11 Aug 2022

Kilkenny photographer wins Wikimedia award

Wiki Loves Folklore 2022 in Ireland


Quern stone at Rothe House. Picture: A.-K. D., CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

An online photography competition that aims to share "Ireland's intangible cultural heritage with the world" has named a local winner.

Kilkenny photographer Anne-Karoline Distel took her photograph of an ancient quern stone that is on display in Rothe House, in Kilkenny City. The photo, above, took third place in the recent competition held on Wikimedia Commons in the 'Wiki loves folklore in Ireland' category.

Wikimedia Commons is an online media repository of open images, sounds, videos and other media. It holds more than 80 million free-to-use media files, managed and editable by registered volunteers.

This competition takes place every year in spring. Anyone can enter the competition, and there are similar ones like 'Wiki Loves Monuments' for built heritage and 'Wiki Loves Earth' for natural heritage which are also hosted by local Wikimedia affiliates annually.

The jury consisted of Clodagh Doyle, Keeper National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Michael Fortune, folklorist, and Manchán Magan, writer, traveller and television programme maker.

Quern stones were used in Kilkenny until the middle of the 20th century (according to an article in the Old Kilkenny Review 1971) to grind grains into flour. A wooden handle in the off-centre hole was used to rotate the mill stone. 

Uploading photographs  which you have taken yourself to Wikimedia is an easy and great way to promote local heritage: In the case of the quern stone, it means that anyone anywhere in the world searching for royalty free images of quern stones for a Wikipedia article, a powerpoint presentation, a book, newsletter or any type of publication can use the image. The only condition is the correct attribution which can easily be found when clicking on the download button. 

The Wiki Loves Monuments competition features a useful map of sites where images are still lacking for monuments in your area: CLICK HERE.  

In County Kilkenny, it applies mostly to churches, church ruins and bridges. Sadly, the main contributors in Kilkenny City are foreign visitors who sometimes remember the location wrong where they took the pictures or get confused about the two cathedrals or the many duplicate names for Protestant and Catholic churches. How much easier would it be for locals to attribute the right name to the photograph! 

Rebecca O’Neill, Wikimedia Community Ireland commented: “The variety of images uploaded this year was a real delight, and we wish all our participants good luck in the international competition!” 

This would make a great family project during the summer holidays! 

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