Irish Townland Maps
Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland, surveyed between 1829 and 1843
How old are the maps?
The maps were originally surveyed between 1829 and 1843 and published between 1833 and 1846.
What parts of Ireland are available?
The whole of Southern Ireland (Eire) and Northern Ireland are covered by the maps in our collection. All 32 counties are available.
How can the maps help me with my genealogy research?
As part of any research into the history of a family tree, knowing where an ancestor came from or lived helps you to identify other, related, information, such as the proximity to the location of where others in the same family lived. Normally, it is very difficult to appreciate how close or far away two locations can be in relation to each other. Maps can immediately show this proximity or relationship, without the reader having any other "local" knowledge. Maps can also help you to identify neighbouring areas (in this case Townlands, Parishes or Baronies), where ancestors migrated to or came from.
These maps are the very same map sheets referred to in the Griffith's Valuation, so if you have already identified some of your ancestors from the Valuation, these maps will provide you with further, related information. The maps also show each individual building or tenement noted in the Valuation, so you should be able to pin-point exactly where your ancestors lived!
What do the maps show?
The maps were originally produced as an instrument of taxation - the British government of the time wanted to know who owned or lived on what land and therefore how much tax they should pay. In order to do this, every Townland had to be measured and recorded, and its area calculated. The British Army Corps of Engineers was assigned the task of surveying the land. Skilled and experienced in the creation of maps used by the British Army, these men were members of an ordnance (military weapons) unit of the Engineers - hence the name "Ordnance Survey Maps".
The maps show the boundaries of every Townland, Civil Parish, Barony and County throughout Ireland, together with the areas of each Townland stated in acres, rods and perches - a rod is a quarter of an acre; a perch is a fortieth of a rod.
The owners and occupiers of all the land in the Townlands were then recorded, together with their professions, and collated into an accompanying register called the "General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland" - also commonly referred to nowadays as "The Griffith's Valuation", since the whole exercise of collation was overseen by a man called Sir Richard Griffith.
Each map sheet was originally hand-engraved and then printed. The Townland, Parish, Barony and County boundaries were then meticulously marked on the maps by hand with water-colour paint. Other, pertinent details were also highlighted this way, such as rivers, canals, coastlines and on some of the maps, administrative areas.
The maps were produced at a scale of 1:10,560. This means that each inch on the map represented 10,560 inches on the ground - which is 880 feet, or 1/6th of a mile. Put another way, six inches on the map is equivalent to 1 mile on the ground. This allows a great deal of information to be recorded, including most man-made and natural features.
What area do the maps cover?
The original map sheets produced by the Ordnance Survey each cover an area 6 miles east-west by 4 miles north-south. However, to show this much information at the published scale of 1:10,560 (or 6 inches to the mile), they needed to be 3 feet wide by 2 feet high!
The maps that will be available through this web site will cover various geographic areas, depending on the product. Please see Products and Services for more information.
What's the quality of the maps?
The maps were scanned at 300dpi (dots-per-inch) resolution, using 256 colours. This means that no detail has been lost and the replication of the image is faithful to the original.
We believe that the quality is so good that the maps make a perfect gift to anyone with an interest in Irish history.
What are the grey dashed lines for?
Our Site-centred maps occasionally have grey dashed lines on them. These are to indicate a join between two adjacent, but different, map sheets. The sheets have been electronically "stitched" together to create a seamless mosaic of each of the 32 counties. Due to their age (they are the original maps published in the 1840's) the maps have slightly stretched or warped but the impact is negligible and adds to the historical nature of the mapping.
What restrictions on use are there when purchasing sets of maps or map sheets?
Please see our Licence Terms and Conditions for full details. In summary, all images supplied by Past Homes Limited are for personal use and may also be included as part of a report. The images cannot be reproduced or copied in any way for commercial benefit and cannot be re-sold without prior written permission from Past Homes Limited.
Who owns the copyright to these maps?
Past Homes Limited owns the copyright to these images and Past Homes Limited will always enforce copyright protection law on any third party that breaches any part of the Terms and Conditions.
Why would I want maps supplied by Past Homes Limited as opposed to any other supplier?
The Past Homes collection is unique in that the scanned images are of a complete set, in full colour, of an exceptionally high quality and superb value for money. Not only will you not be able to order maps of Ireland of this quality anywhere else but as Past Homes adds new ways of centering the maps (on towns, villages, Townlands and eventually on any chosen location) the choice will be unsurpassed.