The latest UCD Digital Library collection, M. Michael Corcoran’s Photographic Albums, was launched at a research showcase and seminar entitled “Archives of Women Religious in Ireland: the Present and the Future”. The in-person and online hybrid event featured presentations on the significance of women religious archives from the perspectives of both archivists and research scholars. A recurring theme was the importance of digitising these archives to facilitate wider access and how crucial collaborative projects between religious archives and research institutes like UCD are. UCD Digital Library Manager Audrey Drohan gave a presentation on the Mother Michael Corcoran digitisation project and launched the collection by showing a video produced by Brian Kelly, Media Content Producer, UCD Digital Library. We have received lovely feedback on the event including this from some of the Sisters who joined via Zoom:
“The little video was superb. The whole presentation from beginning to end was a feast…. a wonderful celebration of these great women and a lovely tribute to the collaboration of religious sisters and UCD research.”
The M. Michael Corcoran collection is part of the UCD Convent Collections, a research initiative led by UCD School of Education Professor Deirdre Raftery, and builds on a previous collaboration withthe IBVM (Loreto) Institute and Irish Province Archives, the Loreto 1916 collection. The new collection contains photographs taken by Mother Michael Corcoran IBVM (1846-1927), Superior General of the Loreto Sisters. A bit of an early adopter of new technology, M. Michael saw the potential of photography for educational purposes. She used her camera to capture the daily life of religious sisters, pupils, and Loreto communities in Ireland and across the world. The photographs date mainly from 1902 to 1908 and include photographs of her travels to Loreto communities in India and Australia, as well as images of Rathfarnham and Balbriggan. Some of her photographs were turned into glass slides which could be projected in classrooms using a magic lantern, allowing Loreto pupils to see images of India and Australia – countries they could never hope to visit themselves. The collection includes 6 glass of these lantern slides and the launch video includes a lovely demo of these slides being projected through an original magic lantern. The video is available to view now on YouTube.