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In 1922, the Public Record Office, which housed many of the genealogical records of Ireland, was destroyed by fire and explosion during the Irish Civil War. The PROI was then situated in the Four Courts in Dublin. (Have a look at the movie “Michael Collins”).

The main losses were the census returns for 1821, ’31, ’41 and ’51. But many, many other legal, family history and historical records and archives were lost. It is thought that about 80 to 90% of all archived Irish genealogical records of importance were destroyed.

Many other records were lost due to neglect and ignorance over the centuries. Additionally, the census returns for the years 1861, ’71, ’81 and ’91 were destroyed under British rule, some for paper pulp during the 1st World War and also by the General Register Office in Dublin for reasons of confidentiality or maybe even carelessness. (The jury is still out on this one.)

You may at this point have little or no knowledge of the records that are available in Ireland, and the reasons for the absence of so much more. The following points will give you an overview of the situation.

The main record repositories in Belfast are:

• The General Registry Office of Northern Ireland is located in Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast. Their holdings include civil records of births, marriages and deaths for Northern Ireland (six counties) from 1922 to date, as well as the original civil registers of births and deaths from 1864 to 1921 for the six counties also. Appointment required.

• Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is situated in 66, Balmoral Avenue, Belfast. It contains the 1901 census returns, other surviving census remnants from the 19th century, census search forms, microfilm or trancript copies of many church registers from the province of Ulster (9 counties) and some other parts of Ireland, the ‘Householders Index’ of surnames, Griffith’s Primary Valuation, Tithe Applotment Books for Ulster, testamentary record transcripts and abstracts and many other records.

• The Linen Hall Library is located in 17, Donegall Square North, Belfast. This is a public library and includes a genealogy reference section as well as a broad range of reference books and manuscripts.

The main record repositories in Dublin are:

• The General Register Office (GRO), in Lombard Street, Dublin 2. This has records of births, deaths and marriages. Roman Catholic records from 1864 and non-Roman Catholic records from 1845 are held here. Records up to the end of 1921 are held for the whole island of Ireland, and only for the 26 counties of the Republic from 1922 onwards. You can write or call. Facilities are at present quite limited and delays can be expected. Computerization of the vital records is underway, but it is expected to take a couple more years to complete.

• The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) are located in Bishop Street, Dublin 8. Here you will find the 1901 and 1911 censuses, Griffith’s Primary Valuation of land holders and heads of households, including tenant farmers, which was recorded between 1848 and 1864 (post famine), the Tithe Applotment Books, which record landholders in the 1820’s. Both Griffith’s and the Tithe Applotment Books are seen as substitutes for the missing census records of the 19th century in relation to genealogical research. The Archives also have many other records available for researching.

• The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is situated in Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Apart from the comprehensive book and manuscript collection, the library contains many other genealogically useful records. There are microfilm copies of the Roman Catholic parish records, which are also held by the Latter Day Saints (Mormons). It is worth noting that there is a restriction placed on the records for Cashel and Emly Diocese. Griffiths and Tithe records are also available, as well as estate records, directories, newspaper archives, and much more.

• The Valuation Office is based in the Irish Life Complex, in Middle Abbey Street, Dublin1. Here you can discover the changes of holdings and revisions of valuation of properties since the 1850’s along with revision maps.

• The Genealogical Office is located in 2, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, not far from the National Library. The records held here mainly relate to genealogical manuscripts, pedigrees and heraldic coats of arms of various aristocratic and wealthy families and individuals.

• The Representative Church Body Library (RCB) is located in Braemor Park, Rathgar, Dublin 14. It contains various Church of Ireland parish registers, vestry minute books, testamentary transcripts, as well as the parts of the 1740 Householders’ Lists. Appointment necessary.

If you are coming to Ireland in search of your ancestors or family history there are many places available for you to gather some information.

There are two main centres for genealogical research in Ireland. They are Dublin, mainly for the 26 counties of the Republic, and Belfast for the 6 counties of Northern Ireland primarily. You should avail of one or both of these before you go to the county of your ancestor’s origin. There are local heritage and genealogical centres in each county, with more than one in some counties, which provide a chargeable search facility. These can be contacted by post.

Each large town also has a public library providing local records that are unavailable elsewhere.

All of the repositories will help and guide you to make use of their resources. It would be worthwhile contacting them for full details or checking their websites, before calling to them.

And the activities are confined to land for being an island nation with magnificent coastlines and beaches as well as many rivers and lakes inland, water and the sea offers the active and adventurous visitor a wealth of new opportunities. Inland there are many leisurely angling opportunities whilst kayaking and canoeing along the rivers and lakes offers a more alternative and action packed view of the local scenery and wildlife. The full range of water sports and water based activities can be explored along the coastal areas though with many available in the summertime and indeed all year.

Among the water sports and activities on offer are sailing, surfing, windsurfing, water-skiing, waterboarding, and deep sea diving to name just some. Surfing in particular is becoming a very popular and noteworthy sporting activity catering to both experienced and beginners with Ireland having hosted the European Surf Championships in 2011. The north west of the country has become a mecca for surfers from across the globe to avail of the great waves produced by the Atlantic Ocean.

For the more sedate manner there are other water and land based options available from whale watching, sea angling to hiring a boat for the day, to a day leisurely pursuing golf or even partaking in clay pigeon shooting in certain locations. Action based activities aside there is also the option of checking out the main attractions of the region by spending a day touring the town or countryside. A holiday or visit to Ireland can be an active and fun vacation with a host of things to do. From taking in the scenery to adventure sports and activities on land and on water to simple tours of the area there are a host of activities and adventure based pursuits available in Ireland. So whether you be an adrenaline junky or a more active yet leisurely person you will find something of interest on your holiday.

From its wide variety of team sports, clubs and sporting pastimes that dominate the national and international scene to many activity based pursuits that take advantage of the landscape, sport and outdoor activities are a big part of Ireland.

If exploring the countryside on foot isn’t your thing then there is always the option of travelling by bicycle or indeed on horseback, horse trekking and equestrian related sport activities being very popular in Ireland. If walking, cycling or horse trekking around the countryside isn’t enough and one wants more adrenaline and alternative outdoor land based activities then there are a selection of fun and individual adventure sports around the country that take advantage of the natural landscape. From rock climbing to abseiling, from quad biking to mountain biking along woodland areas, and from gokarting to blokarting (a new sport/activity that uses the power of the wind to propel you along) and everything in between there are a host of land based activities and adventure sports to explore and enjoy nationwide.

If you like adventure and don’t mind getting your hands dirty then there is plenty for you to do on the Emerald Isle.

Another popular sport and sporting pastime in Ireland is the world of greyhound and horseracing both popular sporting attractions providing exciting fun days out. Of the two, horseracing is the most popular and most internationally renowned. Ireland is home to the major horse breeding operation of Coolmore and Irish horses, jockeys and trainers continue to reach unprecedented success on the world stage. For horseracing enthusiasts the main race courses are the Curragh, Leopardstown and Fairyhouse which run national hunt and flat racing throughout the calendar year.

Aside from Ireland’s many spectator sports offering fun days out, for the sports and activity minded visitor there is much more fun to be had than just watching a match or a trip to a racecourse. Throughout Ireland there are many sporting clubs supporting a number of lesser known sports and catering to all manner of land and water based activities. Along popular coastal areas there are all manner of water sports and water based activities available in the summertime which range from sailing to surfing to deep sea diving.

Aside from team sports Ireland is also world renowned for golf and its wide variety of scenic and challenging golf courses whether it be a links or parkland course. The Irish coastline is dotted with challenging links courses carved out from the natural coastal landscape which has attracted some the world’s best golfers and even the odd US President, former President Bill Clinton known to have regular trips to Ireland and, in particular, to Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare. Other well-known links courses include Ballybunion, Portmarnock and Royal County Down. Inland you can find some of Europe’s finest parkland courses including Mount Juliet, The K Club, Fota Island Golf Club Cork, Carton House and Druids Glen. The K Club played host the Ryder Cup in 2006 which show the European Team captained by Ian Woosnam emerge victorious. Famous golfers to come from Ireland (north and south) include the likes of Rory McIllroy, Padraig Harrington, Graham McDowell, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.

Domestic soccer in the Republic of Ireland comprises a league system and is governed by the Football Association of Ireland. Unlike rugby, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are governed by two separate associations. In the Republic, the League of Ireland comprises two divisions – the Premier Division and the First Division – with an ‘A’ league acting as the third tier. The league is made up clubs from across the country.

Shamrock Rovers are the country’s most successful domestic club with 17 titles followed by Shelbourne and Bohemians. Other notable clubs include St. Patrick’s Athletic, Cork City, Derry City and Sligo Rovers. The republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland also field national soccer teams which compete on the international stage with Irish soccer fans being noteworthy worldwide for their undying support. Both the national (republic of Ireland) soccer team and national rugby team play their home matches at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

After the popularity of gaelic games comes soccer and rugby which have quickly gained in popularly over the years most of all rugby of which has enjoyed great success in the last few years. Irish provincial rugby is now fully professional and has witnessed significant success since the turn of the century with the provinces of Munster and Leinster, in particular, being crowned champions of Europe on five occasions. The other provincial sides of Ulster and Connacht have also proved competitive in European competitions. Local club rugby remains the heartbeat of the national game and acts as a feeder system for the Irish provinces. The Irish national side has also been competitive on the international scene over recent times (in the top five in the world), and claimed the coveted Six Nations Grand Slam title in 2009.

The main sport on a national level in Ireland is the national indigenous GAA games of hurling and Gaelic football which enjoy nationwide popularity ahead of rugby and soccer. Croke Park in Dublin is the historic home of Gaelic games in Ireland and hosts all major national competition finals. The stadium has undergone extension regeneration over the past ten years and can hold up to 82,300 spectators. All-Ireland competitions in both Gaelic Football and Hurling take place each year in which all of the island’s 32 counties compete to be crowned All-Ireland champions with the finals usually taking place in the month of September.

Ireland has a massive sporting culture which can be divided up into different aspects. These are Gaelic Games, Rugby, Golf, Soccer and Greyhound and Horse racing to name a few.

Public WiFi services are available in many cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. They are also available on most Irish long-distance Intercity trains, some commuter trains and busses.
These services operate in a similar way to elsewhere in the world, some are free of charge, others require a credit card payment or a voucher.

Wired Ethernet Access
Many hotels offer guests wired ethernet access via a wall outlet in your room. Check with your hotel reception for information.

Sometimes these connections are faster and more reliable than the hotel’s WiFi network and can be useful if you need to make Skype video calls etc.

Personal Hotspot
Travel WiFi ( offers plans that aloows you to cnnect up to 5 devices and they will deliver it to your first destionation (Europe, Hong Kong, USA). To return you drop it in a postage paid envelope before you leave the country.

Ireland’s mobile phone networks all use European standard GSM (2G), UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G) standards.


  • Vodafone Ireland
  • O2 Ireland
  • Meteor
  • o3 Ireland

If you intend to use your mobile phone in Ireland, check with your phone company that international roaming is active on your account and find out what roaming agreements they have in Ireland and what the rates are for data and voice services. For customers roaming from outside the EU, charges can be extremely high, so it may be worth purchasing a local SIM card or phone when you get here.

To make an international call while in Ireland the access codes are:

The international access code in Ireland is 00 (this is a European standard prefix) followed by:

Country : Code
USA & Canada : 1
UK : 44
Australia : 61
New Zealand : 64
France : 33
Germany : 49
Italy : 39
Spain : 34
Japan : 81

To call abroad, dial 00, followed by the country code, area code (usually omitting the initial ‘0’) and local telephone number of the person you wish to reach.

In Ireland the emergency numbers are 999 or 112 and either of these numbers will connect you to Fire, Ambulance, Police, Mountain and Cliff Rescue and Coast Guard.

Ireland’s new-found affluence means there are far more cars on the road, and the building of new roads and the upgrading of existing ones just cannot keep pace. Be prepared for delays, especially at holiday weekends. AA Roadwatch provides traffic information in the Republic.

In the Republic, speed-limit and distance signs are in kilometres (although the occasional older white sign shows distances in miles); in the North, speed-limit and distance signs are in miles.

You’ll need a good road map and sense of humour to deal with the severe lack of signposts in the Republic, and on minor roads be prepared for lots of potholes.

Petrol is considerably cheaper in the Republic than in the North. Most service stations accept payment by credit card, but some small, remote ones may take cash only.

All cars on public roads must be insured. If you are bringing your own vehicle in to the country, check that your insurance will cover you in Ireland.

Car hire in Ireland is expensive, so you’re often better off making arrangements in your home country with some sort of package deal. In July and August it’s wise to book well ahead. Most cars are manual; automatic cars are available but they’re more expensive to hire.

Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann is the Republic’s bus line and offers an extensive network throughout the south. Private buses compete – often very favourably – with Bus Éireann in the Republic and also run where the national buses are irregular or absent.

Private Buses
There is a good selection of private buses that can get you between the major cities in Ireland and to the major airports. Citylink and GoBus are an example of this and more information can be found on their websites.

Bus travel is much cheaper than train travel, and private buses often charge less than Bus Éireann. Generally, return fares cost little more than a one-way fare.

Travelling around Ireland is short, simple and sweet –long and complicated. Distances are relatively short and there’s a good network of roads, but public transportation can be infrequent, expensive or both and – especially with trains – not reach many of the more interesting places.

Your own transport is a major advantage and it’s worth considering car hire for at least part of your trip. Irish roads are markedly better than they used to be. There’s a small but growing network of motorways to supplement the huge network of secondary and tertiary roads, although it is still true that smaller, rural roads can make for difficult driving conditions.

If you opt not to drive, a mixture of buses, the occasional taxi, plenty of time, walking and sometimes hiring a bicycle will get you just about anywhere.

Using the telephone, internet or other telecommunications services in Ireland is very easy. The Irish network is 100% digital, quite high tech and provides services similar to those found in any other part of Western Europe or North America. The best way to make cheap calls from most countries would be using international phone cards online from website like Global Caller.

Irish phone numbers vary in length. Local numbers may be 5, 6 or 7 digits long. Area codes are 2, 3 or 4 digits long (including the initial ‘0’),

Town/City Area Code
Dublin – 01
Cork – 021
Limerick – 061
Galway – 091
Killarney – 064
Waterford – 051
Siigo – 071

To make a call within Ireland, simply dial the full number, including the area code which always starts with 0

Or, if you are calling from a landline and know the area code you are in, you can just dial the local number. (Calls will always be charged at the correct rate in either format.)

If you are calling from a mobile phone, always dial the full number, including the area code.

If you are looking for a number while you are in Ireland you can call directory enquiries on 11 8 11, 11 8 50 or 11 8 90 and they will either send you the number or connect you (charges apply).

Ireland is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) for most of the year. Ireland observes daylight savings time earlier, so for a couple of weeks in March and April, Ireland is 6 hours ahead of EST. During most of October, Ireland is 4 hours ahead of EST.

International travel has become more time-consuming. Arrive in plenty of time to check in, go through security, and get to the boarding gate. Check with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for a list of what you are not permitted to take on the airplane or into the boarding area.

Double check with your airline, hotels, and car rental agencies to make sure you are confirmed to arrive and depart at your expected times. Take itineraries and confirmation numbers with you.

As you put together your packing list, consider what you will be doing, and what time of year you are visiting.

• Pack clothing and shoes to accommodate Irish weather changes. Check international weather websites before you depart to get an idea of how cold or warm in will be in Ireland while you travel. Pack an umbrella or rain jacket, clothes you can layer, and comfortable shoes.

• Pack enough medications and prescriptions for the time you plan to be away. Pack a little extra, in case of flight or travel delays on your way home.

• Pack an electric adapter. If you plan to use a hairdryer, laptop, or other electrical device, make sure you have an adapter that will allow you to access Ireland’s energy outlets.

Many travel packages include a car rental. If you are traveling outside of a major city such as Dublin, you will probably need a vehicle to reach places that trains and buses do not go regularly. Remember that in Ireland, you drive on the left side of the road. Most rental cars are manual transmission. You will need to pay a premium for an automatic automobile. Insurance is required, and can often be more expensive than rental cars in other countries.

There are several excellent travel guides about the entire country of Ireland, and the regions within. You can also follow online blogs and perform an Internet search using the cities and towns you expect to visit. Make a list of things you do not want to miss while in Ireland.

All Americans 16 years of age and older will need a passport to travel to Ireland. Give yourself enough time to fill out the application materials and wait for the passport to be mailed to you. Current processing times for applications are between 4 and 6 weeks.

For travellers to either the Republic or Northern Ireland, there are circumstances for allowances on duty-free goods. Travellers must be arriving either directly from a country outside the European Union (EU), or from a non-EU country via another EU country, or from the Canary Islands, Channel Islands or Gibraltar.

There are no limits imposed on importing tobacco and alcohol products from one EU country to another. Travellers should note however that they may be required to prove at customs that the goods are for personal use only.

Customs in Ireland are allowed to carry out selective checks on travellers at all points of entry to Ireland (Air & Sea)

Visitors to the island of Ireland from a non-EU country must pass through custom controls at their place of entry.

Customs operate green and red channels at most ports and airports. If you need to declare goods over the duty and tax-free allowances for non-EU visitors you must use the red channel. Pass through the green channel if you have nothing to declare.

Certain goods are prohibited or restricted to protect health and the environment. These include meat and poultry products.

Tipping in a restaurant in Ireland is usually 10-15% of the total bill depending on the quality of the service delivered.
Please Note: if you encounter the words “service charge” on your bill this means that you will automatically be paying a tip. The likelihood of this happening is slim unless you are dining in a large group of 10+.

Tips are not expected in cafes, but customers will often leave a tip of consisting of small change (generally around one euro or thereabouts). Many coffee shops, particularly trendier ones, will have a tips jar near the cash register. While minimum wage laws are strictly enforced in Ireland, tips are nevertheless appreciated by hard-working staff.

Hotel staff do not expect tips, but will not refuse them. How much to tip depends on the service, but as a benchmark, a one or two-euro coin would be an adequate tip a porter for carrying a normal set of suitcases to your room. A five euro note would be a generous tip.

Taxi Drivers do not expect tips, and many drivers will often round down the bill, especially on longer fares. However, no driver will refuse a tip, even after rounding down the bill. A tip of one euro is common for in-city journeys.

Irish people do not tip the bar staff, no matter how drunk they get!

Credit cards & Debit cards including Visa & MasterCard are widely accepted throughout Ireland while American Express and Diners Club cards may not be as easily accepted. Cards can be used to pay for purchases in a point of sale terminal, they can also be used in ATMs which are distributed widely throughout the country. All ATMs will display symbols of what cards are accepted (bank charges may apply). It is recommended to check with your bank before travelling.

Travellers Cheques are no longer widely accepted throughout the Island of Ireland.

In the Republic of Ireland the tender used is the Euro. €1=100c the notes consist of €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10, €5. Coins are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2.

In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency. One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Notes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100. Coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

Currency can be exchanged at any Post office commission free or in any bank (charges apply). Bank and post office opening hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-4:30.

Ireland is located in Western Europe and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea. Ireland is split into Northern Ireland which has a population of 1.8 million and The Republic of Ireland which has a population of 4.2 million. The Republic is a constitutional democracy and a member of the European Union. The total population of Ireland is approximately 6 million people with a rich diversity of all cultures and ethnic groups.

The standard voltage in Ireland is 240 volts AC. Sockets in Ireland and the UK differ from the US and mainland Europe.

A plug adaptor may be required for small appliances to work in the standard flat three-pin/round two-pin sockets here. Visitors bringing electrical appliances should ask an electrician or appliance dealer if it is possible to use a transformer.

Depending on the time of year that you travel the weather can change slightly. Travelling between the months of May- September the weather is more likely to be less mild and incorporate levels of sunshine and less rain although as we said before the Irish weather is very unpredictable. Because of this we recommend to pack clothes that are layerable, for example T-shirts, sweatshirts and a jacket. Any mixture of these items can be worn depending on the weather.

Summer temperatures range 15-25 degrees Celsius (60-75 Fahrenheit).

Spring and autumn temperatures average around 10+ degrees Celsius (50+ Fahrenheit).

Winter is 0 to 10 degrees Celsius (30 to 50 Fahrenheit).

The Climate in Ireland is one of the strangest in the whole world, many days experiencing the four seasons in a matter of hours. The weather is temperate and mild without extreme weather as it rarely snows. It can be summed up as not too hot, not too cold! It is often said in Ireland “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes as it’s bound to change” Our best advice would be hope for sunshine but prepare for rain!

Summer temperatures range 15-25 degrees Celsius (60-75 Fahrenheit).

Spring and autumn temperatures average around 10+ degrees Celsius (50+ Fahrenheit).

Winter is 0 to 10 degrees Celsius (30 to 50 Fahrenheit).