Archive

We are fortunate to have some great online resources offering a host of material about the island of Ireland. Below is a list of archive websites that will show you to a wealth of Irish material, both audio and visual, that can be used in Part Two of the Rambling House evening. 
Starting with our parent company's audio clips, you'll be made aware of the great depth of material out there, showcasing Ireland from yesteryear as well as handy tools to enjoy the island today. We've also gone further afield and intend to add to more over time, so watch this space! Photo: Folklore Commission, UCD


This is our parent site's audio archive where you'll find hundreds of audio clips on a whole range of topics - scroll down to find everything from Irish mythology to customs and superstitions. We'll be expanding our back catalogue and adding Spotify playlists for ease of use - please bookmark and share this page.  
We'll be dividing our Rambling House storytelling into individual segments and adding forgotten outtakes from other raconteurs. Hear stories from Donegal that capture the spirit of a proper rambling house and many places in between right down to Youghal that we've been fortunate to record in over the years. 
Photo: John Ward, view from the top of Croaghowen, Barnesmore, looking towards Donegal Bay and beyond, July 2020.

National Archives

State-run archives for the public to enjoy

The mission of this free Library is to collect, preserve, promote  and make accessible the documentary and intellectual record of the life of Ireland and to contribute to the provision of access to the larger universe of recorded knowledge.

RTÉ as the national broadcaster has the best archive available. A full range of all aspects of Irish life is covered here, so set up a separate file for the wealth of material here. There's a good chance a relative or neighbour made an appearance on something here!

This is the website for the Office of Public Works who look after and promote various important collections of art and artefacts. They take care of many noteworthy examples of artistic and cultural production from Ireland and around the world.
Duchas is the State's premiere archive which contains everything from the National Folklore Collection to manuscripts and photographs can be found. Included is the famous 1937 Schools Collection where children were encouraged to gather folklore from their grandparents.
The National Gallery of Ireland houses the national collection of Irish and European art. It is located in the centre of Dublin with one entrance on Merrion Square, beside Leinster House, and another on Clare Street. It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later.
The Chester Beatty is a museum and library in Dublin Castle. Established in Ireland in 1950, to house the collections of mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, it now offers everything from a great app to online learning workshops. A brilliant, innovative free resource to enjoy.

Mapping and Placenames

Geolocation-based archives

This is a powerful online resource from the National Monuments Service for getting a birds eye view of all historic and archaeological sites located in Ireland. Take your time to find out what ancient sites are near your home.
Taken in the years 1656-1658, the Down Survey of Ireland  sought to measure all the land to be forfeited by the Catholic Irish in order to facilitate its redistribution to Merchant Adventurers and English soldiers. 
GeoHive is an initiative by Ordnance Survey Ireland to provide easy access to publically available spatial data. It is a great way beyond the likes of Google Maps with which to really get to know about your locality in detail.
If you enjoyed Creedon's Atlas of Ireland finding out about placenames, then The Placenames Database of Ireland is the website for you! Ever wondered about that strange and colourful name down the road? Find out about it here!
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage is a great online resource that's "identifying, recording and evaluating the post 1700 architectural heritage of Ireland." You can enjoy a fascinating array of tours all from your desktop for free.
Ordnance Survey Ireland has developed the ability to deliver their OSi Data in a format, which can be read into Minecraft. Minecraft enables players to be creative and build constructions with textured cubes in a 3D generated world.

Music and Sport

Archives for music and sports lovers to enjoy

The Comhaltas Traditional Music Archive comprises the recordings, documents and images collected by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann during their 50 years of promoting Irish music and culture. The archive can be accessed as a guest or you can request greater access by emailing them.
The GAA Museum is the national custodian of all the archives and artefacts of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The museum’s collections and exhibits, which are open to the public, illustrate the rich history of the games from ancient times to the present day. 
The ITMA houses a vast collection of sound recordings of Irish traditional music along with reference materials. Anyone with a passing interest in Irish traditional music will find this a rich source of useful information.

Northern Ireland Archives

Some great resources up north

Our link brings your to the museum's collection of stories, but there's a plethora of material for all to enjoy here. There are in fact four museums on offer: the Ulster Museum, the Ulster Folk Museum, the Ulster Transport Museum and the Ulster American Folk Park.
Belfast's Linen Hall Digital Collection offers an exciting array of online material from the highly recommended Postcards Ireland to the Theatre and Performing Arts archive. There's hours of enjoyment to be had from this site. PG required for their Troubled Images archive.
With nine interactive galleries and a range of curriculum based workshops, tours and seminars, Titanic Belfast communicates all aspects of RMS Titanic’s story through a stimulating range of unique learning opportunities for education visitors outside of the classroom!


British Archives

Comprehensive British archives to explore

Available to play from Ireland, this is an impressively comprehensive archive as you'd expect from this world famous broadcaster. Covering everything from nature and environment to arts and entertainment as well as science and technology and a lot more great rich content. 
Listen to a selection from the British Library’s extensive collections of unique sound recordings, which come from all over the world and cover the entire range of recorded sound: music, drama and literature, oral history, wildlife and environmental sounds.
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design. From handling replica objects and trying on costumes in our workshops and gallery sessions, to the ever-changing exhibition and displays programme, the V&A is the place to bring students to experience inspirational learning.

American Archives

Some great archives from our American cousins

The Library of Congress is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and has a wide range of collections to enjoy for free.
Everyone knows Bill Gates, but his Microsoft co-founder, the late Paul Allen, was one cool dude having founded the Museum of Pop in Seattle. This landmark institution is both educational and great fun with loads of free resources on offer for rockers, young and old.
The world famous Smithsonian has enough material to keep a person busy for months. This is a truly epic cornucopia of events, ideas and innovations for both kids and teens to enjoy. Whoever said museums were dull places never went here!

Know a good archive we left out?