlas can also provide an important tool for the student to investigate the development of individual urban centres.

At the heart of the atlas project is its reliance on primary sources. This allows students, very early in their studies, to access a wealth of information based on primary source material. It also provides a staging post from where students and teachers can explore the usefulness of the topographic and cartographic record while broadening their understanding of the need to explore other material to gain a fuller picture of the historic urban centre and the society which inhabited it.

This workshop would appeal to individuals across a range of disciplines including history, geography, local studies, archaeology and digital humanities. The workshop is open to not only lecturers but also to third-level tutors, demonstrators, heritage professionals and anyone who would like to be exposed to new tools and methods for teaching. It is presented as an opportunity for discussion and debate about the uses the atlases can be put to and it is hoped that this will feed back into the general atlas project.

With a board range of talks from some well-known and respected researchers and lectures in various fields this promises to be not only an interesting and informative day but also the start of a period of expanded use of the atlas as a tool for third-level teaching.

For more information and registration go to: http://ria.ie/Events/Events-Listing/Teaching-and-learning–using-the-Irish-Historic-To

Or click on the file below:

IHTA T&L workshop 10 Sept (1)

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Documentary review: One Million Dubliners

BY EMMA EDWARDS

Once in a while a historical documentary will achieve the status of instant classic-a documentary that provides as much of an insight into contemporary ideas about history and the present state of the nation as it does into the historical significance of past events. Aoife Kelleher’s One Million Dubliners explores the story and legacy of Dublin’s necropolis, Glasnevin/Prospect Cemetery. Glasnevin is not Ireland’s national cemetery but as the documentary reminds us, it occupies an important place at the heart of the national experience, a conscious memorial and marker to the process of state building and to the cultural invention of the Irish nation. The documentary recounted Glasnevin’s origins from the lobbying of its most famous occupant, Daniel O’Connell for a graveyard for those of every or no religion with the astonishingly detailed records of the 1.5 million people interred since 1832 arising from the Victorian mania for record keeping. It was the story of how the living interact with the dead; of people’s interpretation and remembrances of the lives of figures both documented and undocumented by history. We had a French woman whose interest in the life of Michael Collins was fanned into a long-term devotion with frequent pilgrimages made to his graveside. We were also fortunate to witness a young man’s moving homage to the cultural impact of Luke Kelly. Our more enlightened attitudes to once contentious aspects of Irish history were also discussed with the documented scenes of Glasnevin’s Armistice Day service. We were also exposed to the stories and rituals arising from the passing of ordinary Dubliners and the delicate line to tread in maintaining a heritage site that remains a functioning place of burial and cremation.

Glasnevin/Prospect Cemetery

Glasnevin/Prospect Cemetery

However the most stirring part of the documentary was the masterful way in which Glasnevin Trust maintains and shares the history and heritage of the graveyard with its many and varied visitors. The dedication and devotion of its staff shone through with some sage yet compassionate reflection on the place of death in the Irish psyche. Most poignantly of all, the documentary became a much deserved tribute to the man who did the most to cherish and share the story of graveyard with the Irish public-Glasnevin’s late resident historian and guide, Shane MacThomais. The passion, empathy and dedication MacThomais brought to the history of Glasnevin and to its tours was wonderfully captured-whether he was seamlessly breaking down the complexities of Irish history for foreign visitors or lapsing into his natural storyteller mode, making history come alive for a cohort of rapt schoolchildren. This, above all, is the lasting value and legacy of One Million Dubliners: as a fitting celebration of the role one Dubliner played in the preservation and democratisation of local and national heritage.

 

One Million Dubliners: An Underground Films production in association with RTÉ, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Shoot for the Moon and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board

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