Congratulations to AGI members Máire MacConghail and Clare Doyle

AGI would like to congratulate our members Máire MacConghail and Clare Doyle on their recent achievements. AGI Fellow and former President, Máire MacConghail, contributed an essay, which she reads in beautiful Irish, for the radio series Aistí ón Aer, broadcast on Radió na Gaeltachta. Listen to the broadcast here. AGI Member Clare Doyle, library assistant at Roscommon County Library Services, has been awarded the A&O Shearman award for the best overall performance in the field of librarianship and information management, recognising excellence in a two year Library and Information Management Postgraduate Diploma at Ulster University. Read more about this here. … Read More


‘DIED AT SEA’…..WHAT IT DOESN’T TELL YOU Hilary O’Connor BA, MA, MAGI “Died at sea”…. What a generic statement that so many of us genealogists encounter on our quest for ancestors who were involved in World War II. Very little detail accompanies a statement like this and rarely can we fully comprehend what happened to our relatives in their final days and hours. My great uncle, P.J. Hollingsworth, was one such fatality and I have endeavored over the years to discover just what this statement would have meant for him. Patrick Joseph ‘P.J.’ Hollingsworth was the sixth of eleven children … Read More


THE TIN CHURCH AT REAR CROSS Aiden Feerick B.A., M.A.G.I. There are only a handful of tin churches in Ireland and each one of them is significant to their local congregation as well as being architecturally and technically important. The Catholic Church in Rear Cross Co Tipperary is still in use today and has a very interesting story of how a Methodist Chapel in Wales was repurposed as a Catholic Church in rural Tipperary. In 1886, Fr William McKeogh was appointed Parish Priest of the Kilcommon, Hollyford and Rear Cross, a very large parish on the Tipperary/Limerick border straddling the … Read More


THE DROMANA GATE Aiden Feerick B.A., M.A.G.I. Three miles south of Cappoquin in Co Waterford is one of the most unusual gate lodges in Ireland. It is the impressive entrance to the Dromana Demesne, Dromana House and Villierstown beyond. It has been photographed since the earliest days of the camera and has attracted thousands of visitors to Waterford; in addition, it is an outstanding feature of the architectural heritage of the country. The idea for this gate lodge was dreamt up by the tenants of Villierstown to welcome home the recently married Henry Villiers-Stuart and his Austrian bride, Theresia Pauline … Read More


  FAMILY PHOTOS. WHERE ARE THEY? Vincent M Brogan M.A.G.I. My grandmother Mary McCullagh died in 1972, and my grandfather in 1960. She was known locally as Minnie Watt, the Watt nickname distinguishing her family from the many other McCullagh families in that part of Co. Tyrone. I had been able to find out lots about both sides of our family history from her. Unfortunately, she had no family photographs to share, apart from her wedding photo, where, as a girl of 16, describing herself as “full age”, she had married my 26 year old grandfather John Brogan in 1910. … Read More


THE ISLANDS OF LERIN AND SAINT PATRICK Aiden Feerick B.A., M.A.G.I. Last summer, I visited the Ile Saint Honorat or Monks Island, one of the Lerins Islands in the south of France. In the cloister of the Cistercian Church there is a memorial to Saint Patrick with an inscription in French and Irish which reads: I gCuimhne Naomh Pádraig Aspal Mór na hÉireann [In Memory of Saint Patrick Great Apostle of Ireland]. People say that Ireland’s patron saint spent time there preparing for his mission to his adopted country. The island itself is an oasis of peace and serenity. It … Read More


NEPTUNUS OCEANI REX Steven C. Smyrl, M.A.G.I., F.S.G., F.I.G.R.S. Some years ago my step-mum gave me some papers from among my late father’s effects, stuff he had been holding on to for years. Among the bundle of papers were my grandparents’ passports dating from the 1950s, recording where they were stationed when my grandfather, James Christie Smyrl, served in the UK’s Royal Air Force. For periods at a time, they called home places like Southern Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – (1950), Libya (1955), Aden (1966) and Germany (1970). In 2015 my dad told me in detail about his time in … Read More

National Archives of Ireland has Extended its Lunchtime Opening Hours

The National Archives of Ireland has updated its opening hours.  While a lunchtime closure between 1-2pm had been in place since the post-Pandemic reopening, the Reading Room of the National Archives will now remain open over lunchtime on Mondays. This is a most welcome move that will allow researchers to continue their work without having to vacate the reading room.    


THE STONE-CUTTERS OF GLENCULLEN AND SOUTH DUBLIN Sandy O’Byrne, B.A., M.A.G.I. It began with the entry in the Calendar of Wills connected with research into a south Dublin/north Wicklow family. Something stirred in memory of lines from Samuel Beckett to connect Glencullen and stone-cutting. In his youth, the great man had walked the stoney hills of Glencullen and Kilternan, and years later the monotonous sound of the stone-cutting, or more accurately cleaving, had transformed into the backdrop for the death of Malone. “No, they are no more than hills, they raise themselves gently, faintly blue out of the confused plain. … Read More


TRACING THE FAMILY CAR Sandra Doble, M.A.G.I. My family has always believed that this is a photo of my grandfather, Frank Doble, with his first car. I wondered if it was actually his own car and decided to enquire of historic motor registrations. Legislation for registering cars came into force in Ireland in 1903. It was the responsibility of each County Council to register cars in their area. Survival of early registers is patchy and even where the folio books survive, there can be gaps in information. To have a chance of finding a record, one needs to know the … Read More