The Heritage Council and iCan

Heritage Council of Ireland and iCan - 31 May 2023
promotional video on the expanding role of iCan
Kathy Roughan of the Clarecastle/Ballyea Cancelled Books Project, Christy Leyden of Clarecastle/Ballyea Heritage & Wildlife, Dr Martina Moloney, Chairperson of the Heritage Council
CBHWG Archives

The Heritage Council joins the National Museum of Ireland and participating local authorities in funding the digitisation of Ireland’s community archives, through iCAN

An event was held in Wicklow on 31 May 2023 to mark a new chapter for the award-winning Irish Community Archive Network (iCAN), the leading organisation championing and supporting community archives in Ireland.

Since 2009, iCAN has supported the creation of 33 online digital archives in Clare, Cork, Galway, Mayo and Wicklow, and there are three more currently in development. Over 180 volunteers are involved in managing and supporting the existing community archives.

iCAN was established by the National Museum of Ireland and has been developed in partnership with participating local authority Heritage Officers and with support from Creative Ireland.  The Heritage Council is joining iCAN as a new funding partner, which will facilitate an expansion of the initiative and the iCAN team. Together, they have ambitions to support the development of at least 80 digital archives across Ireland by 2028.

iCAN community archive websites are contributory, which means that anyone, anywhere in the world can contribute their photos, maps, letters, records, stories and documents to help build the collections. As well as documenting information about local heritage sites, traditions and well-known local people, the archives are also a valuable source for genealogy and ancestry projects.

Many of the archives also include oral histories and videos and valuable resources such as local ‘census’ documents dating from before the Famine, and visitors can access digital and searchable archives relating to specific graveyards, townlands, and even houses – which in turn gives a unique and valuable insight into family records.  One initiative, which is part of the Clarecastle & Ballyea Heritage archive, is called ‘Who’s been living in my house’ and is unique in Ireland in that it has digitised ‘cancelled books’ or valuation office records – allowing locals and visitors to search who lived in houses throughout the 49 townlands in Clarecastle and Ballyea, County Clare, between 1855 and 1970.



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