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Exhibition: Society & State – Ireland Through Its Records



The Irish Free State came into existence in December 1922 after a decade of upheaval and revolution. A snapshot of the new state was taken on 18 April 1926, when the first post-independence census was held. It provided the government of the day with a portrait of Ireland and its people.

Census 1926 is due for public release in 2026 and this exhibition takes that first census as a starting point to explore aspects of life in independent Ireland as reflected in a selection of records retained in the National Archives. These records reveal how the State and Irish society interacted from the 1920s to the end of the twentieth century.


Society & State: Ireland Through Its Records consists of a selection of over one hundred records from the National Archives, many on public display for the first time; wall-mounted, illustrated exhibition text; and archival film footage relating to a range of themes, including:

  • Identities
  • The state and its citizens
  • Leisure and popular culture
  • Public religion and public morality
  • Infrastructure
  • Securing the state
  • Irish work and Irish workers
  • Migration
  • Ireland and the wider world
  • The arts
  • Social change


Exhibition dates: 17 April – 8 September 2024

Opening hours: 10am – 5pm daily

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens, Dame Street, Dublin 2, D02 X822

Admission free