Firstly, we would like to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
It has been a while since we have given an update on the site. However, some very significant updates have been made to the site recently that a regular visitor to the site may have noticed. To give a brief TL;DR:
- The ‘Texts’ section of the website has now become a database, searchable by name of work, year and author. Hopefully, this allows for greater accessibility in searching for particular texts. We hope also to, in the near future, make it searchable by language (English/Gaeilge).
- A ‘Latest Texts’ section which automatically shows pages descending from the most recently uploaded is now also available on the Homepage.
- The home page has been redesigned; the ‘Featured Authors’ section now has a dark green background, instead of a white background.
- Breadcrumbs have been added to the top of texts so it should appear like the following: ‘Home / name of author / name of text / name of chapter (if applicable)’.
- The ‘Categories’ section has been finally axed and will likely be incorporated into the ‘Texts’ page, once a more simplified categorisation of the texts can be established.
Christmas, as we’re sure it is for all of you, is a very special time of year for us. It was on the eve of Christmas two years ago that An Chartlann first went online.
An Chartlann is, of course, simply a website, a website out of millions of websites in the vast nothingness that is the internet. We are also a very niche website for a very particular audience, that is to say at most the seven million people that live on the island of Ireland, of course, in reality that number in practical terms is no more than the mere thousands. We appeal to a very particular discipline, that is the discipline of history, and its preservation in the digital age.
A lot of hard work nonetheless has gone into building up this small little site. We are not the first of our kind to create such a website, we have never claimed to be so. By its very nature, it is a derivative work, we are archiving and uploading the texts of dead men and women, whose works (if you look hard enough) are already online. We are certainly not archivists by profession. But what we have sought to achieve in the creation of An Chartlann was to make such texts readily accessible in the one place, rather than scattered to the four corners of the world wide web.
Irish history is best known to the average Irish person in the form of quotes and soundbites, some of which are quotes plucked out of thin air or attributed to the wrong person. There is barely any engagement with primary source material, certainly not through any fault of their own, but because there has been a general lack of willingness by most of the major institutions of this country to not only make readily accessible but also popularise such primary source material. Almost all of the old Irish history books available on Internet Archive have been uploaded by American or Canadian universities. We are very proud to say that this has been an entirely grassroots effort. We receive no funding, have no institutional support, and are beholden to nobody. This has been purely and simply a passion project.
An Chartlann has always been intended as a non-partisan and apolitical project, which pays no deference one way or the other to archiving any particular sect of Irish history; Home Rule or Republican, Pro-Treaty or Anti-Treaty, even Nationalism or Unionism. All such things, being as they are a part of Irish history, we have included on our site.
Some things in the past few years have stayed the same, much has however changed, but we hope that, with our very humble effort, this little website lives on after we are finished with it, that we will have created something useful and valuable enough that a passerby some day in the future will say to themselves, ‘Cool site.’
Go raibh maith agaibh agus Nollaig shona daoibh,