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Irish Arts Festivals Archive: Introduction

Purpose

Irish Arts Festivals Archive logo

The Irish Arts Festivals Archive captures and preserves the rich and diverse landscape of festivals held across Ireland.

With festival archives being added every year, this central repository will become a resource of national scope and significance, ensuring current and future generations can appreciate and better understand the ecology of festivals across Ireland.

Festival collections, in the Irish Arts Festivals Archive are held in UCD Archives, and are part of the UCD Heritage Collection.

Having your festival represented in the archive

The Irish Arts Festivals Archive, which is an ongoing initiative of UCD Library, includes materials from current and past arts festivals in Ireland. We are happy to talk to festival organisers based anywhere on the island of Ireland about the possibility of adding their archives to this central repository.

Many festival archives are held in unsuitable conditions - in multiple locations or in temporary storage or domestic settings. These archives often contain fragile materials that are at extreme risk of being damaged or lost over time. 

To have your festival archive preserved and included in the Irish Arts Festivals Archive contact ursula.byrne@ucd.ie, archives@ucd.ie.

The UCD Cultural Heritage Collection

UCD holds a rich variety of heritage collections made up of unique materials spanning four centuries of Irish history and culture, encompassing such diverse subjects as literature, Gaelic language and folklore, music, genealogy and political history.

The majority of archival collections are held in UCD Archives. Literary archives are held in UCD Special Collections.

Archive News

New Collections

With the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, progress on building the archive was like many other projects shelved. Over recent months with the easing of restrictions, IAFA has begun to grow again.​ ​

The following archives were placed into the care of UCD​ ​Archives in 2021:  Strokestown International Poetry Festival; Ennis Street Arts Festival; St Patrick’s Festival;  and Carlow Arts Festival (formerly Eigse Festival).

Festival booklets

​IAFA Advisory Group ​

To help steer the archive, its founders Dr Lucy Collins, Ursula Byrne, Dr David Teevan and Kate Manning reached out to Dr Bernadette Quinn (TU Dublin), and Dr Victoria Durrer (UCD) inviting them to join an IAFA advisory group. The group that met for the first time, on August 26th 2021.

Irish Arts Festivals - a bibliography

Up-to-date information on publications about or relating to arts festivals in Ireland. Updated quarterly.

Please let us know if you are aware of any document that is not included in the listing contact: ursula.byrne@ucd.ie.

Arts Festivals in Ireland: a bibliography

Why bring festival archives together?

Creating a central repository for festival archives will ensure they are preserved and made accessible to the public. These arts festivals are key platforms for cultural expression and creative output and contributors to both the financial prosperity and identity of communities.

This collection will provide researchers from multiple disciplines, including art history, cultural studies, history or geography, with a single destination where they can have access to the extraordinarily rich world of late 20th century and early 21st century Irish arts festivals.

The Arts Council’s Strategy 2016 – 2025 regards the arts as ‘the hallmark of our creativity as a people’. Festival archives represents a unique insight into the distinctive power of the arts and their capacity to express the histories and experiences of Irish people. The links established between Irish Festivals and UCD present opportunities to build new partnerships between the arts and third-level education in Ireland into the future.

Partnerships

Launched in 2020, the Irish Arts Festivals Archive is created and managed by UCD Archives and UCD Library.

David Teevan, Arts Consultant and Researcher, has been pivotal to developing the vision of this archive which will help strengthen direct links between teaching and research, and foster popular interest in festival organisation and arts initiatives.

UCD Library has worked in partnership with the UCD School of English, Drama and Film, and collaborated with the Irish Arts Council to develop this collection.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with festival organisers, County Councils, and community and voluntary organisations.

We look forward to developing new partnerships as part of this initiative.

Preserving Digital Archives - UCD Digital Library

UCD Library provides national leadership in capturing and preserving digital expressions of our culture and our heritage.

The UCD Digital Library holds the “Data Seal of Approval”, an accreditation, recognised by the European Commission, which ensures that a sustainable infrastructure is provided for these cultural heritage collections. The expertise of Library staff helps to ensure that these materials are available for teaching and research both at home and abroad, increasing public engagement and creating new opportunities for artists.