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The Genealogist’s Top Ten Places to Visit in Ireland

   Irish Central recently published their list of the Top Ten Places to Visit in Ireland.  You may have seen it since it’s been posted and shared across Facebook and Twitter over 3300 times.  I’ve visited 7 of the 10.  Still on my bucket list are the Aran Islands and The Burren.  Number 10 on their list is Croke Park, the Dublin stadium where hurling and Gaelic football are played.  I’m not sure that I would put that on my list…maybe I’d add The Rock of Cashel or Glendalough.  I’d also add Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.  Go for services on Sunday and there’s no admission fee AND you get to hear their spectacular choir.  Both St. Patrick’s and Christ Church, which are only a few blocks apart, are Church of Ireland.  

   So I got to thinking about the Genealogist’s Top Ten List.  Hard to limit it to just 10, but here are my choices.

1.  National Library of Ireland

National Library Reading Room

   With beautiful architecture, and a wonderful reading room, this repository houses microfilms of the Roman Catholic church records, newspapers, and of course books and journals.  Just down the street in the annex is the manuscript reading room.  The Library also has a Genealogy Advisory Service on the mezzanine with computer access to a number of subscription databases, and a staff to answer questions and suggest resources to assist in your research.  If you are going to be there in August, stop in for the daily 20 minute genealogy lectures at 1:00 p.m.  Brian Donovan of Eneclann will kick it off on August 1st with a program, “the digital revolution in Irish family history.”

2. National Archives of Ireland

National Archives

   This is the sucessor to the Public Records Office that was destroyed in the 1922 fire.  It’s located in a modern building on Bishop Street and contains the state records of Ireland.  Here you’ll find Griffith’s Valuation as well as the manuscript books, surviving will calendars and indexes; some of the survivng Church of Ireland records on microfilm (these were declared State records at the time of its disestablishment as the state church…unfortunately over 60% of the records were lost in the fire) and some abstracts that were done prior to the fire at the Public Records Office.  Many of the records used by genealogists such as the 1901 and 1911 census records, the Tithe Applotments, Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858-1922 and Soldiers’ Wills from WWI are now online at theri website.

3.  General Register Office

   Here you will find the official records of births, deaths and marriages from 1864 (1845 for Protestant marriages).  Last year it moved from the Irish Life Centre to Werburgh Street (near Christ Church).  The building is not pretty, but the service is the same.  Make sure you use one of the indexes to get the details before you go, or you’ll get charged to use their indexes.  The indexes are free on FamilySearch, and as I wrote about last week, are now also free at

4.  Valuation Office

IMG 0916

   This is definitely one of my favorite places.  Located in the Irish Life Centre you can follow the property records from Griffith’s Valuation in some cases, into the 1970s.  Each time the name of the occupier changes it can indicate some type of life event, possibly a death or emigration.  If you don’t know when your gg grandfather died, a search of the Valuation records may give you a timeframe to search for the death.

5. The Registry of Deeds

Registry of Deeds

   If your ancestor was a merchant you just might find some records of interest at the Registry of Deeds on Henrietta Street.  It is less likely you’ll find records for small farmers. It could be a jackpot if you do find something.  The indexes here are only grantor indexes, or you can look at records by locality.  There is a group of volunteers out of Australia that has been creating an index for these records that you can find here.

   All of the choices above are in Dublin.  There are lots of other opportunities for research in Dublin which would depend on your ancestor.  There’s the Representative Church Body Library, about a half hour bus ride from downtown Dublin for Church of Ireland records; the Central Catholic Library on Merrion Square where I took one of my research trip participants last year to get information on a bishop in his family; and the Dublin City Library and Archive,  a great place if your ancestors lived in Dublin.

   Next week I’ll finish the list with places outside of Dublin.

Happy Hunting!

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© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2018