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. You can browse through the letters listed on this page and jump to one that takes your fancy, or enter a surname or placename in the search box to see which letters mention them. Enjoy.

All of our weekly letters to date

Five Surprising Ways to Search the 1901 Irish Census Records

Maybe you have heard that many Irish records were destroyed in a fire in Dublin in 1922 – and, as a result, it is difficult to source the details for…

Do You Know this Irish American Hero?

We have just arrived back from a very successful visit to Chicago and Milwaukee – and took full advantage of the movies on offer in the airplane. One in particular…

Have an Ancestry Brickwall? Here’s a new way to look at it.

We’re in Milwaukee attending the Irish Fest so I’m about six hours behind my normal self – hence the delay in the letter today! We’ve met up with some wonderful…

3 Things to know about your Irish Ancestor Surnames

This week, we are going to feature a reader’s letter – one that takes you from a small village in County Kerry to the big port of Hoboken in the…

Have You Walked one of the Pilgrim paths of Ireland?

At the moment I’m preparing an article that centres on the County Kerry village of “Kilgarvan”. This comes from the Irish for “Church of Saint Garvin” and travelling around the…

Irish saint

Do You Have an Irish Saint in Your Family Tree?

Earlier this week I saw the best TV episode of “Who do you think you Are” that I have seen so far. It featured the singer “Boy George” (full name…

Lifesize statue of an old Ford car

The Ford Motor Car and Confusing Irish Surnames

Now, if you were ever to take the south-westerly road out of Cork City, you would pass through the village of Ballinascarthy after an hour or so. On your left…

Sherlock film poster

The Elementary Truth Behind Some Irish Surnames

There is so much talk of immigrants in the news around the world today – so I thought it would be useful to examine an Irish view of “immigrants” in…

Carina in a church

Get the most from Irish Ancestry Records

Do you know the name of your godmother or godfather? How about the names of the witnesses at your wedding (presuming you had one of course)? Now, think about who…

Red Hair

Beautiful Maureen O’Hara and 3 Irish Surnames

I was working on an Irish surname last week – and was reminded by a reader just how important it is to understand Irish history and the origin of Irish…