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Clare Local Studies Project

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FÁS Trainees Bring 60 Volumes of Local History to the Community
Irish Times, 11th November 2000

FÁS trainees working on a local history project in county Clare were not prepared for the emotions they felt when reading first-hand accounts of the Famine. Their work, which included perusing the minutes of meetings of a workhouse board of governors, has resulted in a presentation of 18,000 photocopied pages of source material, bound in 60 volumes, to the county council.

[Trainees from the] Clare Local Studies Project (CLASP) set about compiling the volumes with primary source material taken from surveys, maps, newspaper cuttings, and [other] works. A long forgotten Bord Fáilte survey from 1948 provided rich pickings. So far, about 90 trainees have worked on the source book project since it began in 1995.

CLASP's mission statement is to develop awareness of and increase access to sources for local studies. Its other main activity is in publishing books...such as Mary John Knott's Two Months at Kilkee... [and] The Stranger's Gaze - Travels in County Clare 1534-1950.

Three sets of each volume [of local sources] have been made. One will go to the county's Local Studies Centre, another will go to the branch library nearest to the area surveyed and the third will be kept by CLASP...

Much of the impetus for the project came from the widespread interest people in the area express in local history and especially genealogy. Local Studies courses have been run in conjunction with NUI Galway and UCC, and the University of Limerick runs a masters course in local history.

A further eight volumes are being compiled, providing a valuable reference tool for students and researchers and bringing the number of areas surveyed to 27...

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