For most family history researchers, parish registers provide the earliest direct source of family information. Unlike many other records, parish registers provide evidence of direct links between one generation and the next (via baptismal registers) and one family and another (via marriage registers). They are also, for the majority of Irish people who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries, the only record of their existence.
Our parish has some of the oldest registers in the country, dating from 1731 for baptisms and from 1748 for marriages. They tell the story of our parish and generations of its people. People who lived through the Penal Laws, Catholic Emancipation, The Great Famine, The War of Independence, Civil War, World War I & II.
Many of these registers are showing their age! Some are in real danger of disintegration. Binding has fallen apart, there are lose pages, corners and edges of the pages are being worn away and information is being lost. In 2008, the year of the Cathedrals Bicentenary, a conservation project was embarked upon. With financial assistance from the Heritage Council, many registers have undergone restoration and conservation work.
We thank sincerely the Heritage Council, for without their financial assistance, such important work may not have been accomplished.
We invite you to view two examples of parish registers after weekend masses that demonstrate the condition of a register before and after conservation work.