Visiting Ireland

This guide was last updated in 2009

The key to successful research is to plan ahead of your visit: identify records that may help you in your search, and their location.

The National Archives, PRONI, and National Library have useful websites detailing their collections. You can email them for details of more specific records available to help in your search.

To search births, deaths and marriages indexes on your visit, Northern Ireland records can be accessed in the public search rooms at GRONI by appointment. Be sure to make an appointment two weeks in advance – call 028 90252 000, or email:

The GRO in Dublin does not have a booking facility but space is limited, so plan your trip around their opening time of 9.30am.

Appointments are not required for visits to PRONI or the National Archives – both are open from Monday to Friday, but opening hours vary. Both will require some form of photo-ID (passport/driving licence) in order to issue you with a reader’s card. The best day to visit PRONI is on Thursday, when it is open from 10am to 8.45pm.

To view parish registers, contact the RCB Library (Church of Ireland) to identify what registers exist for your ancestor’s parish, and where they are held.

All Catholic parish registers are held in local custody, so you could write to the local parish priest and make an appointment to view the registers on your visit: search for the relevant contact details on the Catholic Ireland website.

Alternatively you can view some registers at PRONI or the National Library in Dublin (email them first to see what registers are available).

Finally, when visiting your ancestral townland, remember to speak to local people. In more rural parts of Ireland, families have lived in the same area for generations, and recollections of older members of the community are invaluable – especially if they remember some interesting or colourful snippet of information about your ancestors.

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