Planning a Genealogy Research Trip to Ireland – Dublin Repositories – Part 1

When I was in Dublin visiting family in October 2015 there was of course time set aside for research. There were six repositories I wanted to visit in Dublin but I wasn’t sure I would get to them all. You can read more about my plan here.

My first day in Dublin wasn’t at a repository it was the Back to Our Past show at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS). I am very familiar with the RDS as I spent many happy times there at the various shows that are held in the spring and August. They would involve equestrian activities as well as antiques, and the RDS Crafts Awards.  When my Grandfather passed away there was a prize given in his name for one of the winners. The RDS Crafts Awards supports Irish crafts, artisans and design.

It was a long trek in from Dundrum where I was staying. It included a Luas ride, a walk from Stephen’s Green to Merrion Square and then a bus to the RDS. The Luas and bus were full so it was standing room only. I was standing next to a very nice lady on the bus and she had a two for one free entry ticket and offered me one so I got in for free. This show is put on in conjunction with the Over 50s show. It was in a separate section off on the side.

I was just in time to hear Maurice Gleason’s talk on DNA. I had met Maurice at the OGS Conference in Barrie and so we had a quick chat before his lecture. It was so nice to see such a full lecture hall for the event. There was an issue with extraneous noise from the other lecture and the exhibit hall in general. They had to move it to a smaller area on short notice so that could be the reason. There were not that many people in what we would call the marketplace. I had a chance to talk to several societies of which I am a member. One question I had for them was why they don’t start putting their meeting lectures online, either live or on video. This is something they are doing on this side of the Atlantic and I think it would help bolster the membership in the Irish societies. In my newsletters and journals I hear about these great lectures that my societies are presenting but I only usually get a few paragraphs of a synopsis which isn’t quite the same. A video could be put in the members only section on the society website and this would allow distance members a chance to see the presentation. Another lecture I attended was a panel discussion with Nicola Morris and John Grenham. It was very interesting.

John Grenham and Nicola Morris at Back to Our Past in Dublin Ireland
John Grenham and Nicola Morris at Back to Our Past in Dublin Ireland


There was one book I was looking for from the North of Ireland Family History Society and I did get that. It was “Researching Your Ancestors in the North of Ireland – County Tyrone.” I didn’t find the one on the Irish ANZACS that I wanted.

The Back to Our Past show is a three day event but I only made it on the first day because of family commitments. Still I was glad I got to see part of it.


National Library of Ireland
National Library of Ireland

The first repository I visited in Dublin was the National Library of Ireland. Newspaper research was my plan for the National Library. In particular I wanted to learn more about my Grandfather’s Liffey Swim win in 1928. I had to go through the Irish Newspaper Archives online and then I could go to the microfilmed newspapers to print a copy or download it from the website. I found the information about the Liffey Swim and some obituaries that I wanted but when it came to finding them in the newspapers it was nearly impossible. It was a very frustrating process for me that day. I have usually had such good luck researching in the National Library but it was not to be this time. I went to the Genealogical Office but they were so busy no one could help me. So I decided to try the Dublin City Library & Archives and see if they could provide me with the copies I needed. This proved a much more positive process and the librarian was extremely helpful.


Dublin City Library and Archives - Ireland
Dublin City Library & Archives – Ireland

Then there were a few more family events and the next stop was the National Archives of Ireland. Unfortunately they do not have an online catalogue to search and find out what may be helpful in my research. I was very spoiled by PRONI’s online catalogue. At the National Archives I was looking for modern wills and probate records, found several, had to order some and then come back to view them because they were held off site.


National Archives of Ireland
National Archives of Ireland

When I was at the Back to Our Past show I met Nicola Morris. We started talking and I mentioned some research on my Toppin family in Tipperary. Almost at the same time we said the word ‘murder.’ A member of my Toppin family was murdered in Buffanagh Tipperary. She had heard about it and knew that the Chief Secretary’s Office Papers had some more information on it. She sent me an email with the reference information and I ordered this when I was at the National Archives. This was a wealth of information. They even had a map of the crime scene. It will be a blog post later this year.

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