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This is an online diary of my latest trip to Ireland.
Dennis J. Ahern

Thursday, March 3rd

Headed off to the General Register Office in Lombard Street to begin searching for certain birth records needed by my primary client, the one who was paying my fare to Dublin to do his research. It wasn't crowded and I had all my citations ready to go so did not need to look in the index books, which cost you for each five years' worth at a time. As luck would have it, none of the five I had prepared turned out to be the right one. I had one more for this individual ancestor and I turned it in with my 1.90 euro but they came back in a minute to say "Sorry, you've had your five". So I left it with them and said I would be back for it the next day.

The GRO is across the street from a block of flats and through the windows, while I sat waiting for my copies I observed the women hanging laundry on their balconies, a cigarette ever-present in their mouth or hand.

From the GRO I went on over to the National Library of Ireland in Kildare Street where I called on Paul Gorry at the Genealogical Advice centre and chatted about the current state of things genealogical in Ireland. I had to wait until someone returned from lunch to get my reader's ticket updated. If you are getting a ticket for the first time you have to bring two passport size photos with you. These can be gotten at most chemists (drug stores) in the vicinity. The good news is, if you've got an old ticket, they cut your picture out, stick it on the new card and relaminate. If only it were like the "Picture of Dorian Gray" but alas, I am changing and my ID is not.

Spent what time was left at the Library. At the Genealogy Advice Service I took a look at the microfiche of Rosemary ffolliot's biographical index to Kerry and Limerick Newspapers and wrote down the dates and papers of all the Ahern I could find. Then I went up and started cranking microfilm and transcribing news items from 18th century papers. One tale I copied out was about a 10-year old orphan boy employed as a chimney sweeper who got stuck and suffocated in the chimney of a bakery his master insisted he climb up even though the oven had only been out four hours.

The thing I always forget at the NLI is that when the fifteen minute 'til closing bell is rung, it is already too late for a last-minute trip to the gents' lavatory downstairs. Fortunately, there are other facilities in the neighborhood, such as the Kilkenny Department Store around the corner on Nassau St.


I forgot to mention that I had been to the Dublin City Archives at the recently re-opened Gilbert Library at 138-142 Pearse Street, around the corner from the GRO. This lovely facility is well worth a visit, especially if you are researching civil records at the GRO which charges you 1.90 euro to look at five volumes of index books. Unless you have done your research at home, using microfilm indexes from the LDS or other source, you can waste a lot of time and money at the GRO trying to decide which five records to request for your daily ration. The good news is you can view these index books on microfilm at the Gilbert Library for free and even print out pages on which you can check off which records you have ordered. Not only that, but the Gilbert is open evenings. You can pick up a handful of order blanks at the GRO and fill them out the night before. Then just walk in and hand in your slips at the counter and you are done for the day. Unless of course you want to wait while they look them up. In my case I would be at the GRO each day when they opened the doors, pick up my five from the day before at the counter and if there were no hits, hand in another five and walk out. It usually took me less than half an hour if I got there by 9:30. Glibert Library
Gilbert Library on Pearse St.

At the Gilbert I noticed they had a very nice free booklet on Irish Archives and asked if I could get a couple of dozen for the TIARA group that was arriving on Saturday. They had to go to a storage facility to get enough to fill my request but they very nicely put together a bundle of them along with an equal number of brochures about the services available at the Gilbert.

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