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Most genealogy researchers with Irish ancestry dream of making a trip to Ireland to visit their roots or maybe initiate their uncovering.

Trip to Ireland

Trip to Ireland

There are excellent archives and libraries in Ireland that hold original documents, contact the Genealogical Office which is based in the National Library of Ireland (NLI) for assistance in locating these records

It’s a long trip and probably one that will not be repeated many times so it’s important to use the time wisely. Schedule in research time and allow for a period to just enjoy the beautiful countryside, Irish heritage and some of the craic for which Ireland is famous.

With that in mind I’ve done up a list that helps me when I travel – adapt it to suit your own needs

Pre-trip Preparation

Consult the holdings of heritage centres before your visit to see what each has available; request info by mail or online before you go. While these places are interesting (some exceptionally so) for their artifacts and interpretive displays, don’t waste your time and money on a visit, expecting to view their materials yourself – it’s not available to the visitor

Do as much research as possible before departure.
Compile an organised list of the information you’ve already gathered

  • Names
  • Dates
  • Places
  • Documents and most importantly sources (you may need to refer to these during the trip)


You’ll need access to all your data while you are travelling, copy it to an SD card or place it online so that it’s accessible wherever you go

  • a genealogy/family tree site
  • email to self
  • upload to Dropbox, Google Drive or any cloud storage of choice

Schedule & Mapping

Make a list of the places you need to visit – mark them on Google Maps and plan your trip around them

Create a schedule around your genealogy research – factor in ‘free’ time to investigate new discoveries

Check websites for opening days/hours of museums/libraries etc

Make appointments where necessary

Prepare Relatives

If you are planning on meeting relatives, prepare them, give them information before your visit to trigger their memories

If it’s rural Ireland, consider car hire – not just for mobility but also flexibility

Local Knowledge

Local amateur genealogists/historians have spent many years researching and are often only delighted to share their knowledge with others. You’ll find such a person in most localities, try to arrange a meeting – these people have much local information that’s not recorded anywhere

Mobile Connectivity

If you plan an extended stay, bring a decent ‘Sim Free’ smartphone

Check WiFi availability in your accommodation, consider purchasing a 30 day Prepaid SIM card for an Irish network with an ‘All you can eat data’ allowance while on the trip – check mobile network coverage online for your areas to make informed decision on which network (none of the networks give complete coverage)

Charger & powerpack for phone (you may need a recharge while out and about)

Audio/Image Recording

Use your Smartphone as voice recorder, audio journal, scanner, camera, map and a diary

Extra flash cards for your phone/camera/recorder etc

Electricity Converter – Irish voltage is 220 ~ 240


Carry ID – you may need it for library reading cards etc.

Waterproof footwear if trekking through graveyards, a rain hat and a rain cape (it rains in Ireland sometimes)

A small rucksack

A small, powerful flashlight – shone at an angle can increase profiling of letters on headstones in dull light conditions

As an independent traveller:

  • make full use your Google maps
  • prebook July / August and city center accommodation, have at least a list for accommodation outside the cities in the shoulder months of May/June, Sept/Oct
  • research and book car hire, it’s usually much more keenly priced on the internet
  • buy a good quality paper map as a backup and you’ll experience more a ‘sense of place’ than blindly following directions on a sat nav

Ireland is a beautiful place, rich in history and heritage – try to experience some of this while on your research trip