Explore curated stories of art in Ireland and connect with our rich archives

Source is the National Gallery of Ireland's online resource providing access to its collections of archives and ephemera associated with the history of art in Ireland. Through Source we provide an online space for people to discover, connect and engage with our growing collection of art archives. There are currently over 16,000 records on Source and around 6,000 associated images. These are available for re-use and can be downloaded for research and educational purposes.

About the Project

Research Collections

Irish Art Archive

The Irish art archive, held in the ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art, is searchable online for the first time through Source. This collection holds an important and rich body of material documenting the development and history of Irish art. Celebrated artists such as Daniel Maclise, Frederick William Burton, Sarah Purser, Roderic O’Conor and William Orpen, to name only a few, are all represented in the collection. 

Explore the ESB CSIA Irish art archive collections

Yeats Archive

The catalogue of the Yeats Archive is searchable through Source and features over 13,000 records. The Archive which holds material relating to Jack B. Yeats and members of his extended family, includes details about the artist's sketchbooks, books from Yeats’s own library, a collection of journals, theatre programmes, original manuscripts, photographs, postcards and letters, as well as general memorabilia. The catalogue also documents material relating to Mary Cottenham Yeats, W.B. Yeats, John Butler Yeats, his sisters Susan Mary ('Lily') and Elizabeth ('Lolly'), niece Anne Yeats and cousin Ruth Pollexfen. The Cuala and Dun Emer Presses are also represented. 

Explore the Yeats Archive 

Interpreting the Collections

A range of curated stories, authored by people with different interests in the field of art history are available through Source. Source stories offer new and unique insight into items from the collections, highlighting interesting events and relationships in the lives of those who have contributed to the development of art in Ireland.

The ESB CSIA at the National Gallery of Ireland holds an important and valuable archive and library relating to the history of Irish art. The collections include artist's papers, sketchbooks, rare books, oral history recordings, publications and ephemera. The collections are freely accessible for public study and interpretation.

Cataloguing & Digitisation

This multi-annual cataloguing and digitisation project established an online and technical framework for discovering content held in the Irish art archive collections of the National Gallery.  Addressing a range of issues, the project had four distinct strands focusing on the following areas:

1. Archive processing, conservation & cataloguing

2. Digitisation, image management & metadata

3. Data extraction, synchronisation & integration of catalogue and image data

4. Publishing, access & discovery

The project, which was funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, has resulted in making accessible online historically and culturally important collections which have been safe guarded, preserved, catalogued and digitised to the highest professional standards. The systems, technical infrastructure and digitisation suite established through this project now provide the basis for the archival and digital workflows for all library and archive collections.

The platform that has been developed will also allow us to support art education and increase research opportunities into Irish art as well as provide access to the story of Irish art which will present greater opportunities for engagement, collaboration and developing links with artists, academia and sister institutions nationally and worldwide.

The Source Project was made possible through funding from

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