Category : Genealogy Articles

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The Irish and the Scottish Connection

Dr Irene O’Brien of Glasgow City Archives will give three presentations on the Irish who went to Scotland in the last two hundred years and will provide a rich sources of information to help trace Irish migrations

The three presentations are:

Discover your ancestors in Glasgow and Scotland
Introduction to resources to trace your Irish ancestors in Glasgow and Scotland. Will look at ScotlandsPeople records with particular focus on the Irish and to Glasgow City Archives and its sources to help trace Irish migration.

Poor Law Records in Glasgow City Archives
The talk will look at Glasgow City Archives stand-out poor law records for Glasgow and west of Scotland from 1845 to 1930. Large numbers of Irish applied for poor relief and the applications are rich with essential genealogical data and with details of the lives of applicants.

Church Records in Glasgow City Archives and Beyond
The City Archives holds records across many denominations, including Presbyterian and Episcopalian and many other denominations. The talk will cover these and Catholic records (held by their own archives)

Back to our Past 2020

AncestryDNA – Basic Principles for Family History; Combining DNA & Traditional Research Methods

Presented By: Eamon Healy

Synopsis of talk – AncestryDNA is a fantastic tool that can help take your family history research to new levels, but it can be daunting initially. Before you dive in, it helps to have a good understanding of what the test is, what it will provide you with and how to integrate DNA results with your family tree and other sources. In this session, Eamon Healy from Ancestry ProGenealogists will cover these key areas and more.

Bio – Eamon Healy has been part of Ancestry ProGenealogists since 2016. Although working as a professional genealogist for a number of years before he joined Ancestry, he began to use DNA results in his everyday research from this point forward. He is excited to share the basic methodologies and explain the features of AncestryDNA. A Galway native, in his free time he also teaches introduction classes to Irish Genealogy in Crumlin College of Further Education and is currently a Research Masters student in NUI Maynooth.

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Tracing your Irish ancestors in Australian records

Presented by: Debra Carter


Synopsis:  The Irish did not immigrate to Australia in large groups or during specific time periods. They immigrated individually or a few family groups at a time from as early as 1788 as convicts and throughout the 19th century, as assisted or unassisted passengers. This presentation will explore tracing your ancestor’s journeys and settlement using available Ancestry® records including the convict collection, passenger lists, government and police gazettes, civil registration and church records, wills and probate and occupational records.


Bio: Debra Carter is a Research Team Manager with AncestryProGenealogists, specialising in researching Australian immigrants from the UK and other relevant migratory countries. She has been a professional genealogist for over 10 years, and is a full member of AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers of Archives). She holds the Oxford, Advanced Diploma in Local History and the Society of Australian Genealogists, Certificate in Genealogical Research and is a member of APG and the Guild of One Name Studies (Fleeson and McSpedden, both Irish in origin).


Don’t know where to start on your family history?

Follow  this  step-by-step guide from Backtoourpast

Military collections from WW1 and other major conflicts are available

With billions of records online at Findmypast, researching your family tree may at first seem a little daunting. Follow these easy steps to help you get started.

  1. Where To Start
  • Write down what you already know about your ancestors – just the facts, not the rumours!
  • Ask your family, especially the older members.
  • Search the attic. Check old photographs, letters or documents and other heirlooms for clues to the past
  • Sign up for a free subscription on the Findmypast stand at Back To Our Past, with access to millions of Irish records that date back as far as the 1600s.
  1. Build Your Family Tree
  • Start building a family tree at Findmypast. It’s free to use and totally secure.
  • Put the initial information you have acquired into your tree and begin to grow from there.
  • Add any extra information that you find along the way to each family member’s profile.
  1. Birth, Marriage and Death Records
  • When you’ve found an ancestor on Findmypast, use the information in the index to order their birth, marriage or death certificate from the General Register’s Office.
  • Certificates provide lots of extra detail, such as parents’ names, occupations and address.
  1. Censuses and Substitutes

Discover your family in our surviving census records as well as excellent substitutes including the exclusive Landed Estate Court Rentals, and the indispensable Griffiths’ Valuation.

  1. Newspaper Reports
  • Findmypast have scanned millions of pages of historical local Irish newspapers, dating from the 1700s to the early twentieth century.
  • Search for your ancestors within their pages to discover what life was like and add more detail to what you know about your family history.
  • Newspapers reported both local and national news, inquests, obituaries, scandals and criminal trials.
  1. Broaden Your Search
  • Explore Findmypast’s other collections – there are billions of records to search!
  • You could learn about your ancestor’s time in the army, at sea or even in prison.
  • Find living relatives and discover other overseas ancestors with collections available from all around the world.


Recent additions to Findmypast

Here are some of the fascinating Irish collections that joined Findmypast in recent months that you can access for free with your complimentary 1 month subscription:

Dublin Workhouses Admission & Discharge Registers 1840-1919

Exclusively online at Findmypast, these rich registers record nearly 80 years the poorest people in Dublin as they seek refuge in the workhouses. Most Dublin families will find a connection amongst these 3 million records.

Ireland National School Registers

Discover your ancestors’ school days in these detailed school registers from all over the country

Irish Newspapers

Titles that have joined the collection recently include Carlow Post, Downpatrick Recorder and The Evening Freeman. There are now over 80 titles and millions of articles to explore in the archive.

Church Of Ireland Parish Record Search Forms

Church of Ireland ancestors? Uncover more details about them in these unique records which were used to prove age when the Old Age Pension was introduced in 1909


Irish Army Census 1922

If you had a relative in the newly-formed Free State Army in 1922, explore these records to find out where they were during this military census.


Glasnevin Museum – 1.5 million stories to tell

The striking, ancient fir trees at Glasnevin, looking  towards the award-winning museum

As winners of Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s choice award in 2013, and listed as one of Dublin’s top 3 attractions, Glasnevin Museum proudly tells the story of modern Ireland through interactive exhibitions and engaging cemetery tours and delivered by personable, well informed guides affording visitors a heightened sense of understanding, and a deeper appreciation of its never forgotten residents.

Known locally as “The Dead Centre of Dublin”- Ireland’s largest Cemetery where the social, political and historical timeline of this great city is carved in stone. Irish icons like Collins, de Valera, Parnell, ‘Big Jim’ Larkin, Countess Markievicz, Brendan Behan and Luke Kelly rest peacefully in this original 1830’s Victorian garden cemetery. Linked via gateway to the Botanic Gardens and voted number 1 attraction in Dublin (2013, Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award), there are over 17,000 plants and 200 acres of beautiful parkland to enjoy. Key to Glasnevin’s success is the popularity of the tour guides whose enthusiasm is compelling. With one and a half million stories buried in Glasnevin there’s no shortage of tales to tell.

Learn about the harsh realities of life in Dublin, eavesdrop on the stories of former gravediggers, touch the casket of Daniel O’Connell, or simply ponder the fascinating lives of those who walked these streets before us.

Construction is underway to rebuild the winding wooden staircase that once ran up the centre the 168ft O’Connell tower monument in Glasnevin cemetery the tallest of its kind in Ireland. Visitors to the top will witness spectacular views of Dublin.
There are over 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. Delving into this rich resource Glasnevin captivates the curious through special events, tours, re-enactments, orations, lectures, festivals, commemorations, exhibitions, poetry readings, bringing legend to life in dramatic fashion.

A visit to Glasnevin is a must for anyone interested in the rich cultural texture of Dublin.

Celebrating history, heritage and culture, join this intriguing journey through Ireland’s past.


Did you know?

  • There are over 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin’s Victorian Garden Cemetery
  • The Daniel O’Connell round Tower monument is the tallest of its kind in Ireland
  • A guided tour of the cemetery includes a visit to Daniel O’Connell’s crypt
  • Glasnevin is home to the largest collection of Celtic crosses in the world
  • Glasnevin won the 2013 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award and is consistently listed in the top three of best attractions in Dublin
  • A pedestrian gateway between the world famous National Botanic Gardens and the Cemetery is open making it the second largest green space in Dublin with over 200 acres of mature parkland, and home to the largest collection of protected structures in the State.
  • City Sightseeing Bus tours now provide a hop on hop off bus service from the city centre.
  • Guided tours all year with additional summer times, re-enactments, and special events – see website
  • A genealogy voucher worth €5.00 with every ticket. Search your family tree, all records online.
  • Private and public tours available daily, special interest and educational groups welcome. Catering for ad hoc groups, private & public tours and serving breakfast, lunch & snacks throughout the day.
  • Shop and café – Browse the terrific collection of Irish crafts, jewellery, mementos, historical books, and other interesting gift items in the museum shop.


Address: Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas Road, Dublin 11

Tel:   353 1-8826550





Open daily with two tours per day plus additional tours at 1 pm June – Sept & flexible times for pre-booked groups

Booking contact: Carolyn Kelly

Sales Manager: Ann Kilcoyne

Average Tour time: 1 hour

Guided Tours: Max 40 – 50, Languages: English, Irish, French, German.

A range of tailor made tours available

Car and coach Parking: On site and street parking available

Public Transport: Bus no’s 40 & 140 from O’Connell St direct to door.

Hop-on-Hop-off Dublin City Sightseeing bus (blue route) from city centre/Guinness Storehouse

-SatNav: Latitude/Longitude : 53.36981,-6.277098

-Opening Times: Open 7 days:

Mon – Fri 10am to 5pm

Sat/Sun/Bank Holiday: 11am to 5pm

Tour times: 11.30, & 2.30 all year with extra 1pm tour, June – Sept)

Re-enactments daily at 2pm, April – Oct.

Tours include visit to Daniel O’Connell’s Crypt.


-Admission Rates (Includes guided tour, museum entrance, and €5.00 genealogy voucher)

Adults: €12.00

Children: €8.00

Senior/Students: €8.00

Family (2+2): €25.00
The Tower Café: Serves lunches and snacks throughout the day.


Museum Shop: There is a shop located at the entrance to the museum offering a wide range of Irish history books & literature, arts, crafts and gifts.
Parking details: There is on street and private parking within the grounds of the Cemetery

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, flickr, instagram, youtube.

Free Wifi in seated café area.


A Beginners Guide to Using DNA in Family History

Margaret Jordan advises

When you hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’ in family history research, DNA testing can come to the rescue in many cases and it can help to solve mysteries. It can also uncover new mysteries such as non-paternity events (NPE).

It is important to understand the basics before embarking on genetic testing for family history so that you know what it can and cannot do []. There are three main types of testing used in family history research: mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal DNA (atDNA) and y-chromosome DNA (yDNA).

We all have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed down by a mother to all her children. However, males do not pass on their mtDNA to their children, so the value of mtDNA testing is in tracing back along a maternal line (your mother, her mother and so on). Unfortunately, mtDNA doesn’t generally follow a surname as women traditionally changed their surname on marriage.

Autosomal DNA (atDNA) can be inherited from any line. Therefore, it can find matches in any branch of your family tree but it works better when two people share a recent ancestor.

Only men have y-chromosome DNA (yDNA) which is passed down from father to son. yDNA mutates very infrequently, and therefore it can be used to trace a biological paternal line. The most significant benefit of using yDNA in genealogical research is that the surname is generally co-inherited with the yDNA.

As yDNA is currently the most useful and universally used DNA tool in family history research I will focus on this.

The diagram shows how yDNA is passed down from father to son.

dna diagram1

There are many reasons for considering yDNA testing. You may be in the New World and trying to trace your paternal ancestry back to your Irish origins or living in Ireland and looking for descendants of relatives who left Ireland in Famine times. You may be trying to establish a connection with a particular family line or you may be researching your surname in general.

DNA testing can be as simple as a mouth swab, done at home and the sample mailed back to the testing company. The first thing is to decide what you hope to achieve and which family surname you want to research. Then you need to select a male with that paternally inherited surname and choose a testing company.

Family Tree DNA [] which is based in Texas, USA is the testing company with which I am most familiar. Each surname study at Family Tree DNA is managed by voluntary administrators who help participants with understanding their results. For example, the O’Shea yDNA Project [], which I have been involved with since it started in 2003, was set up to study the O’Shea Surname using yDNA. Participants generally start with a 37 marker test and upgrade to 67 markers if required. If no suitable Irish surname yDNA project is available for your particular surname at Family Tree DNA, the Ireland yDNA Project [] acts as an umbrella project for all men with Irish ancestry on their paternal line.

When the decisions have been made and the kit ordered, the mouth swab is done a few hours after eating and the sample returned to the testing company. Then all you have to do is wait patiently. After a few weeks, the yDNA results will be sent to you by email. The results comprise a set of numbers (y-haplotype) relating to the number of short tandem repeats (STRs) on each marker tested, on the y-chromosome. Then the excitement of seeing with whom you match begins. The testing company lists the names of your close matches along with their email addresses. The statistics involved in analysis of yDNA results can provide two people with an estimate to how far back their common ancestor might be. However, yDNA testing cannot tell you what is the exact relationship between two people.

Making contact with people you match across the globe can be exciting. You can compare notes to try to find your common ancestor. People who match each other often share photos and may meet up. This forges links between the Irish Diaspora and those still living in their native homeland. People talk euphemistically about a ‘non-paternity event’ (NPE) when yDNA results are not as expected. On the other hand, some people have questions regarding adoption in their family and yDNA testing can help them find their biological surname.

For the enthusiast, testing SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) can provide further information on the migration of your ancestors, over thousands of years. The National Genographic Project [], started by Spenser Wells in 2005, studies this migration of people from Africa about 60,000 years ago to all areas of the globe.

In conclusion, DNA testing can be exciting and surprising. Finding genetic cousins can open up new lines of communications across continents. Adding the genetic genealogy tool to your family history research armoury adds an exciting dimension and can produce some interesting twists.

[Margaret Jordan is a Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, and is joint co-ordinator of the Ireland yDNA Project.]


Tracing your Northern Irish Ancestors: A Three-step Guide

by Brian Mitchell, Derry Genealogy



There are 289 parishes in Northern Ireland (i.e. Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone). You can identify the civil parishes of Northern Ireland, and their associated townlands, at by selecting county of interest on the map. To gain insight into the economic and social landscape of 19th century Ireland you can consult A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, published in 1837, by Samuel Lewis. Arranged in alphabetical order by parishes, towns and villages this book can be viewed online at An excellent starting point for surname research is the ‘Surname Search’ option at where you can explore the location, frequency and history of Irish surnames.


Research Steps

 Step 1 – Search 1901 and 1911 Census Returns

 Although census enumerations were carried out every decade from 1821, the earliest surviving complete return for Ireland is that of 1901. The census enumerations of 1901 and 1911, arranged by townland in rural areas and by street in urban areas, can be searched, for free, at These returns will list the names, ages and place of birth of all members in a household.


Step 2 – Search for births, marriages and deaths

 Civil registration of births, deaths and Roman Catholic marriages in Ireland began on 1st January 1864 while non-Catholic marriages were subject to registration from 1st April 1845. Prior to the commencement of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in Ireland, family history researchers usually rely on baptismal, marriage and burial registers kept by churches. With civil registration of births and deaths commencing in 1864, and with the patchy survival of church records prior to 1820, gravestone inscriptions can be a vital source for family historians.

Northern Irish Civil Records of births 1864-1915, marriages 1882-1921 and deaths 1891-1921 can now be searched and viewed at On searching index, which returns name, event type, year and name of Superintendent Registrar’s District, a pdf of the full register page in which that birth, marriage or death certificate appears can be downloaded by selecting ‘image’. Images of pre-1882 marriages and pre-1891 deaths will follow later.

You can also search and view ‘historic’ civil records of births, marriages and deaths for Northern Ireland at GRONI Online, by purchasing credits, of births (over 100 years old), marriages (over 75 years old) and deaths (over 50 years old) on the website of the General Register Office of Northern Ireland at

RootsIreland, at, is a good starting point for searching church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials as this website is the largest online source of Northern Irish church register transcripts. You can either search across all counties or search a particular county. For example, Derry Genealogy, at, has transcribed and computerised the early baptismal and marriage registers of 97 churches (38 Roman Catholic, 24 Church of Ireland and 35 Presbyterian) and gravestone inscriptions from 117 graveyards.

As the search facility on this website is very flexible it means that you should be able to determine if any entries of interest to your family history are held on this database. For example, if you are searching for the baptism/birth of a child you can narrow the search down by year, range of years, names of parents and by parish of baptism/district of birth. Marriage searches can be filtered by year, range of years, name of spouse, names of parents and parish/district of marriage.

It must be stated, however, that a failure to find relevant birth/marriage entries in this database doesn’t mean that the events you are looking for didn’t happen in Ireland. It simply means that they are not recorded in the database; for example, they may be recorded in a record source which doesn’t survive for the time period of interest or in a source that has not been computerised.

Microfilm copy of church registers can be examined, at no charge, in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast. Their Guide To Church Records, which can be accessed on their website ( by selecting ‘Guides to PRONI records’ lists, in alphabetical order by civil parish, church registers of all denominations for most parishes in Ulster and their commencement dates, together with their microfilm reference details.


Step 3 – Search Census Substitutes

Quite often the only realistic strategy in tracing ancestors beyond church registers (which are the building blocks of family history) is to examine surviving census returns and census substitutes, often compiled by civil parish, for any references to a surname or given name of interest. There are a number of census substitutes – such as 1630 Muster Roll, 1663 Hearth Money Rolls, 1740 Protestant Householders Lists, 1766 Religious Census, 1796 Flax Growers Lists, early-19th century Tithe Books and mid-19th century Griffith’s Valuation – which can be searched to confirm the presence of the family name.

The problem with these sources is that they name heads of household only; hence they provide insufficient information to confirm the nature of linkages between named people in these sources. Census substitutes, however, are very useful in confirming the presence of a family name in a particular townland and/or parish, and in providing some insight into the frequency and distribution of surnames.

You can examine the mid-19th century Griffith’s Valuation at You can search, for free, a number of 18th century census substitutes for Northern Ireland, such as indexes to pre-1858 wills, 1740 Protestant Householders Lists and Religious Census of 1766, by selecting the ‘Name Search’ option in ‘Search archives online’ section of the website of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland at At  you can also search, free of charge, by surname, the Flax Growers Lists of 1796, the Protestant Householders Lists of 1740, the Hearth Money Rolls of the 1660s and early-17th century Muster Rolls for Northern Ireland. Although such sources will confirm the presence of a surname of interest they will not confirm if there is a connection between people with the same surname!



An Post Witness History Museum

One of the inter-active features of the visitor attraction

An Post’s €7 million GPO Witness History visitor attraction commemorates the events of 1916. The attraction is an interactive visitor facility bringing history to life though technology, video, sound and authentic artefacts.

The centrepiece of the visitor attraction is an immersive semi-circular audiovisual space which puts visitors right inside the GPO during the five days in which it was both the military command centre, and the seat of the Provisional Irish Government.

 Features of the attractions include:

The Rising Immersive Audiovisual Space

  • An immersive semicircular audiovisual space puts visitors right inside the GPO during the Rising
  • Digital recreation of Dublin as it was in 1916: Immersive street level experience and ‘God’s Eye’ strategic overview of events
  • Feel the full terror of the devastating British artillery bombardment Family Orientated Educational Activities
  • Hands-on activity area
  • Dressed set of the GPO
  • Print proclamations and bulletins
  • Learn morse code
  • Send messages across a barricaded street via a pulley
  • Sort letters and monitor phonecalls
  • Compose newspaper reports

A Contested Legacy

  • Chart the problematic relationship between the two sides of the divide in the 100 years hence.
  • Selection of the art music and literature inspired by, or created in reaction to, the 1916 Rising.
  • Touch screen allows visitors to debate the relevance of the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation.
  • Visitors encouraged to reflect on their own vision for the next hundred years of the Irish Republic.

Advance tickets booking system

In preparation for the €7 million Centre’s opening in March, a booking system enabling people to book advance tickets is at

The booking system allows visitors to secure their tickets well in advance, affording Irish and international tourists alike the opportunity to schedule this immersive and entertaining cultural experience amongst the wide range of delights that Dublin has to offer visitors of all ages and interests. provides details on the visitor centre – one of the Government’s key 2016 commemoration projects – the exhibits, an outline of the role the GPO had to play in the 1916 Rising as well as a broader history of the GPO itself.


Ireland’s genealogy project archives

Compiled by Christina Hunt

Altruism is the foundation on which today’s world of genealogy is built. Family history societies around the world were creating databases to share information freely before the Internet was heard of. The volunteer spirit is still alive, and there are great outlets for those wishing to contribute. Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGPA) is a prime example. Christina Hunt, the IGPA manager, tells its story.
With some 40,000 transcribed and searchable headstone photos and many thousands of transcriptions from church registers, court, military, land and will records, obituary columns and other miscellaneous resources, Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGPA) has come a long way in just five years.
The ‘archives’ evolved as a natural supplement to Ireland Genealogy Projects, our long-standing collection of ‘county’ websites, each of which provides in-depth advice on researching family history at the county level. Each county contains links, research addresses and photos, and some have a selection of transcriptions. IGP was led by the late Don Kelly for more than a decade.
Our ‘County’ webmasters and our archives ‘File Managers’ are all volunteers. At the county level I started out as webmaster for Co. Longford and Co. Tipperary. In the past, I put all kinds of transcriptions in my county projects. Since starting the IGP Archives, my main focus has been on the creation of a wellorganised repository. I think of it like a filing cabinet with the Counties as headings, and then the Subjects under each county.
In the IGP Archives, sharing is very much our ethos. Our view is that a lot of people have a lot of information in their possession. We want the IGPA to be a place where people, whether their families remained in Ireland or emigrated, can share publicly what they have with other family historians.
There are the usual categories that you would expect – birth, marriage and death records, cemeteries and newspapers – but we also have subjects that feature more heavily in Irish research such as Census Substitutes and Constabulary records.
All our records are submitted by family historians from around the globe, and apart from photos, they are presented in plain text which saves space and loading time. With technology changing so rapidly, we also hope plain text will be around for a long time. Text files are easier to copy and paste, which is useful when you want to save a record to your computer or into a genealogy programme or an email. We like to think that we are not just sharing, but helping to preserve information collected by avid Irish genealogists.
Spreadsheets have always served as a useful tool for pulling data out of a document such as a set of baptisms or marriages. Genealogists have already been doing this as they research their families. We convert it to plain text in columns, and upload it to the Archives.
For people who want to share, but have not already transcribed their documents, we have Submission Forms by Genrecords <>. These forms were created by David Crosby for use in the USGenWeb Archives. The forms create a text file for us which speeds up the process.
Headstones are a growing category in IGPA and can be a treasure trove in Ireland, providing names of parents and/or siblings. Considering the lack of records in other areas, they can be a little genealogy set in stone.
While the rest of IGPA is text-based, the headstones section is image-based. We use a free programme called Picassa (a Google product), which can take a whole folder of photos and create a webpage from it, complete with a thumbnail of each photo.


Welcome to the Arigna Mining Experience

Arigna Mining Experience centre was developed to preserve the energy heritage of the Arigna Valley and to ensure that Arigna maintains its link with energy themes: past, present and future.

This Energy Centre provides visitors with a unique insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700’s until closure in 1990.

Underground Experience

During the underground tour, visitors will experience what it was like to work in some of the narrowest coal seams in the western world. The tour which will last 45 minutes brings visitors to the coal face of the mine, where the methods used to extract coal are demonstrated.  Lighting and sound effects in the mine, add to the authenticity of the underground experience.

Exhibition Space

Local geology and the formation of coal deposits are explained in our exhibition area, as is the history of energy production.

The exhibition also explains the concepts and operation of different renewable energy systems. Some of these systems can then be viewed in operation in the Energy Centre Building and on the nearby wind farms.

A history tour presents the origins and history of the Arigna coal mines. It explores its impact on the local community, through a photo gallery & displays. The Renewable Energy Demonstrations can be viewed on site in the Centre.

Arigna Mines, Derreenavoggy, Arigna, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Roscommon.

Tel: 071 9646466.