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 The Internet is a great place to find out information on any aspect of Irish history - unfortunately, not all can be trusted for accuracy! Kilmainham Tales is compiling a series of links to sites we have found to be good. Most are specialised, limited to one era, organisation or event. Others are broad-based, but all the sites here we have found to be incredible sources of information which can, in general, be trusted. However, you must, in the end, make up your own mind about them and their content and not take our word for it.


Genealogy is the most popular branch of history research today. Many who visit Kilmainham Gaol do so to find their ancestors there.

Unfortunately, except in very rare cases, this information is not available in the Gaol's archives as the prison registers are held by the National Archives.

Therefore, the Gaol does not offer a genealogical service.

 Prison Registers:

Kilmainham Gaol's prison registers (1796-1910) have been digitised by Eneclann - and these are now available online at the subscription website Find My Past.

Here one will find registers from many other Irish prisons, too,


Several Kilmainham Tales authors have their own websites, including:

Paul O'Brien

Shane Kenna

Mícheál Ó Doibhilín

Census Records:

From the National Archives Genealogy Website you can access the Census Records for 1901 and 1911, the Tithe Applotment Books from 1823 to 1837, the Soldiers’ Wills from 1914 to 1917, and the Calendars of Wills & Administrations from 1858 to 1922.

There is also a comprehensive list of genealogically-relevant websites here.

There are several interesting articles on this site about Irish records and the site is expected to add other genealogical records over the coming years, including:

19th century census survivals, 1821-51;

Valuation Office House & Field Books, 1848-60;

Census Search Forms for the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

Chain Reactions:
Rebellions, Risings and Consequences

These are just a tiny amount of links to this topic. More will be added as they are reviewed. Care must be taken in interpreting the 'facts' on these sites, as they may reflect the personal opinions of those who write them.

United Irishmen and their Rebellion of 1798

The Act of Union 1800:
1. Act of Union; 2. Act of Union (PDF); 3. The Union

Home Rule:
1. Home Rule for Ireland Q&A; 2: Home Rule and Ireland

Easter Rising, 1916:

The Irish War of Independence 1919-1921:
Irish War of Independence overview

The Irish Free State:
The Irish Free State

The Irish Civil War 1922-1923:

 Prison Architecture:

Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon

For a discussion of Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon prison design (the basis for Kilmainham Gaol's iconic East Wing) listen to this programme, first broadcast on RTE Radio 1, 14 July 2013, which includes Paul Thornton's excellent essay on the Panopticon and its operation.

Go to 09.00 mins and the essay is just 6 minutes long.

One may not think there is a place for genealogy on a history website, but there definitely is. 
      Many of the visitors to Kilmainham Gaol come there in the hope of being able to trace an ancestor or two who spent time there, or worked there. Indeed, in a few instances, we here in Kilmainham Tales are actively seeking the descendants of people who were in the Gaol, on either side of the fence.
      So, we will gradually add websites or other sources we found useful here. 

Useful Addresses:

Irish Genealogical Research Society Launches Free 1901 Townland Database
Posted June 03, 2014
Press release from The Irish Genealogical Research Society

The 1901 Index to Townlands is the key to identifying all land divisions in Ireland, and it is for the first time being made available online as a searchable database. It will quickly prove to be a resource that genealogists will come back to again and again as their research progresses. 

This new database has been made possible through the hard work of two Australians: historian Perry McIntyre and genealogist Terry Eakin, both IGRS members. They spent two years carefully inputting all of the data from the original 1901 hardcopy publication. 

There are just over 64,000 townlands in Ireland. They are Ireland's most basic - and ancient - land divisions, measuring from just a few acres to several hundred. From the mid-19th century, just before the period of the Great Hunger, Irish land divisions became standardised through the introduction of the Poor Law System in 1838. Although the Poor Law was abandoned in the 1920s, the same system of land division is still in use to this day.

Allowing for population density, the Poor Law System bundled together groups of townlands to form District Electoral Divisions (DED), which in turn were united to form Poor Law Unions (PLU). The residents of each DED paid the poor rate and elected the poor law guardians. As the 19th century progressed, PLU boundaries and subdivisions were also used in the administration of civil registration, census enumeration, health care provision, compilation of electoral rolls, the creation of pension boards under the Old Age Pension Act 1908, land valuation, property registration and local tax collection.

Given that the first Index to Townlands - published in conjunction with the 1851 Census of Ireland - did not note DEDs, the 1901 edition is all the more valuable given that it also records the DED number required to access data from the 1901 census returns, the earliest complete census for Ireland.

The new database can be used to either locate a particular townland and the various land divisions it forms part of, or to identify the names of all townlands which fall into a given District Electoral Division or Civil Parish.

Helpful hyperlinks in the 'Search Hints & Tips' section also allow researchers to identify the locality on a set of maps dating from 1935 which denote the various land division boundaries. In addition, Ordnance Survey Map numbers are noted.

Steven Smyrl, IGRS chairman, said: "We are incredibly grateful to the generosity of Perry and Terry for providing the Society with this invaluable new resource. For the first time, genealogists will be able to identify a townland even where they have only a garbled spelling; better still, they will be able to establish the names of the townlands surrounding it, which was just not possible with the original hardcopy index.

"This is yet another resource being made available to genealogists through the IGRS website IrishAncestors.ie, and one which I know for sure will be of immense help to all Irish family historians for years to come."

This database is being made available free to members and non-members alike on the IGRS website.


Relatives Association

Was a relative of yours involved in the Easter Rising?

A new association now exists for all relatives of those who fought for Irish freedom in 1916.

They hold regular meetings, are compiling a database, lobby the Government on its plans for 1916 and for places associated with the Easter Rising etc.

The association now has its own website at: http://www.1916relatives.com/

and is open to all relatives.

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