I have a few Irish connections, but not many considering the number of people in my tree. G, on the other hand, has a direct ancestor who was Irish and moved to Scotland; one of his children (or maybe a few of them, I can’t clearly remember offhand) emigrated to Australia. This is a clear indication that genealogists can easily be looking in the wrong place for the information they seek.
Anyway, I was thrilled to discover that the Irish Census records for 1901 and 1911 have been made available online. From what I can see, the records are searchable and free. This is courtesy of The National Archives of Ireland.
About the 1901 and 1911 censuses
The 1901 and 1911 censuses are the only surviving full censuses of Ireland open to the public. Both censuses cover the island of Ireland. They were released to public inspection in 1961, because of the stream of requests for information about people’s ages, particularly those born before civil registration of births began in 1864.
The 1901 census was taken on 31st March 1901. The 1911 census was taken on 2 April 1911.
What information does the census contain?
Ireland is unusual among English-speaking census-taking countries in that our original household manuscript returns survive. These are the forms filled out and signed by the head of each household on census night. Most other countries only have Enumerators’ books, where family details were transcribed by the person charged with collecting the census information.
The basic topographical divisions for the census are: County; District Electoral Division; Townland or Street. This is a simple hierarchical structure which makes it easy to access any area in the country. The returns are arranged in clusters by townland/street within district electoral division within county. For each townland/street, there are a number of original household returns, filled in and signed by heads of households, and three statistical returns, dealing with religious denominations, classification of buildings, and out-offices and farm-steadings, filled out by the Enumerator for that townland/street.
– taken from The National Archives of Ireland website