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Major Development Project Begins to Preserve Ireland's 'Precious' National Archives

30 May 2024 6:03 PM | Anonymous

A MAJOR expansion of the site where Ireland’s national archives are held has begun this week.

The state-of-the-art upgrade of the archive repository at the National Archives on Bishop Street in Dublin 8 is designed to “future-proof the records of the State over the coming decades in a purpose-built, modern archive building”.

Costing €37m, the redevelopment project, which is due to be completed in 65 weeks, is being funded by the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and is being delivered in partnership with the Office of Public Works.

It falls under the National Cultural Institutions investment programme as part of Project Ireland 2040.

Speaking as the project started on May 22, Culture Minister Cartherine Martin said: “I am delighted to be here today as work begins on transforming the archive repository at the National Archives.

“We saw, during the Decade of Centenaries, the vital role the National Archives plays in preserving the precious records of the State.

“The expansion and conversion of the Bishop St building to a modern, state of the art, secure and environmentally-controlled repository, complying with internationally accepted archival storage standards, will provide an increase of two-thirds in the total storage capacity of the National Archives.”

She added: “This is significant project for one of our Cultural Institutions and ensures the National Archives can meet its evolving needs in a sustainable and future-proofed manner.”

The collections held in the National Archives total over 50 million official records dating from the 16th century to records relating to the modern Irish state.

Currently the Archives team are working on the public release of the 1926 Census, the first census of the Irish Free State, which will be released in April 2026.

The main collections of the National Archives are kept securely at buildings on Bishop Street, Dublin 8 where there are also public reading rooms, office accommodation and archival storage.

However, despite its very large footprint, the Bishop Street building – which was formerly the site of a Jacobs biscuit factory - has been unable to take records at volume since 2013.

The re-development will accommodate over 300,000 archive boxes in a purpose-built, dedicated archival repository, designed with ground works, foundations and services that offer the potential to develop future archival storage vaults if required over time.

You can read a lot more in an article written by Fiona Audley and published in the Irish Post web site at:

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