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Bonar Law Collection acquired by National Library of Ireland

15 Jan 2024

Tánaiste and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media welcome purchase of unique collection of maps, topographical prints and political cartoons for the State

An Tánaiste, Micheál Martin TD, and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, have today announced the acquisition by the State of the Bonar Law Collection, the most complete visual record of Ireland, in map and print form, ever assembled by an expert private collector. In extent, the Bonar Law Collection comprises close to 10,000 maps and approximately 9,000 prints, which include caricature prints and ballad sheets, many of which are unique to this collection.

Following discussions between the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and the Library of University College Cork (UCC), agreement has been reached and the NLI has entered into a loan-arrangement with UCC that allows the collection to be placed in UCC. The collection will be housed in the UCC Library and will be open to researchers and the general public.

Speaking in UCC, An Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, said:

“This remarkable and vast array of maps, sea charts and prints of Ireland represents the best collection of its kind anywhere in the world. It is unrivalled in the holdings of any public institution, including the British Library and the Library of Congress.

“I am delighted that we have been able to preserve this valuable asset. It offers a fascinating insight not only into Irish geographical history, but also into the changing political landscape of the last two hundred years, for the benefit of the State and for the people of Ireland.”

Minister Catherine Martin, said:

The collection represents a life’s work of study and expert knowledge of maps, especially maps of or relating to Ireland, and topographical prints. It is a testament to Andrew Bonar Law and his family, that such a unique historical record exists, and that it can now be preserved for the public good and will remain in Ireland. 

"I’m glad that my Department was able to fund this acquisition which will hopefully be available to view in its physical format following conservation assessment after 2025, with digital content available to view as early as this year.  I wish UCC and the NLI teams the very best with this exciting work.

Dr Audrey Whitty, Director of the National Library of Ireland, said:

“We are grateful to Minister Martin and her Department for the opportunity to make this acquisition, and we are glad to be collaborating with UCC, given their unrivalled scholarship and excellence in historical geography.

“It is a major priority for us is to grow and to further strengthen our connections across all of Ireland and we are delighted to enter into a loan-arrangement with UCC that allows the collection to be placed in Cork.

“The excellent condition of the material in the Bonar Law Collection means that it will be an essential part of the NLI collection of printed maps and topographical prints, and a foundation collection for future digitisation projects, programmes and exhibitions.”

Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC said:

“Through digital technology and innovative cartographic techniques, UCC research staff will activate the potential of the Bonar Law Collection to better understand how Ireland has changed, not just physically but socially, politically and ideologically through the ages. Through our award-winning Cork University Press Atlas Series and related documentaries, UCC has a strong track record in ensuring public engagement with Irish history and culture."

The collection will be housed in the Boole Library at UCC and can be accessed by researchers and members of the public by contacting UCC Library Special Collections and Archives team.

 

Faigheann Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann Baliúchán Bonar Law

Cuireann an Tánaiste agus an tAire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán fáilte roimh cheannach bhailiúchán uathúil léarscáileanna, priontaí topagrafacha agus cartúin pholaitiúla don Stát

Inniu d’fhógair an Tánaiste, Micheál Martin TD, agus an tAire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán, Catherine Martin TD, gur cheannaigh an Stát Bailiúchán Bonar Law, an taifead amhairc is iomláine d’Éirinn, i bhfoirm léarscáile agus chlóite, a chuir bailitheoir príobháideach saineolach le chéile. Tá beagnach 10,000 léarscáil agus thart ar 9,000 prionta i mBailiúchán Bonar Law, lena n-áirítear priontaí caracatúir agus bileoga bailéid, nach bhfuil go leor acu ach sa bhailiúchán seo amháin.

Tar éis comhráite idir Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann (LNÉ) agus Leabharlann Choláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh (COC), thángthas ar chomhaontú agus rinne LNÉ socrú iasachta le COC a cheadaíonn an bailiúchán a choinneáil i gCOC. Coimeádfar an bailiúchán i Leabharlann COC agus beidh sé oscailte do thaighdeoirí agus don phobal i gcoitinne.

Ag labhairt i gCOC, dúirt an Tánaiste Micheál Martin:

“Is é an cnuasach seo de léarscáileanna uathúla agus speisialta, cairteacha farraige, priontaí topagrafacha, agus go leor eile, an bailiúchán is fearr de léarscáileanna agus de phriontaí d’Éirinn áit ar bith ar domhan, agus sáraíonn sé bailiúcháin aon fhorais phoiblí, lena n-áirítear Leabharlann na Breataine agus Leabharlann na Comhdhála.

“Tá ríméid orm gur éirigh linn an áis luachmhar seo a chaomhnú, ina dtugtar léargas ní hamháin ar stair thíreolaíoch na hÉireann, ach ar na hathruithe polaitiúla le dhá chéad bliain nó níos faide siar, ar mhaithe leis an Stát agus le muintir na hÉireann.”

Dúirt an tAire Catherine Martin:

“Léirítear sa bhailiúchán saothar staidéir saoil agus saineolas ar léarscáileanna, go háirithe léarscáileanna d’Éirinn nó a bhaineann le hÉirinn, agus priontaí topagrafacha. Léiriú ar Andrew Bonar Law agus a theaghlach is ea an taifead stairiúil uathúil seo, agus is iontach an rud é gur féidir é a chaomhnú anois agus go bhfanfaidh sé in Éirinn ar mhaithe le leas an phobail.

Tá áthas orm go raibh mo Roinn in ann an ceannachán seo a mhaoiniú agus táthar ag súil go mbeidh sé ar fáil lena fheiceáil ina bhformáid fhisiciúil i ndiaidh measúnú caomhnaithe tar éis 2025, agus go gcuirfear ábhar digiteach ar fáil i mbliana. Guím gach rath ar COC agus ar fhoirne LNÉ leis an obair iontach seo.”

Dúirt an Dr Audrey Whitty, Stiúrthóir Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann:

“Táimid buíoch den Aire Martin agus dá Roinn as an deis seo a chur ar fáil, agus tá áthas orainn a bheith ag comhoibriú le COC, i bhfianaise a scoláireachta den chéad scoth agus a bhfeabhais sa tíreolaíocht stairiúil.

“Tugaimid tosaíocht dár gceangal a fhás agus a neartú tuilleadh ar fud na hÉireann agus tá lúcháir orainn socrú iasachta a dhéanamh le COC a cheadaíonn an bailiúchán a lonnú i gCorcaigh.

“Ciallaíonn riocht sármhaith an ábhair i mBailiúchán Bonar Law go mbeidh sé ina chuid riachtanach de bhailiúchán léarscáileanna clóite agus priontaí topagrafacha LNÉ, agus ina bhunchloch le haghaidh tionscadail dhigitithe, do chláir agus do thaispeántais amach anseo.”

Dúirt an tOllamh John O’Halloran, Uachtarán COC:

“Trí theicneolaíocht dhigiteach agus teicníochtaí cartagrafacha nuálaíocha, gníomhóidh foireann taighde COC acmhainneacht Bhailiúchán Bonar Law chun tuiscint níos fearr a fháil ar an gcaoi ar athraigh Éire, ní hamháin go fisiciúil ach go sóisialta, go polaitiúil agus ó thaobh na hidé-eolaíochta de le himeacht na mblianta. Trí Shraith Atlas Preasa Ollscoil Chorcaí a bhuaigh go leor duaiseanna agus cláir faisnéise a bhaineann léi, tá dea-theist ar COC maidir le rannpháirtíocht an phobail a chinntiú i stair agus cultúr na hÉireann.”

Beidh an bailiúchán lonnaithe i Leabharlann Boole i COC agus is féidir le taighdeoirí agus le baill den phobal rochtain a fháil air trí theagmháil a dhéanamh le foireann Bhailiúcháin Speisialta agus Chartlainne COC.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF

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