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Irish Times Notes

Church of Ireland Notes from ‘The Irish Times’

Saturday 11 August  2012

Archives Awareness Campaign
Next Thursday the Archives and Records Association Ireland, the professional body for archivists in Ireland, will launch its annual archives awareness campaign. Although the Church of Ireland is not specifically involved, the campaign presents an opportunity for the Church to reflect on its archival responsibilities and to assess how well it has met them.

Through an accident of history, having been the established church from the Reformation until the late 19th century, the Church of Ireland has inherited responsibility for an important body of records, among which are medieval diocesan and cathedral cartularies, parish registers and vestry records, architectural drawings and maps. The care and custody of such materials has become largely the responsibility of the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin, which manages records of 1040 parishes, chapels of ease and chaplaincies, 25 cathedrals, 25 dioceses, and the non–current records of the Church’s central government – the General Synod and the Representative Church Body.

Purpose built storage accommodation with automatic fire detection and extinguishing systems, trained archivists to catalogue the records, and free reading rooms in which to consult them, clearly indicate that the Church of Ireland has sought to meet its archival responsibilities and, in a challenging economic climate, continues to do so. Records continue to be transferred from local custody to the Library and new technology is constantly being harnessed to make these materials available to the widest possible audience. The availability of parish registers from the city of Dublin and counties Carlow and Kerry on the free government website, www.irishgenealogy.ie has enormously increase access to these records and it is hoped that this project will be extended to other counties. The first phase of a similar website initiative for the Church’s collection of architectural drawings of churches, funded by the Esme Mitchell Trust and the Environmental Fund, is almost complete and it is hoped to launch this shortly. Earlier this year recently the RCB Library launched ‘Archive of the Month‘ which through the medium of the Church of Ireland website, seeks to introduce the archival and manuscript collections to a wider audience.

Yet there remains much to do. There are still collections in local custody which ought to be transferred to safe storage in the Library, there are collections which remain to be catalogued and others which would benefit from more detailed cataloguing, there is much that could be digitized, and there is much which needs to be conserved. Most pressing is the need for additional storage accommodation for the principal archival responsibility of the Church of Ireland to ensure the physical preservation of its archives.

Today (Saturday) Mallow union of parishes will hold its Annual Parish Fete in the grounds of St James’ church beginning at 11am.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning RTÉ will televise a Parish Eucharist from St Ann’s church, Dawson Street, Dublin, while in Christ Church cathedral, the Eucharist will be sung by the Dublinia Consort. As part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival, the winner of the 2011 Pipeworks organ competition, Joon–Ho Park, will give a recital in St Canice’s cathedral.

In St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, the Anglican Choral of Ottawa will sing the services next week, beginning on Monday

The series of lunchtime summer recitals continues in St Columb’s cathedral, Derry, where on Thursday the performers will be Svyati, the acclaimed organ and cello duo from the UK.

On Friday at lunchtime, ‘Summer Music in Sandford Parish Church’ will be provided by Niamh McCormack (soprano) and Patrice Keegan (organ) who will perform works by Bach, Vierne and Sweelinck


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