Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland
research-strands-iconResearch Strand

INSPIRE: Integrating State Papers Ireland

Unlocking the Story of Early Modern Ireland, 1660–1715

The decades immediately following Oliver Cromwell's death and the fall of his regime were marked by dramatic events in Ireland. INSPIRE concentrates on the years from Charles II’s restoration to the death of Queen Anne (1660–1715), focussing on the State Papers Ireland (SP 63) and the Signet Office Ireland (SO 1) series. State Papers Ireland, held at The National Archives (UK), runs continuously from 1509 to 1782. They are a vital source for understanding this pivotal period in Ireland’s 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emerging technologies, the research will link images, summaries, and machine-generated transcriptions, making the historical content freely available. How did these tumultuous times affect daily life in Ireland?