Before the 19th century, Dublin used to be organised along an East-West axis, now its divided into North and South

Dublin to train AI to transcribe 19-century historic records

Dublin to train AI to transcribe 19-century historic records

Volunteers will digitalise city records mapping the city’s transition from the Middle Ages to the modern day and their work will serve as the basis

Today, local authorities in Dublin announced the new ‘Transcription Week’ event, which will take place between 28 March and 1 April. During the event, hundreds of volunteers will transcribe 18- and 19-century municipal documents that will later be made available to the public.

The work will be done through Dublin City Libraries and the Digital Repository of Ireland, which are looking to recruit more volunteers for remote work. People will have to transcribe over 40,000 pages of handwritten jury deliberations, maps and more.

The finished transcripts will make these historic documents easy to access, available to historians and researchers. The texts will also be able to run screen-reading tools used by the visually impaired.

Furthermore, the work from the volunteers will be used to train an Artificial Intelligence programme, that will be used to transcribe even more documents in the future.

Dublin’s 200 years of transformation

The series of documents are ‘The Wide Street Commission’ which redesigned Dublin from a medieval city to a more modern one and the Dublin City Council Manuscript Minutes, Dublin’s first elected public body. These documents cover 200 years of city history, between 1695 and 1881, the years that saw Dublin’s transformation.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Wide Streets Commission rearranged the city from an east-west axis to a north-south axis. The commission reordered streets along a grid and developed new bridges, including O'Connell Bridge, now the main link between North and South Dublin. The documents also include draft decisions, that could have changed the face of the Irish capital were they to be implemented.

The elected Dublin City Council was established in 1840 and, although voting was restricted to property owners, according to a statement by the city, the council did see a large Catholic to Protestant ratio.

Furthermore, Dublin City Council and the position of Lord Mayor did facilitate power-sharing between different groups in the country, with a nationalist Lord Mayor one year and a Unionist another. In 1841 Daniel O’Connell, nicknamed ‘the Liberator’, became the first Catholic Lord Mayor in over 150 years. 



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