The National Library of Ireland have made certain exhibitions available in travelling format as part of an initiative to make collections more accessible and available to a wider audience.
In September I borrowed ‘Ireland from Maps’ exhibition for Cluny Library. The exhibition consists of 8 collapsible banners which introduces basic mapping concepts and terminology as well as exploring the subtext behind some of the most well-known maps of Ireland.
Giraldus Cambrensis’ map of Ireland, dating from c. 1200 placed Rome in the centre of the new world. Richard Bartlett was a military cartographer who produced a series of maps of Ireland and was beheaded in Donegal in 1609 by local people who objected to their land being surveyed. During the Cromwellian Plantation (1649-53), the land had to be accurately surveyed and mapped in order to be able to transfer landownership from Irish Catholics to English Protestants. This task was overseen by the surgeon-general of the English Army, William Petty. In 1824, the most thorough mapping process was commissioned by The Ordnance Survey of Ireland and was completed in 1846. This was the first ever detailed map of Ireland.
Today, mapping techniques are also used to display information diagrammatically. Thanks to powerful satellites and the internet, most people have access to highly accurate maps. Map literacy is a fantastic skill for anyone to have especially those who wish to study geography, travel or do some orienteering. For more information visit the Ireland from Maps website .