Digital records of Ireland's First World War dead launched in Dublin

Posted on on 11 January 2014
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The records of Irish soldiers who died during the First World War have been digitised following collaboration between Google and the In Flanders Fields Museum.

The Republic of Ireland's Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Northern Ireland's First Minister, Peter Robinson, and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, launched the records on the 10th January 2014 at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin.

The records of First World War soldiers from the island of Ireland are now available online for free to a global audience.

"Incredible source of information"

Northern Ireland's First Minister said: "As we enter an important decade of commemorations in both our countries, it is my hope that what has been established here today will keep alive the history and the stories of those who did not return from war".

"This work will allow the stories of the fallen to be recorded for the benefit of future generations and will allow us to express our thanks and acknowledge the sacrifice of men who died helping to preserve our freedom".

The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said: "Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the war and over 49,000 were killed, which shows the human impact of the war on the island of Ireland. It is important all their personal stories are told and this innovative project ensures the memory of those Irish soldiers killed will continue".

"This partnership between Google and the In Flanders Fields Museum has resulted in an incredible source of information for family, students and researchers. I commend Google for their efforts in helping collate this information but more importantly making it accessible. I encourage people to use it and share their stories so future generations can better understand the lives of their predecessors".

"Technology as a force for good"

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D. said: “I’m delighted to launch this important archive in the company of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister".

"While the digitisation and online access to this record will be a rich resource for genealogy, most significant is its value in facilitating the simple and important act of remembering the individuals, Irish men and women, who lost their lives in the First World War".

Piet Chielens, Co-ordinator of the In Flanders Museum described commemoration as "being about sharing human experiences and fates, and reflecting on them". Mr. Chielens added that the project allows people from all over the world to "connect with a shared past.”  

John Herlihy, head of Google in Ireland, said that the digitisation project was "a great example of technology as a force for good" and that it would allow greater access to important documents.

To access the digitised records, visit the In Flanders Fields Museum website here.

Source: Northern Ireland Executive press release

Date of press release publication: 10/01/2014

Images courtesy of the In Flanders Fields Museum

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News