Cathaoirleach Terence Slowey, County Archivist Niamh Brennan, County Librarian Eileen Burgess and Cllr Marie Teresa Gallagher pictured at the launch.
A rare glimpse into how Donegal’s local authorities reacted to the historic events of 1916 have been made available to view online for the first time.
Today saw the launch of the “Digitisation of 1916 Archived Minutes of meetings of County Donegal’s local authorities” at County House in Lifford.
After an introduction by County Librarian, Eileen Burgess, County Archivist, Niamh Brennan gave an overview of the digital archives.
She stated: “ We are very fortunate to have in the County Archives so many surviving varying local authority records, though unfortunately the County Council minutes for this period do not survive, except for Jan- Feb 1916, and these had already been digitised.”
She highlighted that it not only showed how the authorities reacted to the 1916 Rising but also the impact of World War 1.
The archive was then formally launched by Cathaoirleach Terence Slowey who said that the digitisation of these records assists in preserving this invaluable source of information for a crucial time in our recent shared history; putting them online makes them accessible locally, nationally and globally and allows researchers to carry out local, family and academic research.
He said that he believed the records will be of great interest to the public locally nationally and internationally and may help draw more overseas visitors to the county.
He outlined that in 1916 there were several local authorities in existence, which apart from Donegal County Council have since been dissolved.
There were eight Boards of Guardians, in existence since the early 1840s, in Ballyshannon, Carndonagh, Stranorlar, Milford, Donegal, Glenties, Dunfanaghy and Letterkenny.
There were Rural District Councils in Inishowen, Stranorlar, Donegal, Ballyshannon, Letterkenny, Lifford, which was called ‘Strabane No. 2’ back then, Glenties, Dunfanaghy and Milford. There were also three Urban District Councils in Letterkenny, Buncrana and Bundoran as well as Ballyshannon Town Commissioners.
The digitisation work itself was completed in 2016 by Mallon Technology Ltd for Donegal County Council and part funded by the State Centenary Programme’s Commemorative Grant Scheme. The archived minutes are now being gradually placed online for viewing and are available at www.donegalcoco.ie