‘We were honoured to be her parents’: The most touching Census time capsule contributions
The new Census data came out earlier this year, but it's the time capsule section that continues to resonate with people. Ranging from hilarious to heartbreaking, it gave people the freedom to add in relevant information that they felt was missing otherwise.
Census night took place earlier this year, with people all around Ireland sitting down to fill in their forms together on Sunday 3 April. A fairly mundane task by all accounts, some might question the importance of it all but the results help to generate a detailed picture of social and living conditions in Ireland. So, it’s really quite helpful.
As Ross O’Carroll–Kelly put it, “it’s a count – an account, actually – of everyone in the country at a particular moment in time. It’s, like, a snapshot of our population that provides vital information that will help plan our accommodation, education, health, transport and other needs into the future.”
You’re also legally obliged to fill it out.
Comprising 11 household questions and 33 other questions to be completed for up to six individual people present in the household on Census night, this year’s form included the new addition of a time capsule section… which, incidentally, has proven to be extremely popular on social media.
A blank space at the very end of the form, it essentially left room for people to write anonymous messages that they consider to be of importance. According to the official Census website, the time capsule is “completely voluntary” and it’s “entirely up to you whether you wish to write anything here or not.”
These messages – which can be anything you want – will be held by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) before they’re transferred along with your Census form to the National Archives to be unsealed in 100 years’ time.
Some people opted to leave this section blank, preferring not to add anything superfluous. Many others didn’t though and the internet has been awash with some of the best contributions since census night. Ranging from the hilarious to the more melancholy, we’ve rounded up some of the most touching below.
My time capsule narrative for the Irish census. Forgive the awful handwriting. Arthritis in my hands doesn't allow for lovely penmanship anymore. Ah, well. Point made, I hope. May 2122 be a damn sight better! #Disability #carers #unpaidcarers #Census pic.twitter.com/35aJ8RLHZL
— Tracy ? ??? ????? ???? (@AddressingLife) April 3, 2022
I filled out my folk’s census tonight; my mum has terminal cancer, my dad’s dementia has him lost. She was too sad to write. So I wrote a poem her father had written for her mum, his soon to be bride, in 1935. It will be nearly 200 years old in 2122.. #timecapsule pic.twitter.com/qAhVHTjyUO
— Alex (@dubyacko) April 3, 2022
I wrote the #timecapsule #Census2022 pic.twitter.com/MKXLD9eIf9
— Fiona Pettit O'Leary ????? (@fionapettit71) April 4, 2022
I decided to use the #timecapsule to share some music with the future people. Also, I do love a good sad song ? pic.twitter.com/ItIPLak2Ma
— Shane O'Connor (@shaneycakes) April 4, 2022
My time capsule. In a 100 years will anyone be able to read handwriting, especially mine. #timecapsule pic.twitter.com/7DvuVvuz5Y
— ??Caitríona. End GBV. Enough is enough. (@CaitrionaNiC) April 4, 2022
Feeling such comfort today after filling in the time capsule section in the #Census2022 last night. Estlin never was counted in a census but 100+ yrs from now she will be remembered & our ancestors will be able to read about her. Just incredible. pic.twitter.com/ZL1eyZdUpZ
— AmyKDWall (@AmyKDWall) April 4, 2022
111 years ago my great aunt refused to put her name on the census . No Vote – No Name.
90 years ago she wrote about the world in conflict. Same conflicts exist today.
I hope in 100 years, it's different. #census2022 #timecapsule pic.twitter.com/xoTLd7g0SB
— Karen Fitzgerald (@kmackfitzgerald) April 4, 2022
Crying at my dads Census time capsule ? pic.twitter.com/GCWveNsQ2O
— ejh (@Pollythicks) April 3, 2022
My dad was left to fill out the census on his own and this is what he put in the Time Capsule, Clio is our dog that he insisted he never wanted, why am I bawling pic.twitter.com/3YOebGCRlL
— Lauren (@lollyfitz13) April 4, 2022
As a family history researcher, the census is a great insight in to the past. It’s pretty special for me to record living in a same-sex relationship on this census. A right that can’t be taken for granted. My time capsule is my hope for a world without transphobia or queerphobia. pic.twitter.com/7QMcT1paUX
— Oisín Hassan (@OisinH1) April 3, 2022
Was wracking my brains wondering what to put in the #Census2022 #timecapsule and then it dawned on me… So I did a thing ?
(Was weird since I’m listed as archivist but there was no room to say I’m also a musician so ????) pic.twitter.com/h6oyw3OnJg
— Niamh Ní Charra (@niamhnicharra) April 3, 2022
I know the time capsule won't be on record for 100 years yet, but this is how I handled #Census2022 as a #NonBinary person. @ireland @CensusIreland @thejournal_ie pic.twitter.com/WCeE1xh9Kw
— Lora O'Brien (@loraob) April 3, 2022
Could someone please pass the tissues? I seem to have something in my eye…