Thom’s – more than just a ‘Dublin’ Directory…

The first three articles in the series on Thom’s Directories are now available (updated 17th Oct ’19) :

Thom’s – more than just a ‘Dublin’ Directory…

Part 1 – Introduction and INDEX

Part 2 – Foreign and Colonial Directory

also included at this stage is a full transcript of the section detailing Market Towns in Ireland 1865,  which includes Market Days, Populations of towns in 1861 and some Market types – Cattle, Corn, Pork etc.

Further articles (~16) will be added over the coming weeks…

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Using the GRO Image Browse Tool – Example

following on from the article detailing the Browse GRO BMD Image tool I’ve included an example below on how to use the indexes on FamilySearch / FindMyPast in combination with the GRO Image Browse tool to locate correct images for entries either not found on the IrishGenealogy website, or where the image link is missing or invalid.

The example birth is that of a Catherine Lafferty father’s name Patrick born July/September Quarter 1887 in Stranorlar Registration district. A search of the birth indexes on FamilySearch and FMP shows two likely results the first in volume 2 page 319 and a second in the same volume on page 322.

There’s no sign of matching entries on the IrishGenealogy website under Lafferty..

The key details to note are the year/quarter, district volume and page (the folder, image & film references are FamilySearch internal references)

Lafferty birth index on FamilySearch

Lafferty birth index on FindMyPast

The next step is to do a generic search of all births during 1887 in Stranorlar district using FamilySearch or FindMyPast and look for births with the same year/quarter, ideally with a distinctive name – I picked a Mary Ann Ramsay :

Name Mary Ann Ramsay
Event Type Birth
Event Date Jul – Sep 1887
Registration District Stranorlar
Volume Number 2
Page Number 320

A little luck with this because her birth entry is on page 320 so close to our two possible matches. Look for this name on IrishGenealogy, leaving off the middle name which they dont usually index, and just 5 turn up for all Ireland, including just one in Stranorlar district.

Birth entry for Mary Ramsay 1887

Open the record and select the image link option to view the image and confirm that Mary Ann Ramsay is shown on the page, and that the page number is correct (320 top left of the page) . Copy the URL for the pdf page image from the browser address, and then open the GRO Image browse tool.

Copy URL from image page

Paste the image URL – starting with the https ending with .pdf

Paste the image url into the textbox and click submit – the same register image should be shown – click the ‘< Previous link, at the top of the page to show page 319 and look for the first possible match, it’s entry 41 and father’s name is Stephen, so not the right one.

Catherine page 319

Click the ‘Next >’ link three time to get to page 322 and the right one.

Catherine page 322

Sometimes you have to repeat the steps as there can be several different books and sub-districts in use at the same time with overlapping page numbers.

The same basic steps can also work when you get an entry on IrishGenealogy without an image link. There are also some genuine mis-indexed records – where the page matches the index reference but there’s no sign of the record in question, these sometimes turn out to be misreadings of the page number – e.g. 515 vs 518 etc.

Some image links show a page in an incorrect volume, e.g. the incorrect registration district or county at the top, where these occur note the page number and try the images for other index entries with the correct district and similar page number.

p.s. it turns out that both these births have been indexed on IrishGenealogy as LAFFENTY.

Births indexed as Laffenty

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History of Roebuck Castle (updated)

web_roebuckcastle1908-1795Roebuck Castle c1795 (from Ball’s History of Dublin 1908)


A short history from the Anglo-Norman Invasion to the present day.

(from details given in 1943 auction brochure)

The earliest record of this historic residence dates from as far back as the 11th century when the lands were called Rabo or Raboge and were far greater extent than at present, and are reputed to have Included  the village of Clonskeagh and the Iron Works there.

In 1154 the lands together,with the somewhat distant manor of Cruagh were granted to Thomas de St. Michael and after passing through the hands of David Bassett (a member of a great Norman family) came, in 1216, into the possession of Fromund le Brun, then Chancellor of Ireland, and the lands actually took their name from Otho de Rabo, who acted as Sheriff to Sir Nigel le Brun, the successor to Fromund.

The successors were then as follows :
1315 Fromund  – Son of Sir Nigel le Brun.
1377 Sir Thomas – Son of Fromund le Brun.
1382 Francis – Son of Thomas le Brun
1420 Sir John – Son of Francis le Brun

Sir John had two sons, Christopher and Richard. Christopher died before his father leaving two children – a son Christopher, who died shortly after his Grandfather, and a daughter, Elizabeth. For a time the lands were in the possession of Sir John’s second son, Richard le Brun, and ultimately became vested in his Grand-daughter Elizabeth, and by her marriage, to Robert Barnwell, 1st Baron of Timelston, passed into possession of the latter family until the beginning of the 19th century.

It has been stated that the Castle of Roebuck now partly incorporated with the modern house was the residence of John, 3rd Baron of Trimleston, “a rare nobleman endowed with sundry good gifts“, whose initials with those of his wife, Anne Fyan, it bore. In 1639 it was described containing 1 Castle, 10 messuages, one water mill and 40 acres of land – all of which were stated to be held of the Manor of Cruagh.

During the rebellion. of 1641, the Castle, then in the possession of Mathew, 8th Baron Trimleslon, was partially destroyed.

In 1663 Mathew Lord Trimleston was found “seised of the Town and Lands of Roebuck, described as 500 acres in the Parish of Taney,” for which he took out a fresh patent in 1667, but forfeited his interest therein in the War of 1688.

In 1689 the Castle was occupied by King James II and the Duke of Berwick when they had their camp in the neighbourhood.

Austin Cooper, on visiting it in 1781, found only a small portion roofed was used as a store house by a farmer who resided in a small house close by. In Cooper’s opinion the Castle was a large one forming two sides of a square and upon it he mention were engraved in stone the arms of the Barnwalls – as well as the letters : R.B.A.F and the name Robert.

In 1790 Lord Trimleston repaired it IMG_0055_800for his country residence.

Mr. Francis Crofton bought Roebuck from Lord Trimleston and it was subsequently sold to the Westby family in 1856.  In the 1870s Edward Perceval Westby of Roebuck Castle, Dundrum, county Dublin and Doon, county Clare, owned 25,779 acres in county Clare and 67 acres in county Dublin. The Castle was modernized in 1874.

Roebuck is described as a district within Taney (civil) parish in Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837, with the Castle as ‘ of A. B. Crofton, Esq., was originally erected at a remote period and strongly fortified. ..’, and the land around described as ‘..chiefly occupied by handsome villas, situated in tastefully disposed grounds, many of which command magnificent views of the bay and city of Dublin, the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, and the beautiful adjacent country..’.

The Castle and lands were sold in 1943 for £16,000 to The Little Sisters of the Poor,  who used the building as a home for the aged poor.

In 1985 the Castle was sold to U.C.D. and part of the land was sold for development. The Castle, Gate-Lodge and some of the cottages are now listed as protected structures.


see also :

Roebuck Castle Sale 1942
Map of Roebuck Townland – 1820
Roebuck Castle 1765 – Drawing
Contents of Entrance Hall – Roebuck Castle 1943

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Historic Maps of Ireland available Online (Updated-2019)


Ordnance Survey Maps Detailed modern and Historic map of Ireland – 6″ Historic and 6″ Historic B&W date from c1837 to abt. 1847, and the Historic 25″ date from the late 1890s to early 1900s, from Ordnance Survey Ireland
GeoHive maps Ordnance Survey Ireland of Ireland, with historic maps from 1830s/40s, c1900s and c1930s, plus a number of modern Aerial map layers
Northern Ireland Historic maps PRONI
Survey of the city and suburbs of Dublin 1757 With the division of the parishes reduc’d from the large plan in four sheets by John Rocque, from Bibliothèque Nationale de France
An Exact Survey of the City and Suburbs of Dublin 1756 In Which is Express’d the Ground Plot of all Publick Buildings Dwelling Houses, Ware Houses, Stables, Court Yards, &c, by John Rocque from Bibliothèque Nationale de France

1797 map of Dublin city, by John Neale (large jpeg image)
 Wikipedia Media
A Survey of the City, Harbour, Bay and Environs of Dublin 1757 On the same Scale as those of London, Paris & Rome, by John Rocque from Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Modern Plan Of The City And Environs Of Dublin 1798 Inscribed by Wm Wilson, engraved by B. Baker, Islington, from MAPCO
Map of Ireland 1838 Compiled from the Surveys of the Board of Ordnance and other approved Documents By J. & C. Walker, from MAPCO
Dublin Historic Maps 1609-1797 Section of Dublin Maps, mostly city area, which are overlayed over a modern Open Street Map. Use the slider control on the bottom right to set the
visibility of the modern map.
David Rumsey Map Collection Large Collection of maps
South Dublin County Libraries Large collection of Maps, focusing on South County Dublin and south city.
Old Maps Online Map Portal with links to various external websites
Placename Database gives location on a modern map for townlands, parishes etc, plus additional details including spelling variations. (map coordinates for places in N.I. are given, but may not be as accurate)


Also includes a selection of downloadable historic maps of Ireland, also an Ireland Gazetter, notes on Dublin Street names, Dublin History, a version of Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Ireland etc

see : Toponymy resources

Various Historic maps of Ireland, Co. Dublin, Dublin City, Taylor & Skinner Road Maps 1777, Lewis 1837 County maps, etc (



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Production of town Gas, from c1920s/1930s Encyclopedia

[click on any of the images to show a larger version]

The manufacture of gas is to-day a great industry, and on these pages We show, from drawings made at the South Metropolitan Gas Company’s works in London, how gas is produced from coal and sent into our homes. The pictures largely explain themselves. Starting at the top left-hand corner we see the coal arriving at the works, where it is carried up by an elevator and dropped into an automatic charger. A hydraulic ram then pushes it into a retort, where heat extracts the gas from the coal. The gas, however, is very impure and it passes through a water main where tar is deposited and collected. Then it goes through a valve into the exhauster, an ingenious apparatus consisting of one drum within another. The inner drum‘ turns and within it revolves a blade which moves up and down and pushes the gas through a pipe into a condenser. Here cold water passing upward through pipes condenses further tar which is collected and the gas passes down through a pipe into a washer. It travels down spaces between boxes containing perforated metal tubes.

[some of the following section missing due to torn page] Then it goes through the perforations and passes through water to a scrubber. It enters at the bottom and goes up through a staging.. of broads over which water is sprayed sprayed by revolving pipes. The water dro.. known as ammonia liquor.  The gas then goes to a purifier, passing ov[er] … Then it goes through a meter with curved vanes which, as the mov[e]… The quantity passing through the meter is registered on a dial. In the … perforated sheets of absorbent material soaked in oil. These …. a gas holder (often erroneously called a gasometer) Then i… district, and eventually enters the mains under the street.. [the residues left after ?] the making of the gas were once a  nuisance, as it was diffi[cult]…  and other commodities, such as road-making materials an[d]…‘

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