From the 1930s until 1953 one veteran of the Irish Revolution (1912-23), Ernie O’Malley, interviewed over 450 of his former comrades about their experiences. Although deposited in UCD Archives since the 1970s, those notebooks have been largely inaccessible to scholars principally because of Ernie O’Malley’s impenetrable handwriting. As a result, one of the richest sources on the life and afterlife of the Irish Revolution has been underused and largely overshadowed by other accounts.
Because O’Malley’s uniquely gritty, graphic and atmospheric interviews will enhance the understanding of revolutionary and post-revolutionary Ireland, and because those notebooks also provide excellent sources for scholars engaged in wider comparative studies of political violence and civil war, a team of two editors, Dr Anne Dolan, Associate Professor in Modern Irish History, Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Eve Morrison, Canon Murray Fellow in Irish History at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with UCD Archives, decided to produce the first full scholarly edition of the notebooks.
That’s what they say about their work with Transkribus:
“Faced with a daunting, decade-long undertaking, we consulted our colleague Dr David Brown (Trinity College Dublin) about Transkribus. He has used Transkribus to marvellous effect on early modern manuscripts. If Transkribus could tackle O’Malley’s hand it would fundamentally change the prospects for our work, and it did. Our first model produced results beyond our wildest expectations. Transkribus transcribed over 120 notebooks in less than two weeks, saving us several years of work. We now have a full first draft of c.3,000,000 words to edit and prepare for publication.
The success we have had with Transkribus has allowed us to expand the scope of our project. As well making the transcriptions freely available online alongside digital copies of the notebooks through the UCD Digital Library the Irish Manuscripts Commission will also publish a full annotated edition over multiple volumes. Our use of Transkribus means that this invaluable source for the history of modern Ireland will no longer go overlooked.”
On this site you can find more information about projects of the UCD-Archives: http://www.ucd.ie/archives