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Local Studies

Index of Townlands of County Kildare

Introduction | Search Page | Browse | The Data Explained

Introduction to the Townlands Database of Co. Kildare

Database Compiled by Mario Corrigan

Kildare Collections and Research Services incorporates the three related departments of Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives within Kildare Library and Arts Services.

Part of its remit has become the publication of primary and secondary material on the Internet (details and resources here) to encourage people to engage in local history and genealogy as well as increasing accessibility to the fabulous Irish, Local and Archival collections in Kildare County Library.

It is hoped that material such as this will prove to be an invaluable resource for local historians, researchers, third level students, school children and anyone interested in the rich and varied history of the County of Kildare. Certainly it will add to the range of material currently available online, as part of the Library commitment to making resources available and accessible via its enormously successful Ehistory site (which has a category specifically designed for secondary students to meet the changes in the School History Curriculum and to create a successful project and its Online Resources and Research Aids

From a Library perspective this ‘publication’ on the internet could not have been completed without the support of Co. Librarian Breda Gleeson, Senior Executive Librarians, Marian Higgins and Eimear McGinn and Genealogist Karel Kiely who, as Secretary to the Irish Family History Foundation, made the note on townlands available to us. Likewise it could not have been completed without the help of Niamh McCabe and Roy O’Brien who worked on the inputting and editing over successive summers. Much gratitude is due to Niamh and Roy for their enthusiasm and patience.

The actual conversion of the database for the Internet could not have been done without the help of Kildare Community Network, whose website is an essential stopping point for anyone with an interest in County Kildare and I would like to thank Reg, Kevin and Beatrice for all their hardwork on the database and other online resources for Kildare Library and Arts Services.

Essentially the database is based on the 1851 printed Townlands List but it has been expanded to include changes to the townland system by 1911 (e.g. Kilkea Demesne is created as a townland and Skeagh is annexed to Dublin) and changes with respect to Towns, some of which like Tipperkevin have their ‘town’ status revoked because there are no longer 20 inhabited houses within the ‘town’ area.

The database has been enlarged to include the District Electoral Divisions. It also includes the microfilm references for the 1901 and 1911 Census and the notes which accompanied the 1911 Census Index and include references to institutions etc.

This searchable database is to aid researchers in identifying particular areas within Co. Kildare but it is important to understand the differences between the basic terms used and the geographical and religious divisions which often seem to confuse. One townland could indeed be split over two Civil Parishes – be in two Baronies and sometimes even two different Dioceses; or parishes across two different Counties. The majority of people in search of their ancestors in Ireland are looking for Roman Catholic records but the administrative breakdown of the island in terms of Griffith’s Valuation, Census etc. is by Civil (roughly equivalent to Church of Ireland) Parishes and these are not geographically the same. It is important to understand the differences and indeed in terms of locating the actual area or record, vital. Some explanations are given here but it is simply a guide to understanding the database, and other research should be done to develop a greater understanding.

Mario Corrigan
Executive Librarian
Kildare Collections and Research Services
Oct. 2008