About the Pilot Project

Welcome to Inspiring Ireland

We are so proud to have worked on this beautiful and ground-breaking project. The Digital Repository of Ireland is committed to the preservation of our nation’s cultural and social digital heritage. Working with Minister Deenihan, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the National Cultural Institutions, to build the Inspiring Ireland platform has been the most wonderful opportunity for us to realise our core principles of: preserve, discover, share.

The Digital Repository of Ireland emerged from a national recognition of the need and responsibility to preserve the digital record of our culture and society.  Our digital records and images are fragile and will be lost over time without a trusted national infrastructure to preserve them. DRI was launched in 2011, and we are now a cross-disciplinary team of nearly forty researchers and scholars, software engineers and system administrators, and digital archivists and librarians, working together to deliver digital preservation for Ireland.

This website is a first step towards an ongoing national Inspiring Ireland programme to digitise and share our cultural heritage, to tell Irish stories and exhibit our unique Irish culture, now and for future generations. The quality of the collections in our Cultural Institutions, the trust and pride we place in these custodians of Irish identity, are what make this project so unique and beautiful.

Dr Sandra Collins
Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland




About the Project

Inspiring Ireland was born out of a passion for Ireland’s arts, and the desire to see Ireland’s cultural heritage preserved and shared across borders for generations to come. The images on this pilot site encourage viewers to browse and search, to peruse curators’ statements, to make connections between cultural objects and, we hope, to linger and get a bit lost in their rich detail.  As Professor Luke Gibbons suggests in his introductory essay  to our first curated exhibition, A Sense of Place, Ireland’s creative output has long outweighed its relative size in the world. Visitors travelling to Ireland explore this culture in our theatres, galleries, museums, archives and libraries, and now Inspiring Ireland will complement this interest by opening the treasures housed in our institutions to an ever broader public.

The story of Inspiring Ireland is one of collaboration, enthusiasm and innovation. Initiated by Minister Deenihan’s desire to see Ireland’s cultural heritage shared freely with an international audience, the Digital Repository of Ireland worked closely with eight of Ireland’s national cultural institutions to bring together an evocative, diverse, and appealing set of exhibitions that speak to deeply ingrained motifs in Irish history: A Sense of Freedom, A Sense of Identity, and A Sense of Place. The cultural institutions contributing to this website have widely different remits and collections, but as we created, debated, sorted and pondered, these motifs emerged powerfully and clearly. As time goes on, we expect to include many more, and to expand the ways of seeing Ireland’s cultural heritage. I am very proud to be a part of Inspiring Ireland, and hope that you, the viewer, will gain as much enjoyment from these images as I have while working on this remarkable collaboration.

Image of Dr. Natalie Harrower

Natalie Harrower, PhD
Inspiring Ireland Creative Lead
Digital Repository of Ireland




Photo Credits:

Top photo: Inspiring Ireland launch at Stanford University. From left to right: Pauline Ryan, Philanthropist and Founder IARC; Rory McInerney, Vice President Intel; John Hartnett, President and Founder of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG); Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland; Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland, San Francisco; Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Read about the Pilot's Advisory Board.


Watch the Inspiring Ireland Video