A network of new Irish record-holding institutions

The Local Government Act of 2001 provided that every local authority in Ireland had to make arrangements for the proper management, custody, care and conservation of local records and local archives. Before then (with the noble exceptions of Cork, Dublin and Limerick), local record-keeping in Ireland was piecemeal at best.

The imposition of this new role did not have an immediate or uniform effect. Some councils just added the new job to the in-tray of their long-suffering county library. Others went about setting up an archives, but only for the council’s own records. But many, painfully, with prodding and funding assistance from central government, eventually set up dedicated archives with a broad remit, to serve as a focal point for local studies, and to preserve and make available local records.

The Irish Archives Resource provides an online home for many local collections

The fruits of the policy are only now becoming apparent, at least to me. An entire network of new Irish record-holding institutions is coming into existence. As ever in Ireland, when they’re good, they’re very very good. And when they’re bad … we’ll just move on in silence.

More recently, the best have begun to make collections available online, free, naturally. Here are some I’ve come across:

Even where records are not searchable online, most of the new archives have excellent online lists of their records, many of which are only now coming to light: the estate records in Wexford, Waterford and Donegal, the Grand Jury records of Louth and Clare, the historic photographs and maps popping up everywhere.

To find the archive (if there is one) for the area you’re interested in, just google “[county] archives”.

God bless you, Section 80 of the Local Government Act, 2001.

10 thoughts on “A network of new Irish record-holding institutions”

  1. Wow. As always, I love getting your new blogs with links to resources and information. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. Thanks from me too. Just found my grandmother’s Queenstown Cemetry record. Even Queenstown library didn’t know where they were. Very pleased and grateful.

  3. Galway addition is wonderful, although more on Meath & Cavan would be welcome. Your book”Tracing Your Irish Ancestors” is great and a fantastic tool for a beginner. I thought I would have enough material to come in June and do additional research. I see now it will take me much longer, but the twists and turns are pretty fun. I love your blog. It’s a weekly gift of inspiration. I look forward to meeting you when I have stretched my own research as far as possible, and then I’ll plan my trip — two spots in Galway, one in Meath, and one in Cavan. Again, thank you for all the support you provide. I’m half Irish and half Polish (I now question the latter) and my husband was half Irish & half Ukranian, but at Ellis Island they changed the “y” to and “i”.

  4. Good to see such resources, but where Ireland still needs to get a move on is with the online hosting of catalogues for archive material, especially NAI.

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