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 documentary history. 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. Now, Beyond 2022 is working to recreate, digitally, this lost national treasure. This all-island and international research program combines historical research, archival discovery and technical innovation to track down copies and transcripts of original records lost in 1922. Reuniting collections scattered around the globe, the aim of Beyond 2022 is to launch, on 30 June 2022, the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland —an open-access, virtual reconstruction of the Record Treasury destroyed at the PROI in 1922.
Dr Ciarán Wallace, Deputy Director of Beyond 2022 will reintroduce the Public Record Office of Ireland, a remarkable, and forgotten, institution whose fifty-five year history has become hidden by the smoke from the Four Courts fire, before turning to the fascinating research being conducted by the Beyond 2022 project. Finally, he will give a preview of the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland, allowing the public to enter the archive for the first time in a century.
Ciarán was a co-designer of Trinity’s inaugural Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) ‘Irish Lives in War and Rebellion: 1912-1923’ and he has worked on a number of Digital Humanities projects. He is a founder and convenor of the Dublin History Research Network. Ciarán’s publications include works on Dublin history, civil society, political cartoons and online-learning.