The Dartrey Papers in D3053 comprise around 3,300 documents (including volumes), around 1,500 of which are mainly Irish Land Commission sale papers occupying 16 boxes and not individually numbered (D3053/8/17/1-16). Approximately two-thirds of the archive was deposited, and listed, in 1979; the rest was deposited in 1996 and fully integrated in the existing arrangement. In addition, approximately half of a much earlier deposit, D526/2, comprises a further 82 volumes, leases and title deeds, relating mainly to the Dartrey estate in Co. Armagh. The two parts of the archive held by PRONI cannot be merged, among other reasons because they were deposited via two different firms of solicitors.
Apart from one isolated document of 1639, the papers cover the period 1654 to 1952. They document the estates of the Dawson family of Dawson Grove, alias Dartrey, Co. Monaghan, Lords Dartrey and Cremorne and Earls of Dartrey, in Cos Monaghan, Armagh, Louth, Waterford, Tipperary and Fermanagh (in order of importance). The Co. Monaghan estate was very much the most important, with a rental of around £5,000 a year in 1785, around £6,000 a year in 1800 and around £15,000 a year in the late 1850s. Additionally, one rental (D526/2D/2) of 1829 includes lands in Cos Cavan and Tyrone as well.