I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized The City Mapped

The City Mapped

Patrick Duffy
Irish Historic Towns Atlas, No 26, Dublin, Part III, 1756 to1847, by Rob Goodbody, Royal Irish Academy in association with Dublin City Council, €35, ISBN: 978-1908996343 Frank Cullen, Dublin 1847: City of the Ordnance Survey, by Frank Cullen, Royal Irish Academy in association with Dublin City Council, €15, ISBN: 978-1908996350 The Historic Towns Atlas project started in Europe in the mid-1950s. The home of some of the oldest and important urban settlements in the world, the continent was still picking up the pieces from the Second World War, which had wrought such havoc on so much of its urban fabric. The town atlases aimed to assemble all available town plans and maps within an agreed format so that a comparative understanding of the historical evolution of Europe’s towns would be possible. Maps on similar scales for similar time periods would be accompanied by short commentaries on the history of the settlements accompanied by a comprehensive topographical gazetteer. Central to the atlas project is a reconstructed nineteenth-century large-scale map of the town based on surveys by national mapping agencies (in the case of Ireland, the Ordnance Survey) and a modern town plan that would allow a visual overview of the development of the town over time. The atlases also include a series of historical maps that illustrate phases in the growth of each town from the middle ages. There are more than five hundred atlases now completed. Unfortunately coverage seems a bit haphazard for some areas, with a dense cluster in north Germany, in Austria, southwestern France and northern Italy. The Irish Historic Towns Atlas project (IHTA) has been in progress since 1981. There have been twenty-seven atlases published so far (Youghal No 27 by David Kelly and Tadhg O’Keeffe was published recently) for the following towns and cities: Kildare, Carrickfergus, Bandon, Kells, Mullingar, Athlone, Maynooth, Downpatrick, Bray, Kilkenny, Fethard, Trim, Derry-Londonderry, Dundalk, Armagh, Tuam, Limerick, Dublin part 1, Belfast part 1, Belfast part 2, Dublin part 2, Longford, Carlingford, Sligo, Ennis, Dublin part 3, and Youghal. How many Irish people are familiar with these atlases? How many libraries hold these volumes? How many university schools of urban history or geography use the Historic Towns Atlases as source materials? We can assume that local communities, particularly local historians, will be aware of the existence of the atlas of their town and that they must represent a hugely important resource for local urban…



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