Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does the Irish Manuscripts Commission (IMC) do?
IMC publishes, in print and online, original source material for the study of the histories and cultures of Ireland.
2. Does IMC collect or hold manuscripts?
No. IMC publishes manuscript sources but it is not a repository for manuscripts.
3. Can the public visit IMC's office to consult its publications?
IMC publications are available in many public libraries and in the National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Search their online catalogues to find IMC publications. It is not possible to consult publications in the Commisison's offices as IMC does not have a reading room.
4. Are any of IMC's publications available online?
Yes. Over 40 out-of-print publications are searchable free-of-charge on the Commission's website. Analecta Hibernica, the Commission's serial publication containing shorter primary sources, has been digitised and is fully searchable on www.jstor.org through your local library service or university library system.
5. Why was IMC established and when?
In June 1922 the Public Record Office of Ireland, which was part of the Four Courts complex, was blown up; this disaster resulted in the destruction of virtually all official records pertaining to life in Ireland from the late 12th century. The Irish Manuscripts Commission, a public body, was established in 1928. One of its principal functions was to publish original source material (see FAQ 1), and it is now the leading publisher of primary sources for the history of Ireland. Except for the Chairperson, who usually, but not at present, receives an honorarium, members of the Commission do not receive any remuneration.
6. How is the original source material sought or found?
Material for publishing arises from proposals submitted by scholars, institutions and the general public. These manuscripts will not have been published previously and may have lain undiscovered in archives, large or small, or in private collections. Publishing proposals are subject to rigorous critical review. Refer to the Commission's 'Guidelines' page for details about submitting publishing proposals
7. Who are members of the IMC?
The 21 members of the IMC are historians, librarians, archivists and genealogists, appointed for a fixed term by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Members are appointed on the grounds of their professional experience and receive no remuneration for their service with IMC which is given on a voluntary basis.
8. Where can I find details of IMC publications?
The current IMC publications catalogue can be found here.
9. Is the IMC concerned primarily with any one period of Ireland's histories?
No, the remit of the IMC covers Ireland's histories from early to contemporary, though the balance of the IMC's publications have centred around the early modern period where manuscripts are rarer and more difficult to read. IMC welcomes proposals for publications from all periods of Ireland's histories.