Irish Family History Specialists

National Library of Ireland

Kildare Street, Dublin 2



Before you visit the National Library of Ireland, if your main reason is to inspect the ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH RECORDS, which is probably their most important genealogical resource, you can find these online.

The reason why these records are so important is that, as per above, civil registration only started in 1864. If your research brings you to earlier years, the parish records are often your only hope. Some date back to 1740, and the archive contains records up to 1880. It should however be noted that a lot of parish records have not survived, are lost or never existed in the first place (a lot of people were simple not recorded). Also important is to note that the difference between civil parishes (a subdivision of townlands) and Roman Catholic parishes. Check you looking for the right parish! Finally, you also keep in mind that priests were humans, and were prone to errors when recording life events. And a lot of them had terrible handwriting!

Other resources that are held by the Library are:

  • Microfilm copies of the Tithe Applotment Books. There is an online database, but it is not reliable.
  • Archive of Newspapers. There is an online database that does allow you to search and read newspaper articles, but this is far from complete. Free access to this database is available in the dedicated Genealogy Room of the Library (it is a subscription based service).
  • Estate Papers;
  • Manuscripts. The Reading Room for manuscripts is located in a different building, also on Kildare Street, so not far from the main building.
  • Photographs. The National Photographic Archive is based in Temple Bar.
  • Street and Trade Directories.

There is an online catalogue available for most of these collections.

Finally, the National Library has a dedicated Genealogy Room and provides free access to as well as the aformented  Irish Newspaper Archive.

The Library is closed on Mondays. On Tuesday and Wednesday it is open from 9.30 – 19.45, on Thursday and Friday from 9.30 – 16.45 and on Saturday from 9.30 – 12.45. Newspaper and other microfilm archives are open to the public. For other collections, and to view original material, you will need a Reader’s Ticket. A reader’s ticket is valid for three years and gives readers access to all collections. You must bring your ticket with you when using the reading rooms, as original material will not be issued to you without it.

You can apply for a Reader’s Ticket in the Readers Ticket Office in the main building.  It only takes a few minutes to process an application and issue a ticket. All applicants must produce a form of photographic identification. Acceptable forms of identification include a passport, driver’s licence, student card, social security card, travel pass and employment ID. You will need to complete an online registration form. The Library will then check your form of identification, take your photograph and provide you with a Reader’s Ticket.  The office is open on Monday from 17.00 – 19.45, Tuesday to Friday form 10.30 -1 2.30 and 14.00 – 16.00 and on Saturday from 9.30 – 12.45

You are not allowed to make photo’s of any documents in any of the Reading Rooms. There is a separate room available for this purpose and there are also copy facilities, for which you will need to purchase a Copy Card.


Need Help? Click Here!


General Register Office

Read More

National Library Ireland

Read More

The National Archives of Ireland

Read More

Valuation Office

Read More

Registry of Deeds

Read More

1901/1911 Census

Read More

Civil Records

Read More

Church Records

Read More