Top Ten Sites for the Historical Geography of Ireland

1. The Angus Maddison statistics on global economic history:

Throughout his long career Angus Maddison worked collaboratively to develop reliable statistics on the development of the world economy. You can download a marvellous spreadsheet with LOADS of data from this webpage –
From that data I produced the graph below showing the share of Global GDP that different regions represented in 2008.

2. Institute of Historical Research bibliography of works on Irish and British history

A guide to almost half a million articles and books. Fully searchable and continually updated.

3. Ordnance Survey historical maps
Disappointingly these historical maps are far beyond the pocket of most scholars for the purpose of comprehensive research at a price of €10-24 per A4 sheet. You can though browse the 6″ maps from 1829-41 and the marvelous 25″ maps from 1897-1913. But proper work requires downloading the PDFs and using them as layers within Adobe Illustrator and this will cost you. Guess where this map shows?


4. Irish census 1901 and 1911

The household returns for all of Ireland for 1901 and 1911 are available online. This is a very important resource for historical geography enabling detailed studies of social structure for streets, townlands, cities and counties. You can search for individuals or for locations. These people lived on Main Street, Maynooth in 1911.

5. British and Irish population materials 1801-1937

This website contains the published reports from each British and Irish census from 1801. These summary volumes are really useful as guides to the distribution of occupations, age structure, migration etc. for all parts of Ireland and Britain. The website also has the vital statistics (births, marriages, deaths) for Irish and British districts from 1838 onwards

6. National Library of Ireland catalogue

Invaluable as a guide to Irish publications. Also includes a guide to 33,000 digitised historical photographs.


7. Directory of sources for the history of women in Ireland

A searchable guide to 14,000 collections that contain material relevant to research into women’s history in Ireland.

8. A guide to sources for research on the labour history of Ireland

A good collection of links from the wonderful folks at the International Institute of Social History in the Netherlands; the rest of their website is also well worth a look.


9. Irish Newspapers Archive

Digitised versions of many Irish newspapers from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Fully searchable and a great way to begin research on a topic.

10. The Ryan Commission reports

As part of its charge to investigate child abuse in industrial schools and reformatories, the Ryan Commission produced an outstanding introduction to the history of institutional provision of care for children under the supervision of Catholic religious. The historical geography of this archipelago of childhood incarceration and abuse has hardly begun to be researched.

Gerry Kearns


  1. Ann Mullen · · Reply

    Thanks Gerry, I’m sure I’ll be using some of the web sites in the future.



  2. […] on from last week’s post on the top ten sites for studying the historical geography of Ireland, here is the top ten online resources (not necessarily in any order) for studying the geography of […]


  3. Another excellent resource for historical geographers is the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers under ‘H’ on the NUIM Library Databases and Ebooks. Browse the Ireland section in the 19th subject catalogue.


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