Trinity College Dublin has commenced a project in conjunction with a number of archival partners including the National Archives here in Ireland; the National Archives (UK); the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission to digitally restore the layout and make-up of the Record Treasury of the Public Records Office that was destroyed at the commencement of the Irish Civil war in 1922. This project has been titled Beyond 2022?.
The Beyond 2022 team is working to assemble a complete inventory of loss and survival of the 1922 fire. In doing so, the team has identified ten main categories of surviving or substitute sources:
- Survivors: records that survived almost unscathed because they were held in the Reading Room of the Public Record Office, not the Record Treasury itself
- Salved records: records damaged by the fire, but not completely destroyed, now in varying states of conservation
- Duplicates of original records now held in partner archives
- Facsimile images made before 1922
- Antiquarian transcripts
- Printed editions
- Certified copies
- Published calendars summarizing the contents of the records
- Unpublished calendars in manuscript form
- Legal abstracts
- The aim is to gather into a single database all the information from surviving and substitute sources from archives and libraries in Ireland and internationally. The entire archive will be fully searchable, with its contents ranging from basic descriptions to fully restored records ranging in date from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It will not be possible to digitally restore the full contents of the Record Treasury, but visitors to this virtual archive will now be able to see what the archive held before its destruction and a large amount of material that thankfully was either copied, duplicated or transcribed to other sources.