The exhibition plots the interactions between Irish society and the State from the 1920s until the end of the twentieth century, beginning with the census of 1926.

Over a hundred tracks have been selected to showcase specific occasions and situations from the past century. The 1920s and 1930s are shown in the exhibition Society and State - Ireland through its Records as a time of post-independence growth after centuries of British domination.

The government in power at the time had a statistical image of Ireland and its populace thanks to the first census of the Irish Free State.

The display demonstrates how a development initiative got underway in the 1920s despite the new State's financial difficulties.

It commemorates the advent of social housing, water and sewerage systems, rural Ireland's electricity, and the modernization and transformation of the nation's physical infrastructure.

The exhibition demonstrates the creation of Irish symbols like the “punt” and the Irish harp as well as how the Catholic Church's growing influence over state affairs affected public morals.

Archival film shows the massive spectacle of the Eucharistic Congress in 1932. The event, which drew millions of spectators, demonstrated the new State's success at the time.

Many Irish people attended concerts, dances, athletic events, and films, yet they occasionally encountered opposition and restriction. A document that forbade the opening of Breakfast at Tiffany's in Irish theatres upon appeal serves as an illustration.

With Mary Robinson's historic victory and the liberalisation of Irish society in the 1990s, the exhibition comes to an end. The collections of the National Archive contain more than 50 million records.

Director Orlaith McBride stated that the census, which was conducted every 10 years starting in 1926, “mirrored the evolving State.”

“Transformative advances in public services in Ireland as well as significant social and cultural developments occurred during the twentieth century, from emigration to economic growth, from free secondary education to the removal of the marriage restriction. "A nation came to be,” she declared.

In her opening remarks, Minister of Culture Catherine Martin stated that it was appropriate to “gaze beyond 1923, to explore the society that emerged thereafter” in the wake of the Decade of Centenaries.

“As we approach the National Archives’ release (in 2026) of the 1926 Census, the first comprehensive and official accounting of the state that had so recently come into being, we look back on the official records held in the National Archives and explore what they reveal about life in Ireland since it came into being over a century ago,” Ms Martin said.