What we do

About the National Archives

The National Archives was established on 1 June 1988 following the amalgamation of the State Paper Office (SPO) and the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI).

The SPO was established in 1702 as a repository for records relating to the administrations of the various Lords Lieutenant (the English monarch’s representative in Ireland) who until that date, had taken all of their records with them on leaving office. The SPO was situated in Dublin Castle until 1990.

The PROI was established under the Public Records (Ireland) Act, 1867 to acquire administrative, court and probate records over twenty years old. The PROI building in the Four Courts was seized during the Civil War. The repository building was destroyed by fire in June 1922, along with most of the records, some dating back to the 13th century.

Following the establishment of the modern Irish state in 1922, the PROI and SPO continued to function until the enactment of the National Archives Act, 1986, which transferred their functions and holdings to the newly established National Archives. Under this legislation, records of Government Departments and their agencies are transferred to the National Archives when they are 30 years old.

In 1989, the Government assigned premises at Bishop Street in Dublin to the National Archives. The premises of the former SPO in the Record Tower at Dublin Castle was vacated in August 1991 and the headquarters of the National Archives moved from the Four Courts to Bishop Street in September 1992.