On 30 June 1922, the historic Four Courts complex on Dublin's River Liffey was heavily shelled during the Irish Civil War. At the time, The Public Records Office of Ireland, home to centuries of Irish records, was housed within The Four Courts. During the conflict explosives were detonated inside the record treasury destroying millions of Irish records forever. The loss of such significant collections has made researching family history in Ireland more challenging than it is in other countries, but it's far from impossible.
We've documented exactly what was lost, what survived the fire and the many alternative sources and substitutes available for building your Irish family tree on our special Ashes to Archives page.
The National Archives of Ireland
Today, Findmypast works in partnership with The National Archives of Ireland, the modern-day equivalent of The Public Records Office, to bring you the most important and interesting collections available for tracing your Irish ancestors. We are now home to the largest collection of Irish records anywhere online, and many of them have been made available online for the first time through this successful partnership.
Some of the great National Archives of Ireland collections on Findmypast include:
The two earliest censuses that survive in full, these records are the perfect starting point for tracing your Irish family history. Findmypast's versions allow you to search by birth year and look for more than one household member at a time.
Explore the remnants of Irish census records that survived The Four Courts fire. Nearly half a million records survive with particularly good coverage for counties Antrim, Cavan and Derry.
Covering over 130 years of Irish history, these exquisitely detailed records allow you to find the black sheep in your family. Over 3 million names are recorded and you'll even discover your ancestors' physical descriptions!
Discover your ancestors in over 20 million records of court proceedings around Ireland. This fantastic collection is a widely untapped resource when it comes to Irish family history research.
Exclusively online on Findmypast, nearly everybody with Dublin roots will find a connection in these fascinating registers. They detail the poorest dwellers of the Irish capital from the time of the Famine right into the early 20th century.
These are just a handful of the fantastic National Archive of Ireland resources available on Findmypast, there are many more too. You'll also find millions more records for building your Irish family tree – plenty to fill the gaps left behind by the events of 1922. Discover them all in out A-Z of records.