Gems from the archives!


Drivers and stable boys in Rockingham Stables; men relaxing on Hare Island, Lough Ree; a bustling Main Street in Roscommon Town and two workers on the 587 train in Ballaghaderreen are just some of the photographs of Roscommon digitised and freely available online from the National Library of Ireland (NLI).

As part of a new initiative entitled ‘Around the Island’, the library is inviting Roscommon people, and everyone with an interest in the county, to explore these images and others from home. ‘Around the Island’ encourages people across the island of Ireland to connect and reconnect with their counties and their history by accessing local photographs that are readily available through the Library’s rich and varied online collections.

In 2007, the National Library initiated a major project to digitise its collections of glass plate negatives. Since then, more than 60,000 images of Ireland and Irish life have been made available online. The catalogue can be accessed via, and visitors can search the collections according to a number of criteria, including year and region.

Commenting on the initiative, Director of the NLI, Dr. Sandra Collins said: “As Ireland’s memory-keeper, the National Library collects, preserves and shares the record of life in Ireland. I hope that visitors to our online collections will find enjoyment in browsing local imagery from the past, while also learning something new about their county. I encourage Roscommon people, and everyone with an interest in the county, to spread the word about the Library’s online collections among family and friends and to visit the catalogue”.

Visitors to the catalogue are encouraged to share any interesting findings or observations on social media, using the hashtag #NLIonline, or by sending an email to