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Monuments of County Clare -
a National Digitisation Strategy Phase Two Project

County Clare has the highest number of archaeological artifacts of any county in Ireland to the extent that the county has been described as one vast open air museum. These monuments are visible and tangible entities which provide access to the history and archaeology of the county. In May 2005, Clare County Library proposed to provide descriptions, explanations and visual representations of these artifacts on its website for local communities, students, researchers, tourists, the Clare diaspora and the history/archaeology community throughout the world, and sought and obtained funding for such a project from the National Digitisation Strategy (Phase Two) in June 2005.

The National Digitisation Strategy Phases One and Two implement the recommendations of the report of the 2002/3 Cultural Heritage Project Our Cultural Heritage: a strategy for action for public libraries.

The National Digitisation Strategy is a two year programme to:
- develop digitisation expertise in the public library staff of local authorities
- to establish a digitisation unit in each library authority
- to put in place local websites illustrating the history and culture of local towns and cities
- to use the digitised content to stimulate ongoing use of the Internet within each community.

Digitisation grants from the Information Society Fund were made available by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to library authorities, to enable the development of significant online content and digitisation expertise.

Clare County Library was delighted to be able to participate in this initiative with its ‘Monuments of County Clare’ project.
Access to the project is through the website’s Archaeology page which has been developed to accommodate the project. The monuments themselves have been broken down into categories, using Dúchas classification, with links provided to each category. Categories include:

Abbeys, Altars, Batteries, Cairns, Castles, Cemetery Cairns, Chapels, Churches, Cliff-edge Forts, Convents, Crannogs, Ecclesiastical Enclosures, Friaries, Graveyards, Holy Wells, Promontory Forts, Ringforts, Towers and Bawns, Tower Houses, Wayside Cairns, Wells, Hillforts, Court Tombs, Megalithic Tombs, Portal Tombs and Wedge-tombs.

A list of the monuments in the county in each category is available by clicking on each category link. A web page has been created for each individual monument, containing the Monument Classification (Category), its Townland, Parish and Monument Number, with links to material on the website concerning that monument. For example, clicking on ‘Holy Wells’ on the Archaeology page brings you to a list of all Holy Wells in Clare. From here, you can click on individual Holy Wells, e.g clicking on St. Michael’s Well, Kilmihil gives the Classification, Townland, Parish and Monument Number of St. Michael’s Well, and links to all text and images of St. Michael’s Well contained in the various archaeological works on the library’s website.

The archaeological information linked to through these web pages was sourced in various ways:

Clare County Library’s website was searched for existing text and photographic material relating to each monument. This material was gathered together on that monument’s web page.

Material which was already typed-up, but not on the website, was prepared for online publication, and linked to from each monument web page. Two major resources were made available in this way:

Further relevant information was sourced at Clare County Library’s Local Studies Centre, Ennis, and permission sought and granted for material which was under copyright. This material was typed up, prepared for the website, and links were created to this new material. These resources are:

Clare County Library would like to thank the following for their help and support:
The Information Society Fund through The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, for funding;
National Monuments Section, Dept. of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government (formerly Dúchas) for permission to use its datasets;
Mr. William Gerrard Ryan for permission to use his M.A. thesis, Archaeological and historical monuments in the Barony of Bunratty Upper;
Mr. Paul M. Kerrigan for permission to use extracts from his book, Castles and fortifications in Ireland 1485-1945;
Clare Local Studies Project for typing The Ordnance Survey Letters of County Clare by John O’Donovan and Eugene Curry and The archaeology of the Burren: prehistoric forts and dolmens in North Clare by T.J. Westropp

Participants in this project:
Frances O’Gorman: data sourcing and project co-ordinator;
Elaine Saunders: typing, proof-reading and image scanning;
Ciara Barry: proof-reading and monument web pages data population;
Rainer Kosbi: basic monument web pages creation;
Liam O'Boyle: monument web pages style development and project staff training;
Maureen Comber: preparation of project material for online publication;
Anthony Edwards: design of project web-pages and structure of online publication;
Jackie Dermody-O’Brien: monument web pages data population;
Connie Guthrie: monument web pages data population

Clare County Library,
December 2005

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