Do you know how many cars there were in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, in 1911? Even better, do you know the names and addresses of the owners? Or the owners of bicycles in Wicklow Town, Roscrea, Newry or Cork City, or of tricycles and dog carts in Bandon, Galway or anywhere else you care to mention?
Well, if you didn't know, you can now easily find out, thanks to a new resource that's been published by Andrew McElroy on the excellent Lurgan Ancestry site. It's the Irish Motor Directory 1911-1912, and it lists the names and addresses of the registered owners of all vehicles from lorries to motor-ploughs and to cars and charabancs), county by county, plus the six county boroughs of Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Londonderry and Waterford, in that year.
Quite apart from the obvious fun of learning more about the environmental and social conditions our ancestors lived through, there is also the possibility that this decidedly off-beat resource could reveal 'missing' addresses or relatives.
Bear in mind that the county of registration is not always the county of residence. For example, Henry Bruen registered a car in County Carlow but his place of residence was Coolbawn in Co Wexford, while Robert J Young may have riden a long way from his home in Main Street, Pettigo, Co Donegal to register his bicycle in County Wicklow.
This directory, edited by Henry G. Tempest, is a really great find!
(Many thanks to John Mulvenna.)