John from Ireland wrote to me with a few suggestions for using the Irish Census data available on-line. He began by pointing out www.census.ie which provides information on how the Irish census is used today as well as its role in history and as a valuable research tool. Click here to go directly to the history portion of the site. This page contains interesting information on the census and will also link you to the National Archives, the home of the 1901 and 1911 Irish census.
I suspect many of you researching your Irish roots are familiar with the Irish census data from 1901 and 1911 on the National Archives of Ireland website. You have a couple of options for looking at the census: you can browse or you can search.
If you know the county, parish, and townland of origin for your subject, why not take leisurely browse through the actual records. This method can be a bit more time-consuming, but you may get a bit more of a feel for your subject’s life.
Of course, a search will get you to your goal a bit faster, and you can always browse the records from that point. Either way, these records are fascinating and can provide valuable information for your family tree.
John pointed out a list of several links at the bottom of the main census page on the National Archives site that I had completely missed. These photographs and articles provide some context to the 1901 and 1911 census data. See a tram timetable from 1911 or a photograph of the 1903 All-Ireland champs from Kerry. The eviction scene from County Galway (below) is one of the items listed.
Speaking of browsing, I was completely sucked in by another collection John recommended, the digitized photograph collections at the National Library of Ireland . The photographs are organized in several smaller collections, according to time period, region, and subject matter. If one of the collections fits your area of research, click on the name and you will be able to further filter your search. Or you can just browse through the photo collections. The photographs can be downloaded, free of charge.
Many thanks to John for providing a fresh perspective on researching Irish roots!