President Obama Presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage

President Barak Obama accepts his Certificate or Irish Heritage from Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, presented US President, Barack Obama, with a Certificateof Irish Heritage at a St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House on Tuesday, 20th March. The President was also presented with the traditional bowl of shamrock.

Mr Kenny said “As a prominent reminder, and on your behalf of your historic homecoming, Mr President, it is my honour to present to you on behalf of the Irish people and of the government this formal Certificate of Irish Heritage.”

“This will have a special place of honour – alongside my birth certificate,” the President quipped.




Former Canadian PM Receives Certificate of Irish Heritage

Paul Martin Receives His Certificate of Irish Heritage

Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, presented former Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin with a Certificate of Irish Heritage during a visit to Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec as part of his visit celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, 2012.

Paul Martin Receives His Certificate of Irish Heritage

Quebec Premier Daniel Johnson, Norm Flynn, Founder and Executive Director of Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (H.E.R.O.S.), and Jason Burns, on behalf of his late father, Pat Burns, former coach of four NHL teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, were also presented with Certificates of Irish Heritage by the Tánaiste at a special luncheon.

Jim Edwards, Sydney, Australia

Bigger group compressed 150

On December 9th, 86 year old Jim Edwards from Sydney was presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage by Caitríona Ingoldsby, Consul General, at a ceremony at the Irish Famine Memorial at Hyde Park Barracks.

Mr Edwards great-great grandmother, Hannah Rafferty was born in Co. Roscommon and was an orphan girl sent to Australia following the great famine.

Attending the presentation were Mr Edwards, his daughter Susan and his son Peter, his wife and Mr Edwards’ grandson. Also present were Tom Power, Chairman of the Irish Famine Commemoration Committee and Vice Chairperson Perry McIntyre, Kate Clark, the Director of the Sydney Historic Houses Trust and Gary Crockett the Curator of Hyde Park Barracks Museum.

The presentation followed a reception held at the Consulate in Sydney to mark the launch of the Certificate of Irish Heritage which was attended by 125 people.

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE – London 24-26 February


The Certificate of Irish Heritage will be attending the world’s biggest family history event – Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE 2012. The show is being held at the Olympia, London between 24 and 26 February.

Come and visit us at stand 622:

  • Each of our Certificate designs and frames will be on display
  • Apply for a Certificate of Irish Heritage for yourself or as a gift for a family member or friend
  • Professional genealogists: find out about our Genealogist Affiliation Programme
  • Enter our WDYTYA? LIVE Prize Draw – and win your own framed Certificate of Irish Heritage!

As well as visiting us at the show, there is much more to see including selection of Irish exhibitors including Roots Ireland, the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (sharing a stand with AGRA & ASGRA) and Tourism Ireland. You can also attend one of the many Society of Genealogists Workshops – where you can listen to many speakers, including one of our Affiliated Genealogists, Helen Kelly of APGI. Why not see Larry Lamb, Emilia Fox and Richard Madeley in the Celebrity Theatre!

WDYTYA? LIVE promises to be an exciting and family history packed weekend – we hope to see you there!


Muiris Rogan recalls the dressing up for Wren Boys’ Day

In our continuing series of Christmas related audio clips, Muiris Rogan of Dingle, Co. Kerry recalls the dressing up for Wren’s Day or Lá an Dreoilín which is celebrated on St. Stephen’s Day, 26th December.

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Audio file and image copyright Irish Life & Lore 2011. Visit their website for more information on their many recordings at

Mick Moynihan and the Christmas Dinner!

Mick Moynihan of Mindard, Dingle, Co. Kerry talks about what he eats on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Listen to him recall his Christmas food memories…

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Audio file and image copyright Irish Life & Lore 2011. Visit their website for more information on their many recordings at

Irish Genealogy – Where Do I Start?

Today, we publish the first in a series of articles written by our guest blogger, Claire Santry, who is behind the excellent website Irish Genealogy Toolkit and her associated blog, Irish Genealogy News.


In Search of the Townland

Although it is may seem logical to jump straight into Irish records in pursuit of your Irish roots, the best place to start is nearly always with your immigrant ancestor in his or her new homeland. The only exception is when you know for certain exactly where your ancestor lived in Ireland.

There’s a good reason. Most old state and church records in Ireland were arranged geographically so unless you know the location, your research won’t get very far.

The most important information to uncover is the name of the townland. Historically, this was an area that could support a cow; a flat terrain with rich soil usually meant a small townland of less than 200 acres while mountainous and boggy land typically created a much larger unit. There are more than 61,000 townlands across the island.

Take care when the ancestral townland’s name has passed down the generations as the story may have distorted with the telling. Your ancestors may, for example, have ‘come from Derry’ but did they set sail from Derry, did they live in Derry City, or did the family come from somewhere in County Derry? There’s a big difference.

Similarly, you may know the townland name was Ballyboy, but was it one of the three Ballyboys in County Galway, one of the four in County Offaly, or one of the ten other Ballyboys across the south?

To establish the exact townland of origin, start asking questions of your closest living relatives. Does any ancestral memorabilia – a bible, memorial cards, letters etc – survive? What about stories of their ancestor’s early life? Ask the same questions of your more distant relatives as you widen the net.

Immigration and naturalisation records, census records, birth/marriage and death records, wills and gravestones should also be carefully examined in your own country. Don’t just follow your direct line. Look also for siblings who may have arrived with your ancestor; did they or their children record the golden nugget? It’s also worth checking people who arrived on the same ship as your immigrant. Friends and cousins from the same town often travelled in groups.

While the townland name is the crucial key that will unlock your Irish heritage, you should also note any record of your immigrant ancestor’s year of birth and his or her religion. If you can find all three precious items you will be ready to turn to records in Ireland and uncover more about your Irish heritage.

Read more about starting your Irish research from Claire at