Many records documenting the history of Ireland and her people were lost forever when fire swept through the Public Record Office of Ireland in the Four Courts, Dublin, in 1922. This disaster, following the destruction of the Record Tower in Dublin Castle in the early 18th century, and the destruction by government order of the 1861-1891 census returns, means that Irish researchers must face the loss of most 20th century Irish census records, along with civil, probate and parish records valuable for Irish family history research.
While there are a few notable records that survive that cover the majority of Ireland, including Griffith's Valuation and the 1901 and 1911 Ireland census, the majority of Irish records available to genealogists cover smaller areas, including fragments of early censuses, and especially parish records. Despite these limitations, however, many sites offer valuable data for researching Irish ancestry in the form of extractions, transcriptions and digitized images. To get you started tracing your Irish ancestors I've highlighted 16 of my favorite Web Sites for Researching Irish Ancestors.