Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is the official archive for Northern Ireland with a statutory remit to receive, preserve and make available public records and privately deposited collections. The collections are carefully managed and looked after by dedicated PRONI staff to preserve their archival value and meaning.

PRONI’s archive comprises over 3 million records including photographs, letters, diaries, maps, business records, registers and official files. These records document the governance, economy, and society of not only Northern Ireland but also the wider world. They play an essential role in the development of our society today by safeguarding and contributing to individual and community memory.

PRONI has in its custody a wide variety of material relating to sport and recreation, ranging from popular sports such as football and rugby, to more obscure activities such as ploughing and water-skiing. Most of these records date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, PRONI’s earliest records relating to sport date from as early as the mid-17th Century.

There are many major collections in the archive deposited by a wide range of clubs and associations. Some of the most popular collections include the Irish Football Association Papers (1880-2013), the Irish Rugby Football Union (Ulster Branch) Papers (1886-1991) and the Northern Ireland Cricket Union of Ireland Papers (1919-2001).

While the coverage of women’s sport in the UK and Ireland is on the rise, there is a growing awareness of the under-representation of women in sport in the archive. In recent years, PRONI has received more material relating to women’s sporting organisations, such as the papers of the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association (PRONI ref D4633), however there is still much more work to be done. To address some of the gaps in the archive, PRONI is encouraging members of the public to consider depositing their records with the archive, particularly those referencing women’s sports clubs and associations, disability and sport organisations and material relating to Gaelic games. If you feel you may have any relevant material which you would like to deposit with PRONI, either in original format or digital copy, you can contact PRONI directly on [email protected].

A number of guides, indexes, and leaflets relating to our collections are available online on the PRONI website. This includes a Sporting Associations Index to collections relating to sport and recreation, arranged by sport activity. An ever-increasing volume of digitised images relating to sport and recreation can be found online via the PRONI Flickr account. PRONI also maintains a YouTube channel, PRONIonline, where our audiences can listen back to various recorded talks and events relating to our Sport and Recreation collections.

This collection entry was last updated on 12/06/2023. Information incorrect or out-of-date?