Monday 11 December 2017

Technology lights up 1795 lotto ticket

Ciaran Byrne

IT could have been you (well, one of your ancestors at any rate). Nobody knows if a rare 1795 lottery ticket actually won the owner a one-sixteenth share of the eventual jackpot.

But the ticket went on display yesterday at the National Library in Dublin, 215 years after being bought by a woman playing the 'Irish Lottery'.

'Lotto' and 'Euromillions' were unheard of back then but Ireland and Britain enjoyed a number of thriving lotteries.

On the back of the ticket is the signature of a 'Mrs Byrne' from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire).

The ticket is part of a collection of rare items that were once deemed too light or air-sensitive to be displayed.

But using a new 'discovery table', visitors can examine around 40 items embedded under glass and ask a computer for extra information and images using digital tools.

With Microsoft's 'Silverlight' technology, visitors can use the interactive-table installation in the centre of the exhibition to view close-ups of these objects.

Included in the 'Discover' exhibition is a letter from Easter Rising leader Eamonn Ceannt to his wife, that was written only hours before his execution on May 8, 1916.

A deed signed by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1588 leasing land to a Sir Denis Fisher near his Mogeely estate in Fermoy, Co Cork is also available to see for the first time, as well as a perfect set of 1926 cigarette cards illustrated by Jack B Yeats.

The National Library, in partnership with Microsoft Ireland and Dublin company Martello Media, developed the 'discovery table' to allow more people to access their collections.

"This is making history accessible in a way we could never have imagined," said Elizabeth Kirwan, assistant keeper, preservation, with the National Library.

Speaking at the launch, Microsoft Ireland managing director Paul Rellis said: "This project shows the potential technology has to bring arts and culture to more people."

The National Library has the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Irish documentary material --almost eight million items.

The free 'Discover' exhibition is now open to the public.

Irish Independent

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