Dermott Brereton is one of the 30 percent of Australians who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. It's becoming easier to find out about your ancestors, and Dermott's journey began in Dublin
, Ireland's capital. He found the house his mother put on her marriage certificate, but she owned up to fibbing and used that address so she could marry his father in that particular parish.
The National Archives
The National Archives has a wide variety of records relevant to Irish genealogy and local history. You will find census returns and pictures and images of the period you are interested in. If you've ever wondered, it also holds records of convict transportation.
Before beginning a genealogical search in the National Archives, it is essential to collect as much information as possible about the family you're investigating. The National Archives cannot carry out genealogical research for readers or correspondents but it does provide a genealogy service whereby members of the public may speak to a professional genealogist about sources relating to their family history.
Dermott had the invaluable assistance of genealogist Helen Kelly, who was able to trace his roots to the early 1700s in Germany's Rhineland, followed by various places all over Ireland.
The reading room is open on weekdays between 10am and 5pm. You require a reader's ticket which you can download from the Archives' website. There is also a wealth of information to get your search underway on the site.
National Library of Ireland
Opened in 1890, the library was built for the Royal Dublin Society to promote the arts and sciences and improve conditions for the poor. It is now Ireland's bibliographic centre incorporating the Heraldic Museum and Genealogical Office. Admission is restricted to those carrying a reader's ticket which are issued to those whom the library considers to have "genuine research needs". Applications can be made in person and a decision will be reached immediately.
The Genealogical Office caters for those wishing to carry out family research but who are unfamiliar with the library's extensive collection. It's open between 10am and 10pm Monday to Wednesday, 10am and 5pm Thursday and Friday and 10am and 1pm on Saturday. The average waiting time is 15 to 30 minutes and no bags, coats, drinks or food are permitted. There is no cost.
Thirty kilometres west of Dublin
, Kildare is famous as thoroughbred horse country. The Irish National Stud is one of Ireland's major tourist attractions and the only one open to the public. It opened in 1946, and the bloodstock is world-famous. There are guided tours, or you can wander around unescorted.
Twenty-one-year-old Vintage Crop won the Melbourne Cup in 1993, and he is enjoying life at the stud. He won his a prize of £1.1 million ($2.2 million) so he's certainly earned his retirement. As well as magnificent thoroughbreds, the stud has Europe's finest Japanese Gardens, St Fiachra's Garden and, of course, a museum.
Adare, County Limerick
Snuggled in lush countryside, Adare is regarded as being Ireland's prettiest village. Sitting on the River Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon, it dates at least to the early 13th century and has been the scene of many conquests, wars and rebellions. It has suffered much destruction over the centuries, and the present village was built mainly in the 19th century. There are quaint thatched cottages lining the main street, beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins.
Dermott's great-grandparents married in Adare in 1885, and it's still one of the most popular villages for weddings. Dermott's cousin Peter Faichney joined him and they headed to Killeen.
Dermott's great-uncle took over occupancy of a house, offices and more than 24 hectares of land in Killeen about 120 years ago. Current owner Michael Harty showed true Irish hospitality and invited Dermott and Peter into the home of their ancestors. Sadly, they discovered its days may be numbered as a motorway is planned for the area.
All in all it was a wonderful experience, and even if you don't have Irish blood in your veins, Ireland is certainly a beautiful place for a holiday.