Inspiring Ireland sweeps the Ireland eGovernment Awards!

Picture of L-R: Dr. Sandra Collins, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Dr. Natalie Harrower

Press Release

For Immediate Release

30 January 2015

Inspiring Ireland named Overall Winner; also nabs awards for Promoting Ireland Overseas and Open Source

The Digital Repository of Ireland accepted three eGovernment awards yesterday for Inspiring Ireland, the ambitious project it spearheaded in collaboration with eight of Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions, and the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht.

Inspiring Ireland won the event’s Overall Award, which includes the finalists from all projects and organisations shortlisted for an award in 2014. The awards were presented on January 29th by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a gala event at Dublin Castle. Set up in 2001 to recognise excellence and innovation by public sector bodies who are pioneering change in the delivery of eGovernment services in Ireland, the awards are sponsored by eircom Business Solutions and jointly run by the Public Sector Times and digital marketing company Elucidate.

“Inspiring Ireland from the Digital Repository of Ireland is a really innovative and really important solution to a problem: we have a wealth of cultural heritage in Ireland. This project was about making that information – that richness of cultural heritage – available to the country and to Irish citizen abroad. But not only Irish citizens – equally people who have an interest in Ireland” commented awards judge Paddy Hopkins (former Company Secretary at Enterprise Ireland).

Accepting the Award, the DRI’s Director and Inspiring Ireland Project Lead Dr. Sandra Collins said: “Winning the eGovernment Awards mean so much to us, this recognition shows the value of our work and the passion and commitment of our amazing team in the Digital Repository of Ireland. Inspiring Ireland is a truly collaborative endeavor, and it shows the inspirational content in our Cultural Institutions, and their expertise and professionalism. We're sincerely grateful for the eGovernment Awards, and for the support of our funders and our partners.”

In addition to scooping the award for Overall Winner, Inspiring Ireland also won awards in two specific categories, including ‘Promoting Ireland Overseas,’ with strong competition from Fáilte Ireland. Praising the project, judge Hopkins said “Inspiring Ireland is a massive project; in its widest context it looks at the arts, it looks at culture, it looks at a whole range of activities and issues that can be preserved – hopefully in perpetuity for Ireland – in a secure and sustainable manner.”

The third win was in the category for ‘Open Source’, which is close to the heart of DRI’s overall mandate, which emphasises openness at every step, from software and technology choices, to open access, to the concept of opening up collections that are otherwise difficult to access. Judge Declan Tuite (School of Communications, DCU) remarked “The Inspiring Ireland project is substantial – it’s the front end of a larger digital repository. They had to go and create some new processes…they weren’t thinking small.”

“We are absolutely delighted that collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts behind Inspiring Ireland were recognised by the judges, and that our project was able to stand beside such esteemed organisations in Ireland. Inspiring Ireland originated from a passion to preserve and share Ireland’s cultural heritage, but it was delivered by blood, sweat and tears! The project encapsulates important aspects of Ireland’s past, and therefore is valuable to the future” said Dr. Natalie Harrower, Creative Lead on Inspiring Ireland. “We hope that these awards will enable us to create new exhibitions and new partnerships for the project.”

Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, stated “I would like to congratulate Sandra Collins and her team for winning this prestigious award. I would also like to recognise the initial input of Colleen Dube (Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission), Niall Ó Donnchú, Assistant Secretary, and Chris Flynn, Principal Officer, in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Digital Repository of Ireland for helping me get this exciting project off the ground as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in 2013. I was delighted to launch the project in Stanford University in March 2014 where I announced a special advisory board chaired by John Hartnett (President & Founder ITLG). This promises to be one of the most important online cultural initiatives taken to date in Ireland.”

Inspiring Ireland is a centralised, curated online portal to Ireland’s cultural heritage; it’s an ambitious project to bring Ireland’s cultural treasures – paintings, letters, sculpture, manuscripts, historical objects, music, photography – both digital and digitised – to a national and international audience. The first of its kind in Ireland, the website offers Ireland’s exceptional cultural heritage from a broad range of galleries, libraries, archives and museums to showcase Irish digital-cultural innovation globally. Inspiring Ireland is also the pilot for a systematic programme in preservation, access and discovery for digital objects in Ireland’s Cultural Institutions. The project is the result of an intense and productive collaboration between ten bodies: Digital Repository of Ireland, Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Abbey Theatre, Chester Beatty Library, Crawford Art Gallery Cork, Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Archives of Ireland, National Gallery of Ireland, National Library of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland. See the project here:

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is a national trusted digital repository that preserves and provides online access to Ireland’s social and cultural heritage. A consortium of six partners  -- The Royal Irish Academy, TCD, NUIM, NUIG, DIT and NCAD – the team includes software engineers, digital archivists and librarians, legal, policy and requirements specialists, social scientists and humanities scholars. Funded by the Irish Government via the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions in 2011, the DRI has won competitive funding for a number of additional research projects in the ICT, education and culture sectors, and actively collaborates with a number of partners, including RTÉ and the SFI-funded Insight Centre for Data Analytics, among others.

Visit DRI here:

Pictured above, L-R: Dr. Sandra Collins, AN Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Dr. Natalie Harrower. Picture Credit: John Ole


More information:

Dr. Sandra Collins  

Dr. Natalie Harrower

Inspiring Ireland:

Digital Repository of Ireland: