Progress report March 2021
From the first meet on the Sugar Loaf in 1948 and the formation of the Belfast Section in March 1952 the IMC was the face of Irish Mountaineering and was the primary publisher of guidebooks until the establishment in 1971 of the Federation of Mountaineering Clubs of Ireland (FMCI) – the predecessor of Mountaineering Ireland (MI).
The Club has much material from the past 70 years stored in a filing cabinet in the Cow House at the IMC Hut in Glendassan. To quote Ed Hick, Hut Warden, “There’s plenty of archives in the hut that could do with a safe, warm place to be stored. Handwritten stuff from the 50’s onwards”
I am working with MI to obtain use of a secure storage/workspace on the Sport Ireland campus but progress has been slow due to Covid-19 restrictions. We are conscious that there is much historically significant material from the early days that is in danger of being lost forever. The intention is to make a determined effort to collect and secure such records as soon as we have a suitable location. The collection would include artefacts such as old boots, ropes and other equipment.
In the meantime, I have been putting historic IMC films from 1950s and 1960s on-line [the originals are in the Irish Film Institute archive]. They can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/showcase/8170613 . This work is continuing.
A selection of historic IMC photographs can be viewed here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1jI93a7o0urLuLDyxRmcHAfyUscDuuDVK?usp=sharing .
Dan Shipsides collected oral histories from some of the pioneers of Irish climbing in 2010. Listen to them here https://www.irishmountaineeringclub.org/pioneers/
Ultimately the goal would be to make everything available to the public modelled on the military archives.
The IMC Library has been part of the MI library, on a loan basis, for a number of years and is not accessible at the moment because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Once the MI office is manned again members may borrow books https://www.mountaineering.ie/membersandclubs/MembersLibrary/default.aspx
The Club has received a number of books as bequests over the past couple of years. At present these are being stored at various members’ houses for safe keeping. Assuming that we get use of workspace at Sport Ireland, I intend to collect and sort this material. Valuable books and non-duplicates will be put in the library and others will be available for perusal at the Glendasan Hut.
Dónal Ó Murchú 31/03/2021