Our speaker this year, Dr Jacinta Prunty, is an editorial board member of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas, a research project of the Royal Irish Academy. She is Head of the History Department at Maynooth University and director of the MA in Historical Archives. Her research interests span urban, social and cartographic history with a particular focus on the mapping of towns and on the town itself in nineteenth and twentieth century Ireland. She is joint author with Howard B. Clarke of Reading the maps: a guide to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (2011) and with Paul Walsh of Galway / Gaillimh, IHTA atlas no. 28 (2016).
The aim of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas project, in progress since 1981, is to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small. Each town is published separately as a folder and includes a series of maps complemented by a detailed text section. The project is part of a wider European scheme, with town atlases containing broadly similar information available for a number of countries. Thus Irish towns can be studied in their European context.
So far 28 Atlases have been published, including the following towns in Northern Ireland: Carrickfergus (1986), Downpatrick (1997), Belfast (2003; 2007), Derry~Londonderry (2005), and Armagh (2007) – jointly authored by the Ulster-American Folk Park’s very own Catherine McCullough. A digital version of the Derry-Londonderry Atlas is among the GIS prototypes and other online resources available at Irish Historic Towns Atlas Digital.
The topic of Dr Prunty’s lecture will be what these Atlases can tell us about the theme of migration in Irish history. It will be chaired by Catherine McCullough (UAFP).