Cartlann Naisiunta na hEireann

  • The National Archives of Ireland

History

The National Archives was established on 1 June 1988 following the amalgamation of the State Paper Office (SPO) and the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI).

The SPO was established in 1702 as a repository for records relating to the administrations of the various Lords Lieutenant (the English monarch’s representative in Ireland) who, until that date, had taken all of their records with them on leaving office. The SPO was situated in Dublin Castle until 1990.

The PROI was established under the Public Records (Ireland) Act, 1867 to acquire administrative, court and probate records over twenty years old. The PROI building in the Four Courts was seized during the Civil War. The repository building was destroyed by fire in June 1922, along with most of the records, some dating back to the 13th century.

Following the establishment of the modern Irish state in 1922, the PROI and SPO continued to function until the enactment of the National Archives Act, 1986, which transferred their functions and holdings to the newly established National Archives. Under this legislation, records of Government Departments and their agencies are transferred to the National Archives when they are 30 years old.

In 1989, the Government assigned premises at Bishop Street in Dublin to the National Archives. The premises of the former SPO in the Record Tower at Dublin Castle was vacated in August 1991 and the headquarters of the National Archives moved from the Four Courts to Bishop Street in September 1992.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The National Archives is governed by a number of acts and regulations, the most important of which can be found here:

https://www.nationalarchives.ie/what-we-do/governing-legislation/

Archival and Other Holdings

National Archives hold records of government of the modern Irish state from its foundation to approximately 1988.

Departmental records include all records made, or received, and held in the course of business by all government departments, court offices and bodies, including the Central Statistics Office, the Ordnance Survey and the Valuation Office, among others that are listed in the schedule to the National Archives Act, 1986.

National Archives holdings also include a number of major collections acquired as a result to the amalgamation of the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) and the State Paper Office in 1988, following the establishment of the National Archives. These include archives of the British administration in Ireland from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the largest collection of which is the Chief Secretary’s Office Registered Papers.

National Archives also continues to uphold the tradition begun by the PROI to acquire private collections that complement our holdings, including business records, medical collections, solicitors’ collections and some landed estate collections. Our collections are particularly useful for anyone interested in researching the political, social and economic development of Ireland from the 18th century to the present day. Many of our collections are also extremely valuable for family and local history research.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

National Archives has produced a series of brief guides to some of the most important, or heavily consulted, collections they hold. These guides can be found here:

https://www.nationalarchives.ie/historical-records/research-guides-sources/

There is also an online catalogued which can be found here:

https://www.nationalarchives.ie/search-the-online-catalogue/simple/

Opening Times

Monday to Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Documents and microfilms may be ordered by researchers from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Archives ordered by a researcher in person which are held in off-site storage are delivered to the reading room by 9:15 a.m. the following working day.

Researchers are advised to check the status of the archives they have ordered by phoning in advance of their visit.

Conditions of Access

Any member of the public in possession of a valid reader’s ticket is permitted to access the reading room of the National Archives.

In order to obtain a reader's ticket, researchers must fill out an official application form. The form may be downloaded and filled out in advance but tickets will only be issued in person.

Members of the public may apply for a reader’s ticket on their first visit to the National Archives provided they have with them photographic identification as well as proof of their permanent address, which must not be older than six months. Existing researchers applying for a renewal of their ticket must also produce photographic identification and proof of address. The tickets, which are free of charge, are issued for a period of three years and are valid only in the National Archives.

Accessibility

The National Archives building in Bishop Street is fully accessible to readers and members of the public with reduced mobility. The lift in the entrance hall can be used to gain access to the main ground floor level (reception, locker room and toilets). The main building lift gives access to the reading room and associated facilities, including the Duty Archivist’s office, Genealogy Service and toilets.

Visitors should note the reading room is located on the 5th floor and is accessible by lift or stairs only.

Research Services

A Duty Archivist is available each day to provide advice to researchers and answer questions on our holdings. A reader’s ticket is required to access this service.'

The National Archives also provides a free genealogy advisory service Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for members of the public with questions relating to family history. The service is staffed by professional genealogists and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. A reader’s ticket is required to access this service.

Reproduction Services

The National Archives provides a copy order service to members of the public who require certified copies for legal purposes or those who require plain copies for information and are not in a position to travel to Dublin to consult the original material. For a list of charges, see:

https://www.nationalarchives.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/NationalArchivesAct_FeesRegulations2012.pdf

Sources

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