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Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Cathedral Archives Conference

When the Irish government first mooted the idea of instituting a programme of events to mark the  ‘Decade of Centenaries’ from 1912 to 1922, some voices expressed reservations about the prospect. However, as the Decade comes to a close there seems to be a general recognition that the project, in which the Church of Ireland participated through the establishment of the Historical Centenaries Working Group, has had positive results.  Not the least of these is ‘After 2022’, a government–supported enterprise in which the RCB Library and Christ Church Cathedral are participating and which seeks to re–constitute, ‘virtually’, with the collaboration of an international group of repositories, the enormous collection of records that was lost when in the initial stages of the Civil War the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts was severely damaged.

While much of Church of Ireland importance was destroyed, some archival material was, thankfully, preserved in cathedral archives throughout the country. Maura Tallon, writing in 1959 in An Leabharlann (the journal of the Library Association of Ireland) gave some idea of this archival treasure trove, and while since then much has been done to ensure the proper care of such material by transferring it to other institutions, a number of cathedrals retain important historic documents.

Several such cathedrals are members of CALCA, the Cathedral Archives , Libraries and Collections Association, a British body that has welcomed Irish members. Indeed CALCA held its Annual General Meeting  together with a three–day conference at Christ Church, Dublin, in 2013, and Dr Kenneth Milne, representing Christ Church,  attended this year’s AGM which was held in June at the newly–commissioned Lambeth Palace Library in London.

During the AGM, chaired by the Dean of Rochester, the  Librarian and Archivist at Lambeth expressed the hope that the new Library, a large and most impressive building in the Palace grounds, would now have the facilities to mount exhibitions and other events that would  introduce the general public to the riches of the Church of England’s  archival heritage. This of course, has an interest for other member Churches of the Anglican Communion, not least the Church of Ireland. Because of the Church of Ireland’s place in Irish history, not least having been the Established (State) Church from Reformation times until mid–nineteenth century, the RCB Library has, like Lambeth, an awareness of the relevance of its rich collection to the wider community and ‘Outreach’ is very much part of its ‘mission statement’ as illustrated by its ‘Archive of the month’ series, its exhibitions, its publications programme and the welcome it extends to readers and researchers from all over the world.

Today (Saturday) the Dean of St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, Dr William Morton, will host the annual Dean’s Gift Day, which this year will seek funds to conserve the windows in the south porch.  The Dean will be in the cathedral from 11am until 1pm to receive gifts which may also be made via www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/deans–gift–day

On Monday evening at 7.30pm Davenport First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir from Iowa will give a concert in All Saints church, Carysfort Avene, Blackrock, Co.Dublin, with a retiring collection in aid of the Blackrock Hospice.

In the series of lunchtime concerts in St Mary’s cathedral, Limerick, on Tuesday at 1.15pm Rachel Talbot, accompanied by David O’Shea on piano, will song songs by Cesar Franck.

On Friday, at 1.10pm Summer Music in Sandford continues on Sandford parish church, Ranelagh, where pianist, Stan O’Beirne, will play music by Haydn, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

Church of Ireland Notes

Published in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times

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