For decades, public health scientists have been assuring us that the common cold is caused by our spending half the year indoors sneezing on each othe(...)

Irish Roots

In Ireland we tend to congratulate ourselves on the way we deal with death. Or, more precisely, with other people’s bereavements. There aren’t many pl(...)

Irish Roots

The revolution in online record access continues. So what can we expect in 2015?The “big one” is the arrival online of the National Library’s microfil(...)

Irish Roots

Those tea-towel maps that show the locations of Irish surnames have always seemed more than a bit absurd. Imagine giving directions based on them: “Ta(...)

In Myles na gCopaleen’s wonderful parody of Gaeltacht autobiography, An Beál Bocht (The Poor Mouth), the narrator, Gaeilgeoir Bonaparte O’Coonassa, de(...)

How did Scandinavians go from being the most bloodthirsty warriors in European history to the very models of a well-behaved citizenry? Viking society (...)

Irish Roots

A striking number of venerable Irish surnames originated as Gaelic Irish designations of outsiders. The best known of these is “Walsh”, with its varia(...)

A huge change is coming soon for everyone involved in Irish genealogy. By summer 2015, the National Library of Ireland will have a dedicated website m(...)

Irish Roots

The vast majority of records used for genealogy or local history are snapshots of a particular instant: a wedding, a single evening in April 1911, a n(...)

Irish Roots

I saw my first Protestant at the age of 10, when he joined fifth class in St Paul’s National School in Castlerea. After ascertaining that he wasn’t tr(...)