Archives and commemorations

 

Sir, – Eleven million acres of Irish land changed hands between 1870 and 1921 as the old landlord system was dismantled. The Land Commission records dealing with these transactions lie unused in a warehouse in Portlaoise and are closed to historians.

The Land Commission records for the northern counties were sent to Belfast in the 1920s. It also got the land records of the Quit Rent Office. The northern records are now catalogued in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and open to scholars.

These papers are now well outside the 30-year embargo on the release of State archives and there is no reason they should not be released and made available to the public. The collection was listed and contains millions of papers.

These are unique records that go back to the landlords’ root of title that in some cases go back to the 1500s. This would keep local historians busy for decades to come.

In the 1920s, there were over 500,000 persons directly engaged in farming and this is their history and that of their descendants. – Yours, etc,

TIM O’NEILL,

Dundrum,

Dublin 14.