It has been just over six months since we officially launched An Chartlann on December 22 of last year. Since then, we have made impressive progress and the reception the website has received has been nothing short of remarkable. It is our belief that the website shall continue to go from strength to strength, and it is to you we are indebted to for the continuous support that has been kindly shown to this project.
It has been touched upon briefly in our welcome post to the website our long-term intentions with the website, yet not to any great extent. It shall be the purpose of this post to provide a greater insight on our long-term goals to build up and improve An Chartlann, our current successes and areas in which we wish to improve.
The website was founded upon a concept that several of us had independently mused on before co-ordinating our efforts in creating the website, the establishment of a free and centralised archive of writings on Irish nationalism. Irish nationalist writings, although widely available under the public domain, were often found to be scattered across various sites, some free, others behind a paywall. It was also the case that although many prominent and more well-known nationalists (Pearse, Connolly, Tone) and their writings could be accessed with relative ease, more obscure writers and their works were often not as easily accessible. Centralisation and free access are thus two vital and absolute principles in how we want the website to be run.
We were also guided by a third principle, preservation. In preserving works, we preserve in a sense the legacy of the author, which is often defined by the published works that they leave behind, the ideas they propound, the philosophy they articulate, the strain of thought to which they belong. To unearth previously unknown works of authors, whether famous or obscure, has been of great importance to us, for it not only helps to preserves the author’s legacy, but regenerates and adds to their legacy. We thus encourage all those who read our works to download and store our PDFs, wherever available.
Our primary goal has been in the last six months apart from expanding the archive has been to grow the reach of the website via social media.
Our social media presence on Twitter has steadily grown to over 600 followers, and we have been incredibly pleased by the calibre and variety of followers we have received, from academics, to teachers, to county councils, to fellow history accounts, to museums and most importantly, the ordinary public. We are also looking to expand our social media presence to other platforms, very recently we launched an Instagram account where we are now active. We also have a presence on Internet Archive, where we upload some of our PDFs to help promote the site to a greater audience.
MOST POPULAR WORKS
The archive itself is steadily growing in size, our recent estimate counts at least 265 texts and 58 authors. 22 texts (around 8%) are either monolingual or bilingual Irish-language texts, a figure and percentage which we hope to increase over time. Our most popular authors by visitors are as follows:
Our five most popular works by visitors have been:
- The Political Writings and Speeches of Pádraig Pearse by Pádraig Pearse
- An Táin Bo Cuailgne, translated by Lucy Winifred Faraday
- The Philosophy of Irish Ireland by D.P Moran
- Dispatches: Letters Between Ireland and Spain by Hugh O’Neill (Aodh Ó Néill)
- For God and Spain: The Truth About The Spanish War by Aodh de Blácam
Our most popular Irish-language texts of all-time by visitors are:
- Songs of the Irish Rebels by Pádraig Pearse
- Filíocht an Phiarsaigh by Pádraig Pearse
- Litir Chuig Mac Cochláin by Aodh Ó Néill
- Dornán Dán by Aodh de Blácam
- Litir Chuig Sagart Anaithnid by Rós Ní Dhochartaigh
We have big releases scheduled for the coming weeks and months and we also hope to gradually increase our output in releasing works.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
There is still undoubtedly a long way to go. Much more texts to archive, much more to be done regarding website accessibility, much more to be done regarding growing the reach of the website. Nonetheless, we are incredibly proud for the progress that has been made in the first six months. Let us hope for even better in six months’ time.