Launch of new web resource for International Women’s Day

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023, the Mná 100 Programme and the Irish Manuscripts Commission (IMC) are delighted to announce the online publication of a database of just over 20,000 sources for the history of Irish women from the earliest time to the end of the twentieth century.

This web resource — available through the IMC website — is a revised version of ‘A Directory of Sources for Women’s History in Ireland’ originally produced by the Women’s History Project (WHP) and published by IMC on CD in 1999. Due to technological advances the information on the CD has not been accessible for many years.

With funding from the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012–2023 and the IMC, this resource was updated in 2022.

Today it is formally launched to coincide with International Women’s Day making it available for everyone to search for free anywhere in the world.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said:

‘One of the lasting legacies of the Decade of Centenaries programme is the establishment and cementing of the role of women in Irish history. Throughout the past decade, historians and scholars have produced a vast amount of material on the role women played in the Irish Revolutionary period. This update of the ‘Directory of Sources for Women’s History in Ireland’ brings together the vast amount of resources across the island of Ireland into one place, and makes the research of women’s history more accessible to everyone. I commend the ambition and enthusiasm of the Irish Manuscript Commission in undertaking this important update of the database and I look forward to seeing the new scholarship and research that will be made possible in the future because of the rich archival material that will now be freely accessible for everyone.’

Sources for Irish Women’s History is a survey of public and private repositories in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for collections or information relating to the history of women in Ireland.

The team who revised the database included some of the original WHP team — Professors Maria Luddy and Mary O’Dowd — as well as Dr Frances Nolan. The IT expertise was provided by Mr Niall O’Leary.

This digital resource is available on the website of the Irish Manuscripts Commission here


This wonderfully accessible resource highlights the wealth of primary material available to explore the history of Irish women. I can’t wait to see all the Irish women’s history that it will facilitate and inspire!

Dr Elaine Farrell, QUB & IMC Member

The Sources for Irish Women’s History database is an extraordinary resource enabling us to navigate 20,790 records and 2,413 collections from 221 repositories from a laptop. It will be the starting place for all future students and researchers of women’s history and a go-to for anyone seeking to explore anything from women in theatre to women and religion in Ireland.

Professor Lindsey Earner-Byrne, UCC & IMC Member

This site provides an overview of the richness of archival sources pertaining to Irish women’s history that can be found in repositories around the country. It is hugely valuable to researchers and the naturally curious alike. Well done to all involved in reviving and extending it.

Professor Ciara Breathnach, UL & IMC Member

From its establishment in 1928 the Irish Manuscripts Commission has sought to make sources for the history of Ireland more accessible to all. The Commission is proud to be a partner in bringing this vast and freely available guide to the sources for the history of Irish women to all those who wish to learn more.

Professor John McCafferty, UCD & IMC Chair