Crónán Ó Doibhlin
Crónán Ó Doibhlin is the Head of Research Head of Research Collections & Communications at UCC Library, where he is a member of UCC Library’s Senior Management Team and the Information Services Management Team at UCC. His current core responsibilities relate to leading the development, organisation and management of Special Collections and Archives at UCC, the development of Digital Projects, Institutional Repository services, Exhibitions, and Communications including External Relations, and supporting the University Librarian in his work with the Alumni Development Office, and Collection Acquisition.
He has also represented UCC Library on a number of national committees including CONUL Committees for Collaborative Storage and Collection Management, and currently serves on the CONUL Digital Services and Infrastructure Sub-Committee.
The Great Book of Ireland – Leabhar Mór na hÉireann
The Great Book of Ireland, Leabhar Mór na hÉireann, is an extraordinary modern vellum manuscript in a single volume which comprises the original work of 121 artists, 143 poets and nine composers. Produced in Dublin between 1989 and 1991, it has been acquired by University College Cork to be preserved and displayed by the University in posterity on behalf of the Irish people.
Conceived originally as a venture to create a saleable artefact which would help to fund the development plans of two arts organizations in Ireland, the original architects of the idea and editors of the end product were Theo Dorgan of Poetry Ireland and Gene Lambert of Clashganna Mills, with Eamonn Martin as business manager. Out of their initial meeting in March 1989 came the first tentative idea of producing an original artefact that would raise substantial funds for their charitable-status arts organizations, while at the same time being a venture worthwhile in itself. What was to emerge was a project of breath-taking ambition and scale – The Great Book of Ireland, Leabhar Mór na hÉireann, completed in 1991.
Artists, poets, and composers were asked to contribute in their own medium what they believed represented their hopes, fears, dreams, or imaginings in the Ireland of that particular time, and which would have resonance in a thousand years - as the longevity of vellum allows. The only rules applied to contributors were: no pastiche, no illustration, leaving the editors to match and compile the works using a combination of inspiration and improvisation. Each page of The Great Book is a unique artefact in itself, often multi-layered or palimpsestial in nature. The whole “united” in design by the work of the scribe, Denis Brown.
This paper will describe the creation process of The Book, its subsequent history, and future plans to make The Great Book of Ireland available to the public.