THE ' THEN and Now' project was launched last week at the Glenview Hotel by Minister Fergus O'Dowd.
He launched the project at the County and City Librarians Conference to mark The Gathering Ireland 2013.
The national project aims to support the Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative to bring 325,000 tourists to Ireland throughout 2013.
The ' Then and Now' project will utilise the local history collections available to libraries across the country to create an exciting and unique Gathering Ireland 2013 invitation. Each local authority will choose six photos from their collections, some dating back to the early 20th Century, depicting scenes across their locality
contemporary version of these images has been commissioned and postcards have been made depicting both images, side by side.
These ' Then and Now' images will be sent to people who have left the various cities and counties as an invitation for them to return to visit next year.
The postcards will also be distributed by County and City managers and Councillors to groups abroad, inviting them back to that county for the Gathering Ireland 2013.
Jim Miley Project Director of The Gathering Ireland 2013 said ' This project is a great example of the ways in which people can encourage visitors to come to Ireland in 2013. At its core the Gathering Ireland is looking for people to extend an invitation to someone abroad and these postcards are a wonderful means of bringing that invitation to life in a new and interesting way. I want to thank the people involved for their hard work at getting this project off the ground'
'Ireland's public libraries are a wonderful historical resource and we really wanted to delve into our archives and do something very special for the Gathering Ireland 2013,' said Wicklow County Librarian Brendan Martin who spearheaded the project.
'We hope to create an exhibition of the photos in every public library next year so that locals and visitors alike can see what Ireland's towns and cities looked like years ago and how they look today.'
Minister O'Dowd congratulated Brendan and his team for their support of The Gathering.
For more information go to www.thegatheringireland.com