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Counties in Time – documents and commentaries from the National Archives of Ireland

The National Archives is used extensively by local and family historians from all over the country and from abroad, as well as by political, economic, social and administrative historians. Local history is a major area of interest for many people and the Counties in Time cd-rom aims to introduce a sample of the records held in the National Archives of Ireland to a wide audience.


The records that were chosen to feature on the Counties in Time cd-rom exist – in nearly all cases – for the 32 counties of Ireland and cover the period from the late 16th century to the mid 20th century. The cd-rom is easy to navigate and is user-friendly with an extensive ‘Help’ section. There are scanned images for almost all of the documents chosen and in order to view a larger version of the images, they must be doubled clicked – the documents themselves are also available for consultation in the Reading Room of the National Archives.


Counties in Time features transcripts for those documents which are difficult to read, short illustrated histories for each county and explanatory introductions to all of the record classes. There is a glossary of terms such as ‘conacre’, ‘Whiteboy’ and ‘cess’, together with a timeline which provides a short chronology of Irish history since the 16th century and which gives details on several key national events that are referred to in the county histories. There is also a guide to using original records for historical research.


The cd contains almost 1000 documents, including 16th-century Chancery Pleadings, 17th-century Books of Survey and Distribution, 18th-century Proclamations, 19th-century Famine papers, and 20th-century records of the first Dáil. Counties in Time is invaluable for local and family historians both in Ireland and abroad, post-primary teachers and pupils, and individuals interested in Ireland’s archival heritage.


The variety of the documents included – ranging from proclamations against Catholics holding arms during the penal days to family returns for the 1901 and 1911 censuses, from the records of 17th-century land redistribution to police reports on 1930s IRA activity, and from mid-19th century crime reports to 1867 photographs of Fenian suspects – is testimony to the rich archival heritage preserved in the National Archives of Ireland. Counties in Time can be purchased from Eneclann Ltd.



Fenian John Cade, circa 1867 (Fenian Photographs FP 51)

Fenian John Cade, circa 1867 (Fenian Photographs FP 51)