Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Irish Family and Local History Handbook - video & review

Last Sunday I was in Dublin for the highly successful Back to Our Past event. Whilst here I managed to catch up with Bob Blatchford, who along with wife Liz, was literally being swept off his feet in selling the new Irish Family and Local History Handbook ( I grabbed a few words with Bob on my trusty camcorder - so here's the man himself, and thena few words form me on my thoughts on the book...!

I have literally been reading this book non-stop since I returned from Ireland, as it is packed with all sorts of articles of great interest to me. I've contributed to the book myself, but rather than blab about what I've done for it, here's a quick run down on some of the articles that I've read that have really stood out for me.

By far the article that has impressed me most has been Joseph O' Neill's Famine, Fear and Fraternity, discussing the migration of the Irish to Liverpool and Manchester during the famine. Two words to sum it up - bloody hell. It's a really powerful account of the hardship, discrimination and more that they faced in their new home. I've come across the situation in Scotland, but never really read an English account, and this one is absolutely top notch.

Claire Barlow's article on John W. Dulanty, effectively Ireland's first ambassador to the UK, is another unputdownable account, whilst William Roulston's articles on general Irish research and on Ulster Presbyterianism are close to definitive, as is Ann McVeigh's guide to the goings on at PRONI. Another enjoyable account by Stephen Wade looks at Dublin Castle and the mystery of the stolen crown jewels! FindmyPast Ireland's Ross Weldon provides a good backdrop to the online collection, accompanied by a case study, whilst Jayne Shrimpton's article on photography in Ireland is a useful guide also. There are also many useful explanatory articles on other collections, including from Karel Kiely (RootsIreland), Audrey Collins (National Archives) and various others.

I'm actually enjoying this more than the UK edition, but only because so much more of it is relevant to my background. Definitely a worthy accompaniment to the UK run, and looking forward to the next one!


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