Arlene Foster

extraORDINARYwomen: Supporting Communities (1965-today) is a ground-breaking digital resource exploring roles and attitudes of women in Northern Ireland during a momentous period of recent history and political and socioeconomic change.

Fully searchable culturally and historically significant collections of the Linen Hall Library have been digitised to elucidate and celebrate the lived experience of women. Fascinating online exhibitions, insightful creative responses, and inspiring oral histories capture contemporary issues affecting women of all generations in Northern Ireland.

A wealth of archival materials, posters, artefacts, and objects from the Linen Hall Library’s Political, Theatre and Performing Arts, and Literary collections which document women’s movements for social change, trailblazing grassroots activism, and momentous engagement with politics have been selected, indexed, and preserved through digitisation. Numerous community archives are discoverable, along with inspirational women’s literary and theatrical outputs, and unique and enlightening oral histories from a wide range of women across Northern Ireland.

The Divided Society project digitised a significant section of the Linen Hall’s Northern Ireland Political Collection, concentrating on periodicals and posters from the 1990s. The decade that saw Nelson Mandela freed and elected President of South Africa, the break out of the first Gulf War, Harry Potter exploding onto bookshelves, and the appearance of the Euro was also the fourth decade of the ‘troubles’. A historically significant period of momentous change, the resource covers peace talks, the Downing Street Agreement, ceasefires, all party talks, and negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement, and subsequent referendum. The full text of hundreds of journals published by government, political parties, community groups, pressure groups, charities, and paramilitary organisations, comprising thousands of individual issues are digitised and searchable, along with posters illustrating the key themes of the period. Freely available in the UK and Ireland (and by subscription to the rest of the world), the resource includes audio and video galleries, essays by leading academics, and educational toolkits.

Troubled Images

All the major events from the ‘troubles’ period are explored in Troubled Images, a chronological interactive history textbook for use in secondary schools. Written by Dr Gordon Gillespie in conjunction with the Linen Hall Library and developed in association with the Nerve Centre, this interactive resource has been designed for the revised curriculum at Key Stage 3 but also serves as a general introduction to this period in the collective history of Northern Ireland. The Troubled Images text is highly illustrated with colourful and thought-provoking images from the Linen Hall Library’s Northern Ireland Political Collection.

NI Literary Archive 

Digitised archives of a number of writers who were born or grew up in Northern Ireland, the freely accessible Northern Ireland Literary Archive begins in the late 19th century with the work of Sir Samuel Ferguson, and includes letters, manuscripts, and typescripts of John Boyd, Robert Greacen, Sam Hanna Bell, John Hewitt, Joan Lingard, Louis MacNeice, Stewart Parker and WR Rodgers.

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Digital Theatre Archive

A digitised selection of material from the Linen Hall’s Theatre & Performing Arts archive, the Digital Theatre Archive includes everything from printed plays of the 18th century, to a large collection of the programmes of numerous theatres, including the Grand Opera House and Lyric Theatre, and local theatre companies. Highly visual and illustrative with turn page technology this rich resource is invaluable to anyone with an interest in the theatre.

Postcards Ireland

The Linen Hall Library’s collection of postcards contains more than 7,000 images which capture Ireland in bygone days and give a sense of what life was like in villages and towns over one hundred years ago. Topographical cards dominate the collection and almost every city, town and village in Ireland is featured. Social development in urban Ireland is also captured in postcards depicting street scenes which illustrate the growth of cities such as Belfast, Dublin and Cork. From these historic images we can trace changes in architecture, fashion and transport. Alongside these scenic cards other visual aspects of everyday life flourish. Housing, local industries, sport and leisure are all covered and significant historical events are represented in a series of political cards. A selection of humorous and specialty cards depict a lighter side to life and complete what is truly one of the most interesting and comprehensive collections of its type. The digitised cards can be browsed, or purchased.

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The Linen Hall Library is the perfect, central location, for events and meetings of all types. Find out how to book a room for your next corporate or private function.