The All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) based at Maynooth University, has relaunched its Historical Mapping Atlas with a series of Census Maps. The maps provide visualisations of population data for all 32 counties across the island from 1841 to 2002.
The data is supplied at Electoral Division (ED) level using a consistent set of 3,432 EDs. These are based on the 1851 ED boundaries and the data has been gathered from 16 censuses taken in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
I've been playing around with the Population Change maps, and discovered that the population of my dad's townland, Kilkerranmore in Co Cork, was 1,874 in the year 1841 and had fallen by more than a third to 1,191 by 1851; by the start of the new century it had shrunk by 50%, and in 2002, having recovered from its lowest number of just 361 in 1961, the population sat at 534 people.
In addition to the Population Change maps, the Atlases also hosts Irish Famine Data. Going back to Kilkerranmore, I discovered that potatoes made up 13% and turnips 9% of all crops grown in this ED in 1841, and from 1841 to 1851 the number of uninhabited houses remained constant at just seven. In neighbouring Clonakilty, however, the number of uninhabited houses rose from 89 to 199 over the same period.
The site also holds a number of themed maps created from more modern data relating to ethnicity, religion, place of birth, heath, unemployment etc.
This is a fascinating place in which to hang out! I could happily spend hours rummaging around.
These Online Atlas projects have been funded by an IRCHSS Senior Research Scholarship awarded to the National Centre for Geocomputation, NUI Maynooth in 2010. The research was carried out by Caroline Treacy and Mary Kelly.