Jul 1, 2022

Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland Connects Millions of Lost Records

The following was written by Killian Downing and published in the Europeana Pro web site:

This week sees the launch of the innovative new digital archive, the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland, which makes a rich array of historical documents available for research, education and enjoyment. Europeana Members Councillor and Dublin City University archivist Killian Downing tells us about how the Virtual Record Treasury was created and its significance.

The newly launched Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland is a digital archive which combines historical investigation, archival discovery, conservation and technical innovation to re-imagine and recreate, through digital technologies, archives lost at the beginning of the Irish Civil War. For the first time in 100 years, researchers will be able to ‘step back in time’ to explore a virtual recreation of the Public Record Office of Ireland and its collections which were destroyed in a fire on 30 June 1922.

In June 1922, the Public Record Office of Ireland stored over seven centuries of Irish records dating back to the time of the Normans in Ireland. Hundreds of thousands of precious historical documents relating to all aspects of Irish life were lost, including invaluable census records dating from before the Irish Famine in the 1840s. 

The Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland has been developed by Beyond 2022, an international collaborative research project working to create a virtual reconstruction of the destroyed Public Record Office of Ireland. Beyond 2022 has been developed by historians in Trinity College Dublin and computer scientists in the Science Foundation Ireland ADAPT Centre, in partnership with five core partners: National Archives, Ireland, National Archives, UK, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Library of Trinity College Dublin. 

Rich collections and digitally reconnected archives

The Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland now provides access to 50 million words of searchable text spanning seven centuries; 150,000+ database records; 6,000+ maps; and 2.7 million knowledge graph triples. It brings together a rich array of replacement and surrogate records digitally repatriated from archival collections around the world, within an immersive 3D reconstruction of the destroyed building. 

You can read more at:

The Virtual Record Treasury is an open-access resource, freely available online to all those interested in Irish history around the world – explore it now.