22 March 2022
By Mary Bermingham
With the Census night of April 3rd now less than two weeks away the Central Statistics Office (CSO) – which is headquartered near Mahon Point in Cork – are encouraging the people of Ireland to start thinking about their Time Capsule entries.
From family recipes, to poems, diary entries or drawings, the Time Capsule is a new feature in Census 2022, where households can record their own personal message to future generations and historians. As is the case for all information gathered during the Census, the entries will be kept entirely confidential for 100 years before being released to the public in 2122.
While this is the first Census form that offers the public an official opportunity to write their own individual note, there is a long history of people adding details to their forms, including Irish revolutionary Seán Mac Diarmada whose 1911 return lists him as ‘single, but not for long’.
Speaking at the launch of the CSO’s call for #TimeCapsuleStories Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Jack Chambers TD said:
“A census is a vital source for historians when they are studying a point in time, as the data gathered helps them to understand the way the society functioned and the lives of the people living in it. For future scholars of Irish society, the Time Capsule will provide an even greater insight into life here in 2022. It is a chance for the public to shape history, to have their voices heard by future descendants, and to leave a message to those generations still to come.”
Speaking about the time capsule, Head of Census Administration at the CSO Eileen Murphy said:
“The people of Ireland have always loved to tell stories, and the Time Capsule is a chance for them to continue that tradition well into the future. The hard part is just deciding which stories to share! We are already hearing great ideas from people planning to trace their new baby’s handprint, to those mapping out their family trees, the only limit is our imagination, which is why it is so important people start thinking about this now ahead of Census night on April 3rd.”
Ms Murphy outlined how she was thinking of using her own time capsule entry “I find myself thinking about how other people may use the time capsule. So while I will record a personal message to my own family, I also plan to make some predictions about what Ireland’s Time Capsule Stories may look like. Historians in 100 years’ time can see if I am correct.”
The CSO were joined at the launch by RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy, who has been a curator of the many voices and stories of Ireland for over two decades. Mr Duffy said
“I know from writing the history book ‘Children of the Rising’ how vital the census is. Please play your part and also please participate in the time capsule contribution on page 23!”
To help inspire people, the Census team have included a few sentence starters below, and will share more on social media using #TimeCapsuleStories
My prediction for 2122 includes…
A typical day for me in 2022 starts off with…
My favourite thing about living in Ireland in 2022 is…
The Time Capsule is a completely voluntary part of the Census form for those who choose to fill it in. People are asked not to attach any paper, documents, photos or anything attachable because the CSO will not be able to preserve them or return them.