Friday, 11 February 2022

Valuation Office's Revision Books digitisation project: latest news

An update for you regarding the Valuation Office's Archive Preservation Project, which we all know as the 'Republic's slow project to digitise the Griffith's Valuation Revision Books and associated maps'.

When visiting the VO Public Office at the Irish Life building on Abbey Street, researchers can now search and view electronically the Revision Books and material from the following 17 counties/cities: Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork City & County, Donegal, Dublin City & County, Galway (not the city), Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick City (most areas) & County, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Wexford.

Some areas of Limerick and Galway cities are not currently available, but should be soon (they are being scanned).

Also 'away with the scanners' are books for Dundalk (Louth), and County Longford.

This leaves just Counties Laois, Leitrim, Louth (minus Dundalk) Wicklow, Westmeath and Waterford still accessible only by the original manuscript books.

There is no official word on when the project is expected to complete. The Valuation Office's Strategic Plan 2021-23 anticipated completion in 2023, but that needs to be reviewed in light of the Lockdowns of the last two years. Still, at least we know the final destination of the project: it will be online and free to access.

Galway City's Revision Books are currently offsite, being scanned.

In the meantime, the organisation continues to operate an appointment-only service for free access to the Griffiths Valuation collection (photocopies €1). 

Three appointments are available in the morning, and the same in the afternoon. It is likely this will continue for some time as the staff have found they are able to offer a better level of service to visitors, especially those who may not be familiar with the material, within the appointment-only format.

It is possible the appointment-only format will remain in place after the VO Public Office makes its move (probably by the end of this year) to the new Tailte √Čireann HQ in The Distillers Building in Smithfield, which is still in construction.

The space allotted to the VO Public Office is smaller in the new premises than currently enjoyed in the Irish Life Building (which is hardly overly generous!), so restricting the number of visitors may become a permanent feature until the online archive becomes a reality.

For researchers who cannot or choose not to visit the Public Office, VO staff operate a Research Service. I've never used this myself, but other researchers have praised it and feel it is good value (€30 plus photocopy costs). Details are here.