When the Public Record Office in Dublin was burned during the 1922 Irish Civil War, the majority of the wills were destroyed. Efforts soon were underway to call in second copies held locally. The resulting gathered records create a major collection for the now National Archives of Ireland (NAI). Much of the collections has been microfilmed and are at the Family History Library (FHL).
There are several ways to access the NAI will collections. One is the “Testamentary Documents Card Index” covering the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries:
The NAI collections have been indexed, with reference numbers on the website “Irish Origins” website: www.irishorigins.com database, “Irish Will Index, 1484-1858.” With the NAI reference, you can order the document from the NAI or examine the collections at the FHL to see if it has been microfilmed.
While most of this online index is composed of wills or related testamentary matters (wills, probates, administrations), about 10% of the database is not. This additional material includes mostly marriage licenses and genealogical abstracts. It covers all of Ireland, including Ulster and corresponds with the Testamentary Card Index at the NAI.
The key to accessing the wills gathered at the NAI is the indexes. Chances are they are on microfilm through the FHL. This makes researching for surviving copies easier than ever.