Four Courts Fire From Wikimedia Commons
As anyone that has done some Irish family history research knows, there is a terrible problem caused by the destruction of many of the records that were formally held at the Four Courts building in Dublin in 1922 by fire.
This week the welcome news from Ireland is that they think that they will be able to recreate a huge number of them!
Any one who knows their history is aware that the fire happened during the Civil War when the west wing of the building that once held the four courts caught on fire. This had been where the Public Records Office (PRO) had been for Ireland and it had been the home of many genealogical treasures including the Irish census returns, originals of Irish wills dating to the 16th century, as well as in excess of 1,000 Church of Ireland parish registers containing baptism, marriage and burial records and many, but not all, were lost.
The destruction happened on 30 June 1922 when, after a two-day bombardment, an explosion and then a huge fire ravaged the building. For the benefit of those that aren’t aware, the Irish Civil War was the conflict that followed on from the Irish War of Independence and occurred as a reaction to the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire. It was fought between the pro-treaty Provisional Government and the anti-treaty IRA over the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Now, the new project, ‘Beyond 2022, Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury’ has been launched. It is a collaborative project led by Trinity College Dublin in partnership with the National Archives of Ireland, The National Archives of the UK, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission. It aims to re-imagine and re-create, through virtual reality, the archival collections that were lost.
To find out more have a look at this website: https://beyond2022.ie/
There are many reports in the media that give you more information on this exciting project such as this one by RTE, the Irish Broadcaster, that was the first one I saw, but not the last as many others have run the story:
Or you can have a look at this YouTube Video: