I am often asked about passenger lists leaving ports in Ireland and the United Kingdom. These begin in 1890. However, this has to be placed in context.
If the people I am researching left Ireland prior to 1890, then you may not find them in a record leaving Ireland. However, consider many people or their children went back and forth. This was more common as families climbed the social ladder in their emigrant country. So you may find family members in these records.
When considering these records, remember, all of Ireland was part of the UK until 1921. After then the Northern Ireland ports only are part of the UK collection. The original records are housed at the National Archives at Kew, outside of London (cataloged as BT27). I remember using originals there several years ago. This amazing collection is now online as “Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960” at: www.findmypast.co.uk This is a pay for view website, and well worth your funds. It’s a professional and reputable website which I use all the time in my client research.
Which Irish ports are in this collection? The main ports where records were generated are Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Londonderry/Derry and Queenstown/Cobh. While ships were bound for ports worldwide, the majority were headed for Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
This collection is well worth your time. Just make sure you place it in context and remember to look for people who may have gone back and forth.