Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland
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INSPIRE: Integrating State Papers Ireland

Unlocking the Story of Early Modern Ireland, 1660–1715

The INSPIRE team is re-engaging with the official and personal correspondence sent between Ireland and Britain that forms the State Papers Ireland. The aim is to virtually recreate an accessible State Papers Office for the twenty-first century. Immediate focus is on the State Papers Ireland (SP 63) held at The National Archives, Kew, encompassing the years 1660–1715. Beginning with Charles II’s restoration and concluding with the death of Queen Anne (1660–1715), these letters reveal how Ireland was governed from Dublin Castle and Whitehall through one of the most turbulent periods in its history.

Letters between Dublin Castle and Whitehall give fascinating insights into the English administration of Ireland. Senior administrators grapple with policy problems and the demands of parliament, junior officials carry out their duties at local and national level while complaining about the lack of money.

But there is more than just politics. Among the descriptions of conquest and war, religious persecution, and plantation, we also see ordinary life. In their petitions for clemency, appeals for justice or pardon, and lobbying for government jobs we encounter Irish people struggling to find a footing in the rapidly changing country.

By integrating these 80 volumes of records (15,000 individual items) with related records in other repositories in Ireland and Britain, INSPIRE will paint a vivid picture of the period. Harnessing emerging technologies, the research will link images, summaries, and machine-generated transcriptions, making the historical content freely available.