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NLI acquires Press Photographers Ireland Covid-19 photographic collection

'Life under Covid-19 in Ireland’ archive contains close to 200 press images documenting the country’s experience of the pandemic

Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Pictured at an event to mark the donation of the Press Photographers Ireland (formerly PPAI) donation of their collection 'Life under Covid-19' to the National Library of Ireland are from L-R: Frank Miller (PPI), Professor Luke O'Neill, and Dr Audrey Whitty, Director of the National Library of Ireland.

L-R: Frank Miller (PPI), Professor Luke O'Neill, and Dr Audrey Whitty, NLI Director 

The National Library of Ireland marked the acquisition of Press Photographers Ireland (formerly PPAI) ‘Life under Covid-19 in Ireland' collection of press photography and videography with an evening reception yesterday.

The donation event was held in the National Library (on 15.04.24), and attended by members of PPI and Professor Luke O’Neill.

Taken between 2020-2021, the donated archive comprises 200+ digital images and features the work of more than 70 press photographers across the country.

Documenting life in Ireland during the pandemic, it includes photos of social distancing; widespread mask-wearing; vaccination centres; sports teams playing to empty stadia (and prospective spectators watching through locked gates); deserted streets; healthcare workers in full PPE, as well as how people communicated with the elderly or medically vulnerable, and communities coming together – in a socially distanced way – to pay respect to the work of Ireland’s frontline workers.

It also captures photos of key officials, such as Taoiseach Simon Harris, then Minister for Health; former Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Houlihan, and immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill. Professor Luke O'Neill delivered a speech last night noting that the reception at the National Library ""could be the first semi-public event marking and taking the time to reflect on Covid-19 [in Ireland]."

Dr Audrey Whitty said: “The National Library of Ireland is Ireland’s memory-keeper. In the 21st century, as the world embraces digital over print, it is essential that we evolve with technology so that culturally significant ‘born digital’ collections can be collected, managed, and made available for future generations.”

The ‘Life under Covid-19' digital archive will be made available to the public later this year, when it has been catalogued. The National Library is home to the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar.

Read the full press release.