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All Irish records were destroyed in the fire in 1922 – oh my goodness, how many times have I heard this so-called ‘fact’??  Of course that statement is totally wrong BUT there WERE MANY important records destroyed in the Four Courts fire on 30 June 1922.

Here are a few facts:

  • June 1922 to May 1924 – Civil War
  • 28 June to 5 July 1922 – Battle of Dublin
  • Assault by Provisional Government forces on the Four Courts building – garrison of the Irish Republican Army Executive
  • The Irish Public Record Office was located in the western block of the Four Courts
  • It was used as an ammunition store by the Four Courts Garrison
  • Shelling of the Four Courts resulted in the first
  • Fires cause the explosion – 30 June 1922

What was lost?

  • Apart from fragments: Irish Census of 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851
  • Just over half of the Anglican Church of Ireland Registers deposited there following disestablishment of the state church in 1869 [Church of Ireland families – never more than 25% of the population]
  • Majority of wills and testamentary records that have been proved in Ireland – BUT transcripts of many survive
  • All pre-1900 documents from the legal courts, as were local government records for the same period

What wasn’t available anyway!

  • 1861 and 1871 Irish Census – these records were destroyed shortly after the census was taken
  • 1881 and 1891 Irish Census – these records were pulped during WWI due to a paper shortage

What survived or was elsewhere?

  • 1901 and 1911 Irish census returns
  • All civil registration records (BDMs)
  • Nearly half of all Church of Ireland parish registers
  • Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial records
  • Presbyterian baptism, marriage and burial records
  • Methodist baptism, marriage and burial records
  • Griffiths Valuation records and maps
  • Tithe Applotment books
  • Indexes to wills and probate bonds
  • A good number of local muster rolls, poll tax lists and other records dating back to early 1600s
  • Thousands of other records
  • Millions of non-government records

The most important advancement for family history researchers into Irish records –

Beyond 2022 – Vision

June 30th, 2022, marks the centenary of the terrible explosion and fire at the Four Courts, Dublin, which destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) and, with it, seven centuries of Ireland’s collective memories. While incomparable with the loss of human life, the destruction of the Record Treasury at the PROI was one of the great tragedies of the Civil War.

Beyond 2022 is an all-island and international collaboration. Working together, we will launch a Virtual Record Treasury for Irish history—an open-access, virtual reconstruction of the Record Treasury destroyed in 1922.

Combining historical research, archival discovery and technical innovation, Beyond 2022 offers a lasting and meaningful legacy from the Decade of Centenaries, democratising access to invaluable records and illuminating seven centuries of Irish history.

Visit the Beyond 2022 website and explore the videos and progress that has already been made.