Irish Roots: Back to our past


The Senior Times is an Irish publication aimed at people old enough not to get annoyed at such euphemisms as “third age” and “golden years”. It is very successful. The publishers behind it also run the Irish franchise for the “Over 50s Show”, a consumer event staged at different venues around the country over the course of the year, and also very successful.

This year’s Dublin show, running from Friday 18 October to Sunday 20 October at the RDS is its fourteenth in a row, and likely to be the biggest yet, topping 25,000 attendees.

A large reason for the success of the Dublin event is the way the organisers mix in smaller shows that appeal to sub-groups of its main audience. The Coin and Stamp Fair is one. But the biggest is “Back To Our Past”, a genealogy event started four years ago that has now grown to be the main public face of Irish family history. It hosts professionals, publishers, websites, software and hardware providers, libraries and institutions, and provides a unique opportunity to engage face-to-face with everyone in Ireland involved in the area.

It also runs an extraordinary series of presentations, no fewer than 31 separate lectures and seminars over the three days, covering topics ranging from “Irishmen in the Korean and Vietnam Wars” to “How to Draw a Family Tree (without going through four rolls of wallpaper)”.

In addition, this year the organisers are also playing host to “Genetic Genealogy Ireland”, a three-day series of another nineteen lectures on the uses of DNA in researching Irish ancestors, surnames and population migration.

So much is packed into the three days that it will be physically impossible to get to even half of the good stuff. Serious advance planning is needed. Start at