Problems, exemptions and finding lost places….

This week’s blog post comes from Keith Harrington, a third year undergraduate student at Maynooth University studying History and English. Outside of college Keith is an animal enthusiast with a special interest in birds. He is also passionate about fitness and work in a gym. He was part of the team that worked with the Royal Irish Academy on the Historic Towns Atlas Project which has been featured in other blogs. This led him to learn new skills in using old directories, cross-listing sources and genealogy.

The valuation office was quite a different experience to the Archives, Library or the work we conducted in the Royal Irish Academy. That is because due to unforeseen circumstances we had no mentor to guide us. The four of us went in and, perhaps rather naively, requested all the cancelled books for our area. Cora McDonagh’s [fellow SPUR student] request for Drumcondra led her to receive a trolley full of books, thirty-eight in total. I requested all the books for Rathmines and Rathgar.

Keith Harrington and Ryan Heerey struggling with sources!

The man working there had a good laugh at this prospect. I was told that in order to receive all the books from Rathmines and Rathgar they would require eight trolleys, which they did not have. Instead we were shown how to use the scanned copies on the computers. At first I had difficulty navigating through the books as the index didn’t seem to match the picture numbers. So I requested help from a member of staff there and I must say all the staff were very helpful as well as friendly. Once learning to navigate through the books I was able to cross reference the streets from THOM’S directory which I recorded on an excel sheet. I mainly looked at streets that had points of interest for the Atlas on them. But I’d encountered a problem. Points of interest which should have been there, such as the barracks near dodder bank road, various churches or Rathmines castle were not on the streets that the THOM’s directory said they were. After a frustrating hour Ryan [Heerey, fellow SPUR student] and Cora informed me that at the back of the book was the ‘Exemptions’ section, this is where most of the useful information was located. The following three days there were spent transcribing mainly from the exemptions. On one lunch break I also aided my dad in his genealogy work by finding my Great Grandmother in the cancellation book for Terenure.

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