Ireland’s Census Collects Time Capsules to Be Opened in 100 Years

“People in a hundred years will see not only the message but the actual hand writing of the people who wrote it, which is such an intimate detail.,” she said. “The next census in 2027 will be mostly online, but from the reaction we’ve had this time we’ll definitely have to keep something similar in the future. We can maybe use new technologies to allow people to give it that personal touch.”

Amy Dutil-Wall, a Michigan native who emigrated to Ireland 12 years ago, was one of many respondents who used their time capsule to remember loved ones who were away on the night of the census, or who had died and would not be officially counted. She also posted her capsule on Twitter:

“Tonight, as we count those in our house and our family, we are thinking so much of our beloved little girl, Estlin Luna. She was tragically taken from us 5 years ago, just before her 4th birthday, in a car crash. Estlin was our 1st born child and the love of our lives. She was never counted in a census and so we are so relieved to be able to mention her here. She was beautiful, creative, funny, so smart & clever, and confident beyond her years. We were honoured to be her parents and honoured still to grieve her for the rest of our lives. Estlin Luna, we carry you in our hearts — love always, mommy, daddy, Mannix & Lucie.”

Ms. Dutil-Wall said later in an interview: “Filling out the part of the form about naming the people in the house, it seemed so clear that Estlin should be there too, but she wasn’t. The time capsule let us say how much we loved her and missed her, and it was great to have even that small little thing for people in the future to look back on.”

Ms. Dutil-Wall’s post quickly picked up more than 40,000 likes. One woman in her 60s replied to it, saying that her own first child had been born out of wedlock, and was taken from her for adoption, which had broken her heart. They later found each other again, she wrote, and loved each other dearly.

David Hayden, a Dublin father of two, wrote: “2022 is a concerning time. We have hopefully left Covid behind but it took my youngest sister Alison in 2020. The invasion by Putin of Ukraine is our main worry. The prospect of world war is very real.”

He hoped his daughters’ grandchildren would read the time capsule in “happier, and more peaceful times … We don’t own this planet, we are only minding it for future generations, so look after it!!! P.S. Our children are laughing.”

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