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Exploring The Library’s Databases – Research Treasure

Last term the Library was pleased to announce the purchase of 14 new electronic resources supporting multiple disciplines across the Arts and Humanities. We thought we would take a closer look at some of the collections, starting with the Gale Primary Sources, British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800–1900 and Part III: 1741–1950, which provides 23 publications (nearly 1.4 million pages) from across the United Kingdom and Ireland to reflect the social, political, and cultural events of the times. Link – A-Z Databases: british newspapers

How does this archive help researchers?

Carefully selected, these collections of newspapers represent a range of perspectives, both national and provincial; some aiming for objective coverage, some as publications directly tied to certain perspectives or allegiances. Many of the newspapers in this archive have not been digitised before, allowing researchers to construct new and original analyses by offering voices that have been marginalised in previous discourse.

Sourced from the extensive holdings of the British Library, this collection covers well-known historic events, cultural icons, sporting events, the arts, culture, and other national pastimes. At a time when newspapers were emerging as a prerequisite medium of commercially minded societies and major cities, their pages — from articles to advertisements — provide researchers with a unique, first-hand perspective.

National and provincial newspapers covering the development of Modern Ireland

This archive also covers major events that have shaped modern-day Ireland, across all areas of society.

Although there were fewer restrictions, and they were not subject to the Stamp Acts, the growth of Irish newspapers was slow compared to England throughout the eighteenth century. Many of the earliest publications originated in Dublin, and a provincial press was slower to emerge. From the early 1730s, the Irish press began to develop its own tone as it moved away from adapting and reproducing news from outside of Ireland, and by 1760 there were more than 160 newspapers, dominated by Dublin. This archive begins at the point where the Irish press had started to become ‘Irish’, rather than an extension of the English press; and when provincial and politically motivated publications began to increase in quality and prominence.

The social and legal structures of eighteenth-century Ireland meant that the press was dominated by Protestant businesses until the early nineteenth century when a ‘Catholic press’ emerged. As a result, there was “a limitation on the circulation possibilities of the newspapers, and [Protestant dominance] tended to dictate an editorial content that stressed exclusivity and conservatism”. As the press expanded, a greater variety of newspapers reached the market, bringing with them a greater variety of voices and perspectives. Emergent social, economic, political, and religious ideologies that combined to form the underlying allegiances and divisions in Ireland through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries generated their own publications, which are represented among the selected titles in this archive.

Among the newspapers that have been collected together, researchers can track topics such as:

o          Protestantism and Catholicism in Ireland, including the Protestant ascendency, hidden Ireland, Unionism, and Catholic emancipation

o          Social and economic issues, such as the experience and consequences of famines, the ramifications of the Land Wars, and the Irish National Land League

o          Political developments and divides, including the emergence of movements such as Nationalism, Fenians, Parnellism; the debates around Home Rule and the ‘Irish Question’; and emergent ideologies like Redmondism

o          Cultural shifts and identity building, such as the Irish Diaspora and the issues resulting from mass emigration, and the Irish Literary Revival

o          Conflicts and their consequences, including the 1916 Easter Rising, Irish Independence, partition, the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Civil War, and the impact of the First World War

Follow this link to the Library webpage and A-Z guide of electronic resources. If you have questions or need any guidance as to how to navigate these resources please talk to your Subject Librarian.