The Military Archives holdings make up the most comprehensive collection of revolutionary material commencing with the foundation of the Irish Volunteers on 25th November 1913. The Military Archives, as an official place of deposit under the National Archives Act, contains the official papers of the Defence Forces, Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Boards in additional to over 1200 private collections.
Researching family history with the Military Archives
Family history as well as military history queries are catered for by the Archive. In addition to paper records, the Military Archives holds a wide range of photos, video and sound material that can be made available to historians, students and researchers.
The Governments primary centenary project for 1916 is the ongoing Military Archives project ‘Military Services Pension Collection’ which has been described as providing ‘the final key to the inner life and activity of the revolutionary organisations’ and the ‘single most important archival collection relating to the Irish revolutionary period’.
A dedicated team of professional archivists continue to catalogue, preserve and provide access to the personal pension files of veterans from 1916 up until 1923. Approx 300,000 files are contained in this collection alone which supplement an already comprehension set of collections of revolutionary files contained in the Bureau of Military History, the Collins Papers and Civil War captured documents collections among others.
The files of the Military Service Pensions Collection are being released in phases on the Military Archives website. Phase II of the project was released in Oct 2014 with an expected release at the end of 2015 with further releases prior to the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016. A comprehensive guide is available to download in addition to both text and mapping search tools enabling ease of access on the website.
Nearly one million documents are available to be viewed on their website www.militaryarchives.ie and access is free to all.
About the Department of Defence Military Archives
The Military Archives operates under the auspices of the National Archives Act 1986 and they are tasked with the collection of material from the foundation of the Irish Volunteers in November 1913 up until the present day including records from the Defence Forces deployments overseas since 1958. The Military Archives provides research services to students of all levels up to and including post doctorate research, historians and members of the public.