Revealing the Invisible - a Conservation Conversation from the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

Date: 04 March 2024
Time: 19:00 - 20:30

Leading conservators and heritage scientists from the Virtual Record Treasury's Core Partner archives in Dublin, Belfast, and London discuss techniques they are using to uncover the history hidden within fragile and faded records. Through delicate finger-tip treatments, clever use of lightwaves and medical-grade CT scanning, they reveal text obscured by the passing centuries. Their work also reveals much more about these very early paper and parchment records as physical artefacts in their own right. Long before the fire of 1922 which destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland, historical records were being slowly lost to damp, decay and vermin. Writing became obscured by soot and grime or bleached by sunlight, the written record hidden within crumpled parchment and paper too brittle and fragile to be unfurled. History became invisible. Now, research by expert conservators and heritage scientists from the National Archives of Ireland, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and The National Archives UK, in collaboration with the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland, is revealing the invisible. This conversation will discuss research on some of the earliest paper records in Ireland, medieval parchments obscured by earlier treatment or burnt in the disastrous Four Courts fire of 1922. It will also showcase the vital role of conservation in protecting our shared heritage and preserving these records for future generations. Supported by the Trinity Long Room Hub. Participants - Zoë Reid: Moderator - Sarah Graham: Revealing Archbishop Swayne's 15th-century register - Marc Vermeulen: Invisible wavelengths, visible history: Shining a new light on Irish medieval records - Jessica Baldwin: Virtually unwrapping: Exploring the use of X-ray microtomography Please register via Zoom here. The Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland research programme is supported by the Irish Government through funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under Project Ireland 2024.

Campus Location





One-time event

Type of Event

Lectures and Seminars


Researchers,Postgrad,Alumni,Faculty & Staff,Public

Contact Name

Jean-Philippe SanGiovanni

Contact Email





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