If you’re thinking about going to Ireland or Northern Ireland on a research trip, I would like to offer you a few pointers. These are basic, but they at least give you some food for thought.
The archives in Dublin and Belfast are excellent and helpful. However, if you are not prepared before you go, they can do little but point you in a vague direction. You have to be prepared.
If you can look at microfilm of Irish sources locally, then do it! Some archives don’t let you look at particular microfilm as that may be their security copy. So you’re looking at originals. There may also be restrictions on using an original depending on its condition.
Do your leg work at home first.
Many libraries have copies of Irish collections, as they have purchased microfilm from Dublin or Belfast libraries. Also, many genealogical societies in the United States and Canada will make special trips to Salt Lake City or another repository such as the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Become part of those special trips. They are well worth it.
Make sure you have scanned all Internet sites and databases for what you are looking for. Then if you don’t find it, Google it and see what pops up. I’m often amazed at what a Google search will bring up!
Once you know what you need and what is only available in Dublin or Belfast; then book your tickets. However, check the websites for the library in question to make sure there are no closures. Also, don’t forget to play tourist while you’re there.
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