Launch of special issue of Analecta Hibernica

Analecta Hibernica No. 53 editors with the IMC Chair and Professor Thomas O’Connor who launched the special Decade of Centenaries issue.
L-R: Dr Peter Crooks, Professor Thomas O’Connor, Dr Elva Johnston, Professor John McCafferty and Dr Timothy Murtagh

IMC is delighted to report the launch of Analecta Hibernica No. 53: Special Issue – The fire of 1922, edited by Peter Crooks, Elva Johnston and Timothy Murtagh at an event held in No. 45 Merrion Square this evening.

This issue, a collaboration with the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland (VRTI), is one of IMC’s Decade of Centenaries publications and presents nine documents reflecting seven centuries of Irish history from the collections of the National Archives, Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the National Archives, UK and the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC.

Professor John McCafferty, Chair of IMC, welcomed the editors, contributors and guests to 45 Merrion Square to celebrate the publication of this commemorative volume.

Launching the volume, Professor Tom O’Connor likened the loss of the Public Record Office on 30 June 1922 to a bereavement. There was no time to appreciate the full significance of the loss of centuries of documentary records against the backdrop of civil war and the struggles of a fledgling state trying to get up and running. He suggested that after the passage of time and several phases of both grieving and apportioning blame, the nation had come to terms with its loss and finds itself “empowered to do something really daring with the retrieved experience”. He paid tribute to the “historical reimagining” of the virtual record treasury and of replacing copies of lost items on virtual shelves. He declared that through the “cybernetic portals of Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland” we had invited back to Dublin “not only the orphaned fragments of the old PROI but also their scattered kin from around the globe”. He hailed the “kinetic” vision of the VRTI as setting “a new world standard for archives and archiving” and formally launched Analecta Hibernica No. 53 as the embodiment of that vision.

On behalf of the editors, Dr Peter Crooks responded and thanked all of the contributors to the special issue outlining the diversity of the documentary sources they had presented. He pointed out that “while this special issue of Analecta Hibernica marks the centenary of a ‘national calamity’ — the fire of 1922 — it also celebrates the contribution of the IMC as a core partner within the ‘Beyond 2022’ research programme, which has created the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland as a dynamic legacy for the Decade of Centenaries.” Remarking on the photographic essay which concludes the issue he said “working on records salvaged from the ruins of the PROI — whose conservation at NAI was sponsored by IMC across two phases of research — has been an immense privilege. The visual sample of salved documents tells a powerful story of loss and recovery, and should animate further exploration of these precious fragments of our shared history.” 

Professor McCafferty thanked everyone who had contributed to this special issue and the event to mark its publication.

Analecta Hibernica No. 53 is available to order from the IMC website or through any good bookshop.