Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Historical portraits added online

Heritage minister Jimmy Deenihan said the collections told the story of Ireland

Portraits of some of Ireland's most revered historical figures are among tens of thousands of artefects opened to the world in a newly-expanded digital collection.

The engravings and drawings - which include Robert Emmet, Theobald Wolfe Tone and Daniel O'Connell - are part of a revealing series first catalogued by librarian Rosalind Elmes, and named in her honour.

It pulls together 3,000 images of famous - and infamous - figures from Irish history up to the end of the 19th century.

For the first time, it has been added to the National Library's digital collection, which is freely available online after years of work on the project.

Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the collections told the story of Ireland.

"The National Library of Ireland holds collections that are of great national significance," he said.

"The newly digitised collections chart the story of Ireland and are a wonderful piece of our cultural and literary heritage which will now be preserved for and made accessible to the people of Ireland for generations."

Also included in the latest additions to the digital collection is a portrait of the infamous Ellen Byrne, who was tried for her husband's murder in 1842 after his badly decomposed body was found in their shared bed.

Photographs and letters of 1916 leader Tom Clarke and his wife Kathleen as well posters documenting the suffragette movement are among the tranche made available at www.nli.ie.

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