Press Release for launch of Inspiring Ireland

Minister Deenihan launches Inspiring Ireland at Stanford University

  • Inspiring Ireland is an ambitious project to bring Ireland's renowned national collections to a global audience
  • Collections from Irish national museums, libraries, galleries, archives and theatre available free of charge at one address
  • Project aims to drive enhanced digitisation of, and public access to, Ireland nationally and internationally important collections
  • International team for project aims to raise financial support of €15 million over 10 years 



Sunday, March 16th

- Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will today launch Inspiring Ireland - a unique and ambitious project to bring the digital collections of Ireland's renowned national cultural institutions to a truly global audience. 

Minister Deenihan, accompanied by John Hartnett of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), will launch Inspiring Ireland during a visit to Stanford University, California.

Inspiring Ireland is an exciting and significant new departure for Ireland's national collections as it will grow to provide free access at one address ( to the treasures held by Ireland's internationally acclaimed cultural institutions, including the country's national museums, libraries, galleries, archives and theatre.

The project is a collaboration between the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Digital Repository of Ireland, the National Library, the National Museum, the National Gallery, the National Archives, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Crawford Art Gallery, the Chester Beatty Library and the Abbey Theatre.

The project is supported by an International Advisory Board, led by John Hartnett, which will help with technology direction and commercialisation and encourage financial support for Inspiring Ireland from the United States. 

Minister Deenihan commented:

"It gives me great pride to launch Inspiring Ireland.  Ireland’s national cultural institutions hold collections that are of great international significance. They chart the story of Ireland, from pre-Christian and medieval times to the modern day. And, they hold as part of their collections treasures of international importance drawn from the across the globe.

"My vision for Inspiring Ireland is that, through this website, everyone will be able to access these treasures free of charge and at one address. Inspiring Ireland will also support the digitisation and preservation of Ireland's digital cultural heritage for future generations, showcasing once again Ireland's growing reputation as a centre for the innovative use of digital technology."

Minister Deenihan has also thanked the members of an international advisory board who have agreed to support the project:

'John Hartnett has done outstanding work in the United States in his role as founder and President of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) together with his ongoing involvement with the American Ireland Fund. He is uniquely qualified to assist the Government with this project.

"John has agreed to Chair an International Advisory Board for the project which will seek support in the US for Inspiring Ireland. This board will include Rory McInerney, Vice President Intel, Una Fox, Vice President Disney, Pauline Ryan, Philanthropist and Founder IARC, Barry O Sullivan, CEO AltoCloud. I want to thank them for agreeing to be part of what I expect will be a wonderful and exciting project."

John Hartnett commented:

“The project will provide global access to Ireland's cultural treasures at one online address. It will bring Ireland’s history and heritage into the 21st Century and will open up Ireland’s culture for creative minds”

For launch, Inspiring Ireland features a core exhibition - A Sense of Place - accompanied by two further exhibitions - A Sense of Freedom, and A Sense of Identity.  These three exhibitions are populated with more than 100 fully searchable objects. Inspiring Ireland aims to be far more than a portal: it aims to be a platform with content both curated and preserved in a trusted digital repository to facilitate innovative means of discovering and exploring Ireland’s cultural heritage. Curators and experts will provide cultural interpretation of the objects and exhibits.

The digital platform for the project is in place having been developed by the DRI, a branch of the Royal Irish Academy. The DRI has been funded by the Irish Government to date principally through the Third Level funding scheme HEA PRTLI cycle 5, from which it has received €5m.

The portal will showcase the digitised paintings, letters, sculpture, historical objects, photography, letters and documents, and ephemera which make up Ireland’s national collection.  It will also play a significant role in the digital preservation of the collection.  The portal can be viewed at

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