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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 11:32 GMT
NI culture goes online
 St Anne's Cathedral
St Anne's Cathedral is a major cultural attraction in Belfast

The rich and diverse culture of Northern Ireland is now available to browse at the click of a mouse.

An online cultural 'atlas' looks at literature, theatre and visual arts as well as sports and industry and the political and architectural heritage of the province.

CultureNorthernIreland is aimed at visitors or those planning a trip to the province, as well as those with an interest in culture and heritage.

The site builds on the knowledge of locally-based contributors and is based around a framework of almost 300 separate towns, villages and rural communities.

CultureNorthernIreland is set to become the one stop shop for all of our cultural needs
John Gray
Linen Hall Library
Over the years, it is to be developed into an invaluable resource as people are invited to contribute material and enrich its pictures of culture and heritage in their locality.

It will act as a 'gateway' between key agencies in the province, making finding information on culture and heritage a much easier task It already includes almost 500,000 words.

Current content comes from the likes of museums, historical and cultural societies and councils.

Launched on Monday, the website is a partnership between the Linen Hall Library in Belfast and the Nerve Centre in Londonderry, which has been funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

At a recent preview of the site, Linen Hall librarian John Gray said: "The site allows us all to explore our history, heritage, and diversity and find out what and who has made this the place that it is today, and who will be shaping it for tomorrow.

"With further partners on the project, CultureNorthernIreland is set to become the one stop shop for all of our cultural needs."

There is currently English Language content about Irish and Ulster-Scots topics and, as the site develops, there will be opportunities for a range of content to be expressed through the medium of Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Also in the pipeline is information on local folklore and legend as well as profiles of actors, musicians and writers from around Northern Ireland.

The Linen Hall Library is Ireland's last remaining subscription library, and one of Northern Ireland's major local studies resources.

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