The Irish Newspaper Archives is a digital collection of 32 Irish and Irish-American newspapers published between the mid-18th century and the present day. It is presented through INA, a digitization and website company affiliated with National MicroMedia Ltd, a microform publisher and service provider based in Ireland.
The INA collection holds over 2 million pages from newspapers published throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland—and one title from the United States—offering insight into a wide range of economic, historical, and political topics. Four of the offered titles date from the 18th century; sixteen titles span chronological ranges of over a century, with the majority of their individual issues available for online viewing. Geographically, the counties of Ireland are adequately represented, as publications from Dublin are supplemented by smaller, regional papers from Connacht, Kilkenny, Donegal, and Kerry. Papers available from Northern Ireland include The Ulster Herald and Belfast Newsletter. These, as well as the journal of the Irish-American community in Butte, Montana (The Butte Independent) lend additional perspectives regarding events occurring within the Republic of Ireland.
Topics of interest vary according to regional and chronological perspective. Titles from the capitol, such as the Irish Independent, devote equal space to national and international issues, with front pages providing an array of commentary on Irish, European, and American concerns. The Irish Farmers Journal, by contrast, covers the supply, demand, and pricing of agricultural products, providing a unique context to the political, social, and economic upheavals of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.
Pivotal events in Irish history are covered from a variety of angles, depending on the locations and political leanings of each newspaper. The INA website suggests moments of interest in their “browse” function, such as The Easter Rising (April 16, 1921), and the birth of the Free State of Ireland later that year. Five of the digitized publications include accounts of the Great Famine of the mid-19th century, and the Troubles (the Northern Ireland conflict of the late-20th century) are well-documented in many of the titles. Genealogists may also find use in the extensive listings of births, marriages, and deaths contained within most of the publications.
Though materials contained in this collection were originally published to meet the needs of a range of disparate audiences, INA’s chief value today is to provide primary source material regarding significant Irish historical events. The seminal moments of Irish statehood, for instance, are assessed and described by journals both in Ireland and Ulster, allowing for a comparison and contrast of perspectives from differing political standpoints. Scholars of the mid-19th century famine may find value in titles such as the Freeman’s Journal or the Anglo-Celt, both of which offer accounts and editorials from this time period.
Microfilm Sources and Future Collection Plans
The digitization and addition of Irish newspapers to the database by INA is an ongoing process, and the collection has grown over the past few years to include several new titles. The publishers expect 30 new titles—currently held on microfilm—to be digitized and made available online in the coming year. The new material will include out of print newspapers and political journals as well as trade directories from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. See Appendix INA List, for a full list.
Archive was originally a repository of microfilm, and functioned as such for several decades before digitization of these materials began. The FAQ section of the INA website suggests that all current titles, as well as those to be digitized in the near future, are from the holdings of INA.