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Church of Ireland Gazette 1911–1923 Editions Digitised and Fully Searchable Online

RCB Library Notes

Added on 01/01/2016

Church of Ireland Gazette Project LogoThe ongoing project to digitise the historical issues of the Church of Ireland Gazette has entered a new and exciting phase, with the successful uploading and indexing of this invaluable resource for the period 1911–1923. It is re–launched as Archive of the Month for January 2016 through the Church of Ireland website.

All the editions for the revolutionary period 1912–1922 (with an additional year either side of that) have been scanned and made fully searchable. This means that a total of 155 weekly editions may now be freely viewed and searched online by researchers all over the world, bringing to light this crucial period from a Church of Ireland perspective in general, and also making it possible to find hitherto hidden events, people and places through the pages.

Written and read by lay and clerical members of the Church of Ireland, the Gazette (in print since 1856) provides the longest–running public commentary on the opinions and attitudes of members of the Church of Ireland, and indeed the wider Protestant community on the island. It is thus a recognised resource for understanding the complexities and nuances of this identity, North and South. The project to make it available for research and public interest is a collaborative venture between the RCB Library (which holds the only complete hardcopy set) and the Editor and Board of the Gazette, and to date has been funded largely through sponsorship.

At the start of 2016, it is particularly appropriate that the Church of Ireland can now bring to light how it viewed events such as the 1916 Rising and Battle of the Somme, and make another contribution to memory and knowledge for the Decade of Commemorations.

The Gazette was originally published and printed by its founder/proprietor Mr James Charles, from his premises at 61 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. In the initial stages, it is likely that Charles took a lead role in the editorial style, format and layout of the publication, but there was no official editor as such. From 1871 onwards however, editors were formally appointed all of whom were clergy until at some point between between 1906 and 1918 a layman, Ware W Wells, began to play a prominent role in the paper’s editorial work.

Crucially, Wells was in the Gazette premises in Abbey Street for the duration of events of Easter week, which gave him a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in the area near the General Post Office. As the lead article of the special edition 28 April–5 May noted, he was ‘probably at closer quarters with much of the fighting in the capital than any other civilian in Dublin’, with ‘access to special sources of information’ enabling him ‘to supply a lengthy and exhaustive analysis of the circumstances of the insurrection’. The edition (publication of which was suspended for a week because of the fighting) thus became an important contemporary source about events in Easter week, and was reprinted and went to wide circulation for a general audience – well beyond the Church of Ireland community.

The Gazette office premises in Middle Abbey Street reportedly had a remarkable escape from the fire which devastated the Sackville Street, and it was the last building on its side of the street to be saved from the fire which ‘stopped immediately short of this office’.

For all of these reports, and much more on a wide range of topics, the public is now invited to explore the Gazette.

The Church of Ireland Historical Centenaries Working Group wish to acknowledge the valuable contribution and support of the Commemorations Programme of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in bringing both these projects to completion.

The RCB Library, which manages the project, is delighted to acknowledge the support of the Irish Government for this significant contribution to knowledge, and service provider Informa for delivering the exceptionally high–quality search engine, which is available via this link from 1st January 2016:




Church of Ireland
For further information please contact: 
Church of Ireland Press Office
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
Belfast, BT1 2QH
Tel: (028) 9082 8880 (from NI)
Tel: (048) 9082 8880 (from RoI)
Fax (028) 9032 3554
Email: Press Office


Paul Harron: (duty phone) +44 (0)7787 881582 
Peter Cheney (duty phone) +44 (0)7774295369
Janet Maxwell: (duty phone) +353 (0)87 948 4412