Historic Ordnance Survey Ireland Maps Online

Anyone who does research of any kind knows how important maps are to the process. Ordnance Survey Ireland has put historic maps online and they are searchable for free. The website says “Between 1829 and 1842 Ordnance Survey Ireland completed the first ever large-scale survey of an entire country”.

There are three series currently online:

6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) colour 1837-1842
6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) greyscale 1837-1842
25 inch mapping series (1:2,500) greyscale 1888-1913

On the first page you can choose to either browse the maps or look at Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary which is in PDF format. This gives you the location and a brief history of towns and townlands in Ireland.

When you first go into browse the maps you get a full image of Ireland. If you click on the province or area of interest it will get bigger.

On the right hand side there is a menu. If you click the mouse on pan you will have the ability to move the image around. Search will help you find a specific place. The easiest way is to click on search, chose by county, pick your county name and then enter a town, locality, townland or historic parish name. You have several to choose from in the drop down menus.

There is also choice of maps. A hybrid map which shows a satellite map with the buildings and roads filled in and then overlaid on top. Ortho 2005, 2000 and 1995 are satellite maps created in those years. A historic map which is in colour and a historic map in black and white are the last two options. You also have the ability to do a modern map overlay which places a historic map over the modern image.

Historic Layers allows you to choose different features and to apply them to the map. The features are: environmental such as brewery, gas works and quarry; or genealogical such as churches, burial grounds or a military barracks. These only apply to the historic 6 and 25 inch maps.

The historic layers can be difficult to see on the maps. The writing is in burgundy. This makes it tricky to see if the map is zoomed out or if looking at a city map. They are easier to read if you use the black and white historic map. Try turning on all the choices and see what can be found in your place of interest. This will give you a good idea of what the area was like.

If you click on reset view it takes you back to the full image of Ireland. You also have the option to purchase hardcopy maps.

So go in and have a look as you never know what you may find.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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