Letter Archive

Welcome to the letter archive page for the weekly "Letter from Ireland". We started to write these letters in 2013 covering Irish Genealogy & Family History, Irish Surnames, Irish Culture & Customs and Ireland Travel, here you'll find a link to all of them.

 

Browse the letters listed on this page and jump to one that interests you, or enter a placename, surname or other item in the search box below to see related letters.

All of our weekly letters to date

From an Irish Goddess to Saint Brigid

I often hear from readers who are frustrated with the number of Johns, Marys, Williams, Catherines etc. in their Irish family tree as it makes it nearly impossible to sort out who is who with any degree of certainty! Today, we’ll focus on one of these “recurring” Irish names, a name with ancient gaelic origins…

Irish Ancestry Timeline

Using a Simple Irish Ancestry Timeline

When we lived in England during the 1990s, a phrase that I heard many times was “teaching granny to suck eggs”. Maybe you have heard it in your family? It was used in a context of not wanting to insult another person by stating what should be common sense already e.g. standing in front of…

Did Many of Your Ancestors STAY in Ireland?

Carina here – a bit of a change from Mike. I came downstairs earlier and pulled Mike off the keyboard to sent him back to bed – still stressing about “never missing a Letter from Ireland yet”. So I said, don’t worry, I’ll do it instead.At this stage I read the Letter from Ireland each…

Emigration from Ireland

The Irish Ancestry Trail

Don’t you just love that word – “Diaspora”? Apparently, it comes from the Greek word for “scattering”. The reason I bring this up today is because Ireland appointed it’s first “Minister for the Diaspora”. I first remember the word being used in the context of an “Irish Diaspora” when President Mary Robinson used to light a candle of…

Irish Placenames – An Overview

Just this week, I received a request from Helen Wyse (always listen to someone with Wyse as a surname!). Helen said: I am very curious about the naming conventions used for townlands, baronies, villages etc. which seem to repeated over and over again.  So many places are prefixed or suffixed in such a way that it…

The Evolution of Irish Surnames – Where your Irish Surname fits

When we look at Irish surnames today, it’s easy to get confused when we see names that appear to have several different spellings, some look very English or Scottish – how could they be Irish you ask – while other names appear to randomly have an “O” or “Mac” in front of them. Before We…

Using the Irish Tithe Applotment Books

Have you ever looked at census records as part of researching your Irish ancestors? If you have, then you realise just how valuable they can be when locating your ancestral families at a particular location and time. In this letter, we chat about using a census but also one very particular resource that will give you…

Stuck In Your Irish Ancestry Research? Here’s What to Do Next.

This week’s letter is one for all the Irish Family History enthusiasts out there. We tackle the question: “What do I do when I am stuck in my family history research?” by working with one of our Green Room members and making some suggestions relevant to her particular situation. However, you may notice one or two…

Celebrating Samhain – What This Time Of Year Means to Me.

For me, this is a special time as we transition into the winter here in Ireland – a time when I am aware of our connections to the past and those who have gone before us. In bygone days, it was a time when people felt closer to their ancestors – and many traditions have grown up around…

The Irish President and The Irish Poet.

One of the things we are most proud of here in Ireland are the work of our writers and poets. These wonderful characters manage to capture the mood and thoughts of a whole nation when they’re performing at their peak. A member of this mighty band of Bards – Derek Mahon – passed away earlier this week. In the…