As I continue to discuss John Grenham's Irish Ancestors website, check out his thoughts to the recent General Register Office announcement more than doubling the cost of birth, death and marriage certificates.
One of the resources I have mentioned multiple times over the years, is Grenham's Irish Surnames, a CD resource available from Eneclann that allows you to put in two surnames and see where they might overlap. The data is taken from Griffith's Valuation and it's helpful if you have a couple married in Ireland, where you know the maiden name of the wife. Traditionally, our ancestors did not move around much and they tended to marry within their geographic area. If you don't have specific information regarding their origins in Ireland, this can help narrow down the possibilities. For example, a search on the surname Daly turns up possibilities in every county in Ireland.
John Daly's second wife's maiden name was Kirrane. By adding the second name I find that the two names only appear in three counties, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. Since I know that my John Daly was from Mayo, it narrows down my search to just three parishes. When I select the parish, I also get information about church records.
You can get some of this information on the Irish Ancestors website for free. From the Home page, you can type in a surname and get a breakdown of where in Ireland the name occurred in the mid 19th century along with spelling variations. On the left you can click to get a surname map, a list of publications on the surname, the number of births to that surname in the 1890s and a surname history. On the bottom right, you can type in the second surname, but here's where the free stops. The only information you get is the counties where both names occur. To get the more detailed report which breaks down to the parish level costs €10 (about $13.45) which, if you have at least one unusual surname is probably worth the investment.
If you have more than one family you are trying to research in this way, you may just want to purchase the CD from Eneclann for €12.33 ($16.58). I have heard some rumors that there may be a problem running the CD with Windows 8, but when I spoke to Eneclann about this, they indicated they were working through the problem. This CD is the only reason I run Windows on my Mac (John Grenham has never been a Mac fan) and I run it using Windows XP.