In April 2010 the Department of History in the University of Limerick organised a symposium on oral history at which Regina Fitzpatrick of the GAA Oral History Project called for participants who might be interested in setting up an Irish oral history society. The symposium was a follow-up to a very successful summer school held in Limerick the previous year.
In June 2010 a further meeting brought together representatives of local history groups, independent scholars and professional historians to discuss what shape an Irish oral history society might take. In the following months after that initial meeting, preparations were made to set up a website and to have an inaugural conference at which the network would be formally launched.
From the beginning, it was agreed that the Oral History Network of Ireland would work to bring together individuals, local history groups and academics, collecting and using oral history, so that each could learn from the other. An all-Ireland approach was also agreed to be essential and connections were established with oral history groups in Northern Ireland. Among the founding members were representatives of Cuimhneamh an Chláir, the Clare Oral History and Folklore Group, the GAA Oral History Project, the Cork Northside Folklore Project, The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning Project, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, the University of Limerick and the Centre for Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College, Dublin.
The Oral History Network of Ireland Limited is a company limited by guarantee incorporated on 23 March 2011. The company has charitable status and our charity number is CHY 19806. The company was formed from members of the initial steering committee to carry on the business of the network and to organise the inaugural conference.