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[The record treasury], with its glass roof and its tall side windows, is now a sorry-looking wreck. It is something of an irony that the survival rate of records documenting these disasters is healthy.Among the few facsimiles to have been made of an Irish chancery roll is an image of the of Close Roll 2 Edward II [fig. It contains a memorandum of a great fire in 1304 which destroyed most of the thirteenth-century chancery records then lodged in St Mary’s abbey, Dublin, a Cistercian foundation on the north bank of the , formerly chancellor of Ireland, up to the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Edward I [1299–1300] were burned by accident in the abbey of St Mary near Dublin in the great fire in that abbey, except two rolls of the twenty-eighth year, one of patent writs and the other of close writs.What is not in dispute is that the blast destroyed most of the records of English government in Ireland stretching back to the thirteenth century.The Irish Times on 3 July 1922 has this sorry report: [T]hose precious records, which would have been so useful to the future historian, have been devoured by the flames or scattered in fragments by the four winds of heaven.Transco was allowed to move in while work was still being done on the building's upper floors.The building, which is 92.3 percent leased, serves as global headquarters for Hines.After temporizing for over two months, Free State forces began to shell the Four Courts on 28 June, and Ireland slipped into civil war.On the afternoon of 30 June 1922 the ‘munitions block’ went up. The record treasury was under fire from the National Army and a shell could have caused the massive explosion; but, according to one account, the ‘irregulars’ trapped in the Four Courts detonated two lorry-loads of as a final act of defiance.

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Developed by Houston-based Hines and designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, the building was completed in just 16 months, according to Hines.Thus in 1380 we hear that ‘Dublin castle is ruined and devastated and in many places greatly undermined because of the negligence of the king’s ministers who ought to attend to repairs, so that the king’s cousin, Edmund Mortimer, earl of March and Ulster, lieutenant, cannot hold a great council … nor can the rolls and records be safely kept there for their protection, as is customary, to the king’s great disgrace and detriment’.This is an early statement of what was to become a familiar refrain.It can’t be long now, I thought, until the real noise comes.Ernie O’Malley, So runs Ernie O’Malley’s romanticized account of the destruction of the Record Treasury of the Public Record Office of Ireland, part of the Four Courts complex occupied by IRA ‘irregulars’ during the Easter vacation of 1922.

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