The database of A Directory of Sources for Women’s History in Ireland was made available on a CD-ROM and published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission in 1999. Due to advances in technology the CD has become obsolete. In mid 2022 we approached both the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Mná 100 unit in the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media with a proposal to upgrade the database and make it available via the website of the Commission. We are very grateful for the financial support provided that allowed us to employ an IT consultant and a researcher to carry through the upgrade. The team on this project was smaller than the original and the work was at times demanding and arduous. Our first thanks go to Dr Frances Nolan who, in dividing long record lists, made the information more amenable for use on the website. She ensured that repositories were updated, changes in address were noted, and website and email addresses were added. Frances checked that records that had been moved were linked to new repositories, ensured dates were accurate, that keywords were added, and she proofed and edited. She also worked closely with our IT consultant to shape the website.

We were also very fortunate to have had the services of Mr Niall O’Leary our IT consultant who has literally created the website. His commitment to the project was heartening, and he was always ready to answer all kinds of questions, both complex and simple, relating to the creation of the website and any issues on the database that arose in the construction of the website.

Dr Cathy Hayes, as the administrator of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, was officially our contact point, who facilitated meetings and provided financial administrative support to the project and liaised with Mná 100. But she was much more than a facilitator and was full of ideas about how the website might be constructed, how it might look, as well as engaging in very practical support such as ensuring the success of migrating the database from its development location to the IMC website.

Professor Mary O’Dowd has been involved with this resource since the 1990s when she sat on the management board of the Women’s History Project. She has been instrumental in securing funding for this website and has contributed in particular to the practical work of managing the project and standardising the keywords used on the website.

We would also like to thank Ms Kate Nevin, Project Manager of Mná 100, working within the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media; Professor John McCafferty, Chair of the Irish Manuscripts Commission for supporting the project and Dr Ciara Breathnach, a member of the Commission who proved very supportive in suggesting possible sources of funding.

There are other individuals who provided us with assistance when we were updating the database and we have thanked them in the comments section of the relevant repository. It is on the work of the original team of the Women’s History Project that this resource has been built. The staff who compiled the original Directory were, Dr Catherine Cox, Dr Leeann Lane, and Professor Diane Urquhart. Assistance was also provided by Dr Jean Agnew, Sarah Costley, Dr Orla Fitzpatrick and Rosemary Raughter.

The original project was initiated by the board of management of the Women’s History Project. Its members were Caitriona Crowe, Mary Daly, Declan Kiberd, Margaret MacCurtain, Mary O’Dowd, Rosemary Raughter and Bernadette Whelan.

Maria Luddy
January 2023