An attempt to recreate Ireland’s archives destroyed in a fire in June 1922 has been successful to a “greater extent than ever previously imagined,” the historian behind the project has said.

Two days into the Civil War, a massive explosion destroyed the Public Records Office attached to Dublin’s Four Courts and with it hundreds of years of documented history.

The census records for the whole of the 19th century going back to the first in 1821 were incinerated. Chancery records, detailing British rule in Ireland going back to the 14th century and grants of land by the crown, were also destroyed along with thousands of wills and title deeds.

The records of various chief secretaries to Ireland and centuries of Church of Ireland parish registers vanished in the fire.

The list of documents which were stored in the office’s record treasury departments are contained in a single manuscript which is 300 pages long and dates back seven centuries.

Beyond 2022 director Dr Peter Crooks said the scale of copies and duplicates identified in other archives already is “astounding”.  “We are committed to producing 50 million words of searchable material by 2022 and that is possible with the artificial intelligence we are using,” he said.

Also read: Retrieving of Irish archive lost in 1922 fire.