Irish Historical Directories


Until the productions of Pigot and Co. in the early nineteenth century, very little exists that covers the entire country.

Although not true directories in the sense of the Dublin publications, four works may be used in a similar way, at least as far as the country gentry are concerned. The earliest of these is Taylor and Skinner's Road Maps of Ireland (1778), which prints maps of the principal routes from Dublin to the country towns, including the major country houses and the surnames of their occupants, with an alphabetical index to these surnames. The aim of William Wilson's Post-Chaise Companion(1786) is similar, providing a discursive description of what might be seen on various journeys through the countryside. These descriptions include the names of the country houses and, again, their owners' surnames. There is no index. The next publications were the two editions, those of 1812 and 1814, of Ambrose Leet's Directory. This contains an alphabetical listing of placenames-with towns, villages, country houses and townlands in an arbitrary mix-showing the county, the nearest post town and, in the case of the houses, the full name of the occupant. These names are themselves indexed at the back of the volume.

Slater's Royal National Directory of Ireland (1894)

The earliest countrywide directory covering more than the gentry was Pigot's Commercial Directory of Ireland (1820). This goes through the towns alphabetically, supplying the names of nobility and gentry living in or near the town and arranging the traders of each town according to their trade. Pigot published a subsequent edition in 1824, and his successor, Slater, issued expanded versions in 1846, 1856, 1870, 1881 and 1894. These followed the same basic format, dividing the country according to its four provinces and then dealing with towns and villages alphabetically within each province. With each edition the scope of the directory was steadily enlarged, including ever more towns and villages. 'Chapter 4: Guide to Irish Directories' in Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder (ed. Donal Begley; Dublin: Heraldic Artists, 1981) includes a detailed county-by-county listing of the towns and villages covered by each edition. A more detailed guide to the towns covered is available at via the the parish listings and the Ancestor search on this site.

The most important differences between the various editions are as follows:

  • 1824: Includes a countrywide alphabetical index to all the clergy, gentry and nobility listed in the entries for individual towns, omitted in subsequent issues.
  • 1846: Includes the names of schoolteachers for the towns treated-a practice continued in later editions.
  • 1881: Supplies the names of the principal farmers near each of the towns treated, giving the relevant parish. This feature was continued in the 1894 edition. From 1824, separate alphabetical listings are given for the clergy, gentry and nobility of Dublin and for most of the larger urban centres.


  • * 1778: Taylor and Skinner's Road Maps of Ireland (reprinted 1969: Irish University Press). NLI Ir 9141 t 1. failteromhat, Google books and
  • * 1786: William Wilson's The Post-Chaise Companion. NLI J 9141 w 13.
  • * 1812:Ambrose Leet, A List of . . . noted places. NLI Ir 9141 l 10; lds film 990023, item 2.
  • * 1814: Ambrose Leet, A Directory to the Market Towns, Villages, Gentlemen's Seats and other noted places in Ireland. NLI Ir 9141 l 10. Google books, findmypast
  • * 1820: J. Pigot, Commercial Directory of Ireland. NLI Ir 9141 c 25.
  • * 1824: J. Pigot, City of Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory. NLI Ir 9141 p 75. Republished by Archive cd Books Ireland, CD-ROM #iet0005, 2005. findmypast
  • * 1846: Slater's National Commercial Directory of Ireland. NLI Ir 9141 s 30. Google books, failteromhat and findmypast
  • * 1856: Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland. Ancestry
  • * 1870: Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland.findmypast
  • * 1881: Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland. findmypast
  • * 1894: Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland. findmypast
  • * See also Dublin directories from 1834.

Eneclann's collection of CD-ROM versions is online at and includes Pigot's (1824) and Slater's (1846, 1870, 1881 and 1894). Pigot's (1824) and Slater's (1846) are also at, along with Taylor and Skinner's Road Maps of Ireland (1778).

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