Creating the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

Creating the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

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  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
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  • Admission: Free entry

A century of recovery… and beyond.

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up.  Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

This event will take place in the (air conditioned) British Library Entrance Hall. When you arrive at the Library please head to the main entrance and follow the signage.

On 30 June 1922 a massive explosion and fire destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland in the opening engagement of the Irish Civil War. The Four Courts complex, where the Record Office was located, had been occupied by opponents of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. The battle to retake the complex left Record Office in ruins. Seven centuries of Irish records dating back to the time of the Normans were lost – seemingly forever. While incomparable with the loss of human life, the destruction of seven centuries of records was among the worst cultural tragedies of 20th-century Irish history.

‘The fire left little but tangled iron work, blocks of masonry, mason rubbish and the charred fragments and ashes of what had once been Public Records.’

Now, these records are being reconstructed through a remarkable research project, which is working to virtually restore as much as possible of what was lost. Millions of words from destroyed documents have been reassembled from copies, transcripts and records scattered among other collections and archives. 

It is bringing together this rich array of replacement items as an open-access resource, and a virtual recreation of the Public Record Office building, freely available to all those interested in Irish history.

Beyond 2022 is an all-Ireland and international collaboration, which – on the centenary of the Four Courts blaze – is launching the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland online.

Join some of the team behind this remarkable restoration, to discover how a moment of destruction has been reversed through painstaking research and partnership.

With Dr Peter Crooks and Dr Ciarán Wallace, (Director and Deputy Director, Beyond 2022) Dr Sarah Hendriks and Dr Elizabeth Biggs (Beyond 2022 Research Fellows at the National Archives UK). The event includes a screening of a new artwork by artist and filmmaker, Mairéad McClean, Decade of Centenaries Artist in Residence with Beyond 2022

This free event celebrates the international partnership behind the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland, and explores how the collections of the British Library, The National Archives UK and other memory institutions across Britain and the world can help to revitalise access to Ireland’s deep history.

Image shows the Public Cord Office before 1922, and a virtual reality reconstruction.

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely

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Name: Creating the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546