The Dundalk Digital Historic Towns Atlas Project

The Dundalk Digital Historic Towns Atlas Project is a collaboration between Dundalk Institute of Technology's Department of Humanities and Creative Media Research Group, in association with the Royal Irish Academy and the Louth County Archives.

Project Background

The Royal Irish Academy has been producing Historic Towns Atlases of various towns around Ireland over the past two decades. These are examinations of the historical development of each of the towns based on surviving historical mapping and related archival material. To date, all of the output from this project has been in hard copy format. More recently, the RIA has been looking at the possibility of making these resources available digitally and this has already been trialled with the Derry/Londonderry atlas.

Project Aim

The aim of this project is to create an interactive digital map based on a static two-dimensional map of the Dundalk and linking this interactive map to a purpose built online historical archive.

Project Development

This project has been developed from two main sources. The first is a Royal Irish Academy map of Dundalk in 1835, and the second is an archive of early 19th century property leases held by the Louth County Archives. From the RIA map an interactive map has been developed by integrating the source map into a customised google map. This allows for navigation ability and zoom function as well as interaction with the map markers.

The lease documents were examined for commonality and recurring data, this led to the development of a relational database to capture and store the information from these leases. These two separate entities were then linked through the interactive map markers, which have been positioned over specific properties on the map. This allows the user to click on a map maker and view the historical information about that property. It also links the user to a digitized version of the lease information and an image of the original document

More recently the project has been expanded to include some of the topographical information of the area. The information was gathered from the same Dundalk Atlas, as the 1835 map. The information was examined for commonality and relationships between the information which would allow it to be more easily searchable across different categories. A separate database was created to house the information gathered. This was linked into the first half of the project by locating the information on the map using separate pins from the Leases. When a pin is clicked, the user can access an information box about that site .

Further research has also been conducted on the development of Dundalk, as well as on key individuals such as the earl of Roden, the main landlord in nineteenth century Dundalk, and Frank Aiken, after whom Aiken Barracks is named.