Project History

Irish History Online (IHO) is part of a European network of sixteen subject-specific historical bibliographies from fourteen countries.

Irish History Online (IHO) was established as an online database in 2003 at the National University of Ireland Maynooth with funding from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). The database was developed in association with the Royal Historical Society Bibliography of British and Irish History between 2003 and 2009. Since January 2010 the two projects have operated separately and IHO has been hosted by the Royal Irish Academy Library, Dublin.

Drawing on decades of voluntary work by compilers and editors of Writings in Irish history (published in print format in Irish Historical Studies since 1938) the compilation of the Irish History Online bibliography continues to rely principally on the work of volunteers. The creation and publication of an online version from earlier printed bibliographies, and its continuation as an online resource to the present time, was made possible through project grants from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2003-6 and 2006-9. In 2003-6, Dr Anthony McCormack and Ms Mary Murray were employed at NUI Maynooth to create the online database and input retrospective records from "Writings in Irish History" 1938-2002. In 2006-9, Dr Frank Cullen enhanced the bibliographic coverage of the history of the Irish overseas, expanded other aspects of the bibliography and input data for more recent publications. During both these phases the compilation of data on new publications was done by Ciaran Nicholson (TCD) and Máirín Cassidy (UCD), working in a voluntary capacity. The IHO project benefited from collaboration with the Royal Historical Society Bibliography, and particularly the advice and assistance of Peter Salt. 

Following the termination of the second phase of funding from the IRCHSS on 1 October 2009, plans were formulated by the small team of volunteers who then comprised the Irish History Online Management Committee to maintain the existing database and to continue to update the database with new bibliographic data. Since January 2010 Irish History Online has been hosted by the Royal Irish Academy and the database is managed by the Royal Irish Academy Library. Irish History Online will continue to seek external funding to cover essential costs. The IHO bibliography is being updated on an ongoing basis with information about new publications. The project continues to benefit from the support of the Royal Irish Academy Committee for Historical Sciences, and Ciaran Nicholson (monographs and articles in books) and Máirín Cassidy (periodical articles) continue to compile new data. Since 2010 the most recent data has been input by Máirín Cassidy and Bernadette Cunningham. Karl Vogelsang assisted with data inputting in 2010-11, and Maria Shanahan in 2011-12. Sophie Evans and Nessa Malone commenced inputting data in autumn 2012. Ciarán McCabe commenced inputting data in February 2013. Conor Heffernan worked with the team during summer 2013. Rose O'Connor and Zoe Rogers, Maynooth University, worked on the project in summer 2014. Sean Kennedy worked on the project in July and August 2015, in collaboration with the History Department at Maynooth University. The project continues to be hosted by the Royal Irish Academy Library.

Our former partner project, the Royal Historical Society Bibliography, when faced with a funding crisis in 2009, opted to change to a new publication model. Since January 2010 a new Bibliography of British and Irish History (in partnership with the Royal Historical Society, the Institute of Historical Research, and Brepols publishers), has been available as a subscription-only service. Further details are available on The divergent paths being taken by the two projects means that Irish History Online no longer forms the Irish component of the new Bibliography of British and Irish History. We are exploring ways of ensuring that maximum cooperation between the two projects will continue for the future, particularly in the area of new data compilation.

Since the online version first went live in 2004, Irish History Online has proved to be a highly useful and reliable bibliographic reference resource for researchers and students in the field of Irish history. The online database contains over 92,000 bibliographic records (in 2015).

Either of the two registered domain names or can be used. Irish History Online will continue to be available as a free service to users.

Irish History Online is committed to continuing to provide a quality service that is free to users.

Summary report on additions to Irish History Online in 2012
A total of 3,666 new items (1,613 articles in journals; 630 monographs or collective volumes of essays; 1,423 articles in books) were added to the Irish History Online database during 2012. A further 8,337 earlier records were upgraded, generally with enhanced subject indexing. Of the new items added during 2012, just over 550 were published in 2012, with most of the remainder having been published in the preceding five years.
Summary report on additions to Irish History Online in 2013
A total of 4,313 new items (2,007 articles in journals, 1,261 monographs, 1,045 articles in books) were added to the Irish History Online database during 2013. Of the new items added in 2013, some 910 were published in 2013, and a further 1,513 were published in 2011-2012. The work was undertaken by Máirín Cassidy, Bernadette Cunningham, Nessa Malone, Ciarán McCabe and Ciaran Nicholson.
As part of a special retrospective project in June-July 2013 in collaboration with the Representative Church Body Library, almost 500 books and pamphlets relating to the history of the Church of Ireland were added to the Irish History Online database. This special project was completed by Conor Heffernan in association with Bernadette Cunningham and Raymond Refaussé.
Summary report on additions to Irish History Online in 2014
A total of 4,456 new records were input to the IHO database during 2014. These included 3,256 articles in journals, 583 monographs or collective volumes and 617 articles/chapters in collective volumes. Of this total input, 2,072 items were published in the years 2011-2014. Work continued on enhancing the retrospective coverage by adding 1,647 items published in the years 2000-2010. The remaining new additions were published pre-2000. The compilers in 2014 were Máirín Cassidy (journals), and Ciarán McCabe and Bernadette Cunningham (books). Rose O'Connor and Zoe Rogers worked on the project for eight weeks in summer 2014, funded by Department of History, Maynooth University.
The compilers in 2015 are Máirín Cassidy (journals), and Ciarán McCabe and Bernadette Cunningham (books). Seán Kennedy worked on the project for six weeks in summer 2015, funded by Department of History, Maynooth University. Rose O'Connor joined the team of compilers in October 2015.

An essay on the history of historical bibliographies in Ireland: Bernadette Cunningham, 'Historical bibliography in a divided Ireland', has been published in the proceedings of the fifth international conference on European historical bibliographies. Historical Bibliography as an Essential Source for Historiography is edited by Kristina Rexová (Prague), et al. (Newcastle-on-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015).

This page last updated 5 October 2015.