The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Irish History Online Help

A how-to guide about using Irish History Online.

Entering more than one search term narrows your search. The fewer search terms entered, the more records you are likely to find.

Troubleshooting: Clear the search screen before each new search by selecting the 'reset' button.

If the 'back to search' button on the toolbar doesn't work, try changing to Chrome as your internet browser.

If the look-up navigation feature within record reports doesn't work, try using Chrome as your browser.

Subject search

The subject field functions as a keyword index. The subject search terms used in the database can be browsed using the 'browse' feature in the subject field.

We use a controlled vocabulary for subject terms. This subject thesaurus was originally developed for British and Irish History by the Royal Historical Society and shared with Irish History Online. The current version of the subject thesaurus used by IHO may be viewed here.    

Name search

When searching for surnames, particularly if variant spellings of the name are common, it may be useful to abbreviate the search term using an asterisk. Thus, for example, a search for McKeo* will find both McKeown and McKeon. Be aware that 'Mac' and 'Mc' surnames are not interchangeable in a database search, and you may need to search for variant forms. A search for McCarthy will not find the variant forms MacCarthy or Mc Carthy or Mac Carthy. Authors, editors, compilers, translators, etc., may all be searched for in the same way.

Many authors have published under variant forms of their names, sometimes using initials in place of forenames. IHO aspires to list each name under one standard form, guided by the Library of Congress name authority files where relevant and appropriate. 

HINT: for quicker and more reliable searching use ampersand (&) to combine parts of a name, and use an asterisk (*) to abbreviate a name that you are unsure about.
Example: to find both R. C. Simington and Robert C. Simington: enter Simington&R* in the name field. This will find all Simingtons with the initial R, regardless of whether the forename is given as initials, R. C., or more fully as Robert C, or any other form. (However, such a search would also find other Simingtons with a forename beginning with 'R'.)


Some people are known by their second forename, but publish under their initials, so when searching the database it is useful to be aware that names are entered in the following style:

Example 1: R. V. Comerford, known as Vincent Comerford. The name is entered in this database in the form: Comerford, R. V. (Richard Vincent).

Example 2: J. J. Lee, known as Joe Lee. The name is entered in this database in the form: Lee, J. J. (John Joseph), 1942-.

Person as subject search

Standardized forms of personal names are used in this field. To browse a full A-Z list of names used in the 'person as subject' field, use the ‘browse’ feature. 

Title search

In a title search, you may combine keywords rather than entering a full title. This is useful if you do not know the exact title. For example, if searching for: A catalogue of the maps of the estates of the archbishops of Dublin : 1654-1850 (Dublin, 2000), a search in the title field for the combined keywords archbishops&estates will suffice. This will find any title that contains both the keywords 'archbishops' and 'estates'. Combined search terms may also be abbreviated using asterisks: archbish*&estate*.

Date of publication

To limit a search by year of publication, enter a year in the 'exact date' search box within 'date of publication' field. This field contains data for year only. Searches for month or day of publication will not retrieve results.

To search for a range of publication dates, for example books published between 1936 and 1938, enter 1936 in the 'Between' search box and 1938 in the 'and' search box within the 'date of publication' field. These fields contain data for year only. Searches for month or day of publication will not retrieve results.

Dates of theses completed

The date given in the 'date of publication' field in respect of unpublished theses is not a normal 'publication' date. The date given in this IHO database in respect of theses completed is normally the year as shown on the title page of the thesis as deposited in the relevant university library. However, bibliographic data in respect of theses is sometimes derived from lists that may have given the date the degree was awarded, rather than the date of completion, and we have not yet verified all such dates. It is not unusual for the degree awarding ceremony to take place in a year subsequent to the date of submission of the thesis. 

If you have queries about searching the database, please email us at

This page was last updated 28 May 2021

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