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

The Irish Roots of a Yankee Doodle Dandy

Did you know that Mr. Yankee Doodle Dandy himself – George M. Cohan – has deep Irish roots? Read on to find out more about his Irish family origins and more.

Vikings, Irish Holy Wells and a Craft Brewery

We’re going to dive a little deeper into the subject of Irish well water today – encompassing the Vikings, the brewing of beer in Ireland and a little urban history along the way.

This Was The Most Populated County in Ireland

Do you know which Irish county had the highest population by the end of the 1800s? Well, read on and you will find out, that county is the subject of today’s Letter from Ireland.

Let’s Chat To A Native Irish Gaelic Speaker

This man grew up in an Irish Gaelic speaking household. He wants you to learn just a few words of Irish – and tells us why!

The Story of One Italian Genius and His Irish Mother

Do you ever marvel at the miracle of modern communication? Our ability to make calls and send emails almost instantly and at such little cost? Today I would like to introduce you to a fascinating man (and his Irish mother) who played a crucial part in the making of that modern miracle.

Do You See Yourself As Irish?

When I am travelling in Ireland and someone asks me – “Where are you from?” – the answer is usually expected to be the county where you live. It’s only when I travel abroad that I start to think of myself as an “Irish man” as opposed to a “Cork man”. Do you have a similar experience?

Are Your Irish Surnames On This Saintly List?

Have you ever had something in your possession that you are minding for future generations? Perhaps a ring, a piece of jewellery a book or a piece of furniture? Here, in Ireland, we often tend to pass down baby christening robes through several generations. Our grandson was recently christened in a robe that was also used by his father and his grandmother – both standing proudly beside him!

How This Overlooked Resource can help your Family History Search

Have you ever tried to track down the “life and times” of one of your Irish ancestors? It can be a fascinating (and sometimes frustrating) process as you put the pieces together and gradually gain a glimpse of what life was like at the time for those ancestors.

Walking among the stones - Kealkil Stone Circle, County Cork

Celtic Druids and Irish Surnames – Do You See Your Family Name Here?

Explore the Druidic families of Ireland and their professions in this week’s letter. Some Irish surnames are associated with professions, such as “Hickey” for “Healer” and “Ward” for “son of the Bard”. Who knows, your family might have inherited a trait from these ancient times!

Locating the Source of One Irish Surname

I recently had a chat with Eileen – one of our Green Room members – about her own Irish surname of “White”. She was unsure where in Ireland her White ancestor lived before he departed for America. Some records said “County Mayo”, while others stated “County Kilkenny”.