RENOWNED film-maker and environmentalist Éamon de Buitléar officially presented his personal archive to NUI Galway at an event held recently. This multi-media archive collection spans some 60 years of creativity and reflects a broad range of Éamon de Buitléar’s professional and personal concerns.
Among the features in the archive is Éamon’s documentary film output over the course of his career; key materials relating to the history of broadcasting and film production in Ireland; original recordings and unique insights into the revival of Irish traditional music in the 20th century with material relating to Seán Ó Riada, Ceoltóirí Chualann and Ceoltóirí Laighean; visual and audio records of interest in terms of historical environmental studies; culturally significant material within the de Buitléar family papers including manuscripts and A Dictionary of Irish Bird Names, compiled by An Coirnéal Éamon de Buitléar, former aide-de-camp to Dubhghlas de hÍde, the first President of Ireland.
NUI Galway will begin a major project to catalogue and to digitise this collection of national and international significance to facilitate access to scholars, researchers, students and the Gaeltacht community. Playing a key role in the Digital Repository of Ireland, the university is uniquely positioned to exploit the archive material and place it in a framework which will facilitate scholarly access and public engagement while working with partners such as RTÉ Archives to develop common protocols and best practice in the conservation of and public access to the national audio-visual heritage.
At the launch, Éamon de Buitléar said, “The collection contains my life’s work. The environment, the Irish language and our native music have been cornerstones of my work and I am happy that the archive as a whole will find a home in NUI Galway. It is important that the collection will be available and accessible, particularly to young people and also to the Gaeltacht community in Conamara.”
Work on this multi-media project will be carried out by NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library and Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and will process materials on film, video, audio tape and paper.
A unique aspect of the collection is the contextualisation, which has been provided by Éamon de Buitléar himself in the form of 20 hours of audio recordings describing the various facets of his work to project researcher, Micheál Holmes.
The collection will be accessible in the new Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building, which will open at the heart of the NUI Galway campus in 2013 and at the university’s Gaeltacht centres in Carna and at An Cheathrú Rua, where BA and MA programmes in Communications are taught through the medium of Irish.