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How did your ancestors live?

How did your ancestors live?

Irish social history research

Finding out about your ancestors is just the beginning ... learn about their lives. How did they live? What were their lives like?

Stone cottage.
Ruined farmhouse, along the road heading up to the Muckish Gap, north Donegal.

Explore Irish social history websites

Black and white image of an Irish village.
Ireland in the early 20th century
Photographs of Dublin, Belfast, Kerry, Galway, Waterford and Cork from the National Archives of Ireland
Sepia image of family group.
Photographs in the National Library of Ireland
Browse or search more than 14,000 images online, 1870–1940
Bride with a long veil.
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland flickr photostream
Wedding photographs taken by Herbert Thackwray Allison, 1910–1951, arranged by surname
Portrait of a man.
The Irish Famine, Jim Donnelly
BBC History website
Woman and two children.
Moving Here – Migration Histories – Irish
England has the largest number of Irish migrants and decendants of Irish migrants. This online history was developed by a consortium of 30 archives, libraries and museums led by the National Archives (UK). It includes contributed oral histories and an image gallery.
Portrait of a man with a moustache.
Browse the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census forms
Organised by townland, with detail at the household level and digital copies of the handwritten census forms. National Archives of Ireland.
Portrait of a man in a circular frame.
The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf
An online exhibition in Flickr of photographs relating to Irish migrants to Canada. Library and Archives of Canada.
Map with Ordnance Survey Ireland.
Irish Ordnance Survey maps, 1829–42
(opens in new window)
An interactive hand-drawn map with incredible detail, it includes the location of houses, churches, schools, mines, wells, fields etc. Held by the National Mapping Agency of Ireland.
© Ordnance Survey Ireland/Government of Ireland.
Licence No. MNE0000111.
A poster with the words Irish Republic at the top.

Library Ireland
A free online resource of books and articles on Irish history, genealogy, and culture. Transcripts are available online with full text searching.

National Library of Australia
Register for a library card with the National Library of Australia (residents of Australia) and get free online access to subscription databases including: Irish Newspaper Archives, Dublin Castle Records 1798-1926 and the JSTOR archive of scholarly material, Ireland collection.