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Ireland's Creative Legacy

Collections reflecting the imagination and innovation of creative artists in the areas of architecture, theatre, craft, and publishing include the archives of the Harry Clarke Studios, makers of stained glass.

Harry Clarke windows are still a visible part of the fabric of Ireland – most famously in Bewley's café in Grafton Street – as well as in churches in almost every parish in the country. The Clarke Stained Glass Studios archives includes a complete business archive as well as over one thousand preparatory art works by the crafts people who worked in the studios. Two other 20th-century business archives complement the Clarke material, both founded by women; the Dun Emer Crafts Studio was founded in 1902 by Evelyn Gleeson with Elizabeth and Susan Yeats. They produced woven carpets, tapestry, embroidery, and fine-art printing and they trained women in these crafts. The Cuala Industries, which was an offshoot of the Dun Emer Guild, was established in 1908 and is best known as a private press which exerted significant influence in the Celtic Revival of the early 20th century.

The Library's theatrical material forms a significant strand in its holdings. It ranges from the correspondence of J.M. Synge and Samuel Beckett about performances of their own works, to full theatre collections from the Pike Theatre (who put on the first Irish performance of Waiting for Godot), and the award-winning Rough Magic Theatre Company. There is also a full collection of material from the student drama group, Players.

Integral to Ireland's international reputation as a producer of great literature, is the reputation for the making of great theatre. Interest in this goes beyond the biography of the author or the construction of the dramatic texts – students of drama need to be permitted to see behind the scenes. Digitising theatrical collections allows researchers to see the entire creative process as well as the administration behind it; it enables investigation into the relationships between artists and other theatre personnel, and between and among theatrical companies. Allowing free access to large collections of theatrical archives is frequently not possible in a physical reading room; easy digital access can therefore teach much valuable knowledge about the circumstances in which great performance art comes into being.
The increased discoverability of these extremely well-known collections will remove any barriers to their use. As they will be accessible both inside and outside the academy, Trinity's commitment to inclusivity and life-long learning is facilitated.