Offaly History in 'citizen science' appeal during Covid crisis

Ger Scully


Ger Scully



Michael Byrne, Secretary of Offaly History

OFFALY History Society has issued a “citizen science” appeal asking people to help them record the history of coronavirus in the county.

“We are living in extraordinary times - a moment in history that will be remembered forever. Just as historians and scientists today have learnt from the contemporary accounts kept during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, we can ensure that the experience of Covid-19 is documented for future researchers,” said local historian Michael Byrne, Secretary of the Society.
He said people can help out by keeping a diary of their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It can be as simple or as detailed as you like, recording your everyday lived experience in Offaly during the pandemic. You can make it anonymous or personal and we will preserve it forever in Offaly Archives,” he explained.

Added Mr Byrne: “No detail is too big or too small. How is the situation affecting you, your friends and family? What is the weather like? Do you have any observations on nature/wildlife? How are you spending each day? What are you eating/cooking? What can you buy or not buy in the shops? What do you miss doing? Are you able to continue with your work/hobbies? How has your schooling or university education been affected?”

Offaly History Society stressed that anyone can take part from all walks of life and all ages,  including children.

Said Mr Byrne: “Your diary can be in electronic format (for example, a Word document) or hand-written on any type of paper. You can submit photographs of your street/area, or maybe an  oral-history recording.”

The Society will also let people know how and when to submit their diaries to the archive through the Tribune, their monthly newsletter or in social media postings.
All diaries will be treated sensitively, said Mr Byrne.

“ Archives, such as a diary with personal information, are often closed from access for a long period of time. When this period of time elapses, a diary can become a valuable record with a wider significance. For future generations, it can become an important historical source,” he outlined.