Visit the Virtual Treasury No one alive today has ever stepped foot in the Record Treasury destroyed a century ago — but now you can re-enter in Virtual Reality. The Record Treasury held seven centuries of Irish history and was destroyed in the Battle of the Four Courts on 30 June 1922. The high walls with their elegant windows,the long glass roof, and metal floors and bays of shelving — along with the hundreds of thousands of precious documents — were all lost. It was a great cultural tragedy of the Civil War. Now, it has been recreated.
Your tour starts outside the entrance of the Public Record Office of Ireland. The building is in two parts. Find out how one section survived while another was completely destroyed.
Around the outside of the building, learn about the events of 1922: the occupation of the Four Courts, the outbreak of the Civil War, and the terrible fire on 30 June 1922.
Click on the exhibition markers to find out more and see extraordinary photographs from the time.
Next, step through the front porch. You are re-entering the Public Record Office of Ireland, just as it looked before 1922. As you walk through the entrance door, stop and admire the ornate stairway.
Then, walk through the double-doors into the Reading Room. This is where the people sat to examine the historic documents, under the careful eye of the archivists at their desks.
Click on the exhibition markers to find out more about the people who worked here and how the room survived the fire of 1922.
Finally, go inside the wonderful Record Treasury. Look up and around at the high floors of shelving. There are treasures waiting to be discovered!
Right after the fire in 1922 the staff pulled a few rare damaged and burnt records from the rubble. Follow the waymarkers upstairs and search for some of these surprising survivors. Parcels of burnt records, wrapped in brown paper, damaged documents and books with bullet wounds are on the first few floors. Go up another level and you might find fragile pages that came out of the ruins, their burnt edges showing where the flames stopped.
Climb up to the top of the Treasury for a real treat. Directly under the huge glass roof are fragments of burnt pages — but what was written on them? Nobody knows. Our creative artist takes you on her creative journey to reimagine some of these fragments of a lost past. What do you think was written on the rest of the page before the flames ate it up leaving just this little piece?
On the ground floor of the Record Treasury you will see a model of the whole building. For a final surprise, why not open the entire building like a giant dolls-house? Click on the model to reveal the whole building.
Now you can find out how we have recovered documents lost 100 years ago! These are all replacement documents — duplicates, copies, and sometimes even photographs made before the fire.
Some documents are over 800 years old. As well as documents, there are beautiful maps of Ireland.
These replacement documents come from all around the country and the world. They are now back on the shelves of the Treasury, where they lived before the fire.
Each one is the start of a journey back into Ireland’s past.
Which one will you explore first?