I regularly use the databases on RootsIreland: www.rootsireland.ie This is the website of the Irish Family History Foundation. They have been placing the individual indexes from the county heritage centres online. The sources for each county on the databases are listed, and this is very important as this is a growing database.
Currently, the RootsIreland has 19 million records in their index. These are indexes only. Most are from Catholic and Protestant church registers, but there are also civil registration, tombstone inscriptions, censuses, Griffith’s Primary Valuation and passenger lists.
The church records cover most, but not all counties. A map featured on the website shows what is included. The next thing to remember is that not all denominations within a county are represented. Also, remember, half the Church of Ireland parish registers were destroyed in 1922, which accounts for some major gaps in the database.
RootsIreland added an advanced search where mother’s name can be added, a parent search, or in some cases, it can be narrowed to a particular parish or civil record. If you don’t know a county, you can do the basic search, and with enough information, it’s entirely possible to identify the correct family. This website is a major contribution to the field of Irish genealogical research.
People complain about paying for the final extract of the record. I would like to counsel that purchasing an entry for a few Euros is much cheaper than purchasing a plan ticket to Ireland. Another word about paying is to use your credit card. If you use your debit card, you will get extra bank charges attached to the cost of the search. I have learned that the hard way!