Monday, January 28, 2013

Grandpa's House in Ballyraggan

X marks Grandpa's house on this OSI map

     OMG!  I am sitting here looking at the roof of my 3rd great grandfather Daniel McGarr’s house in Ballyraggan Kildare, or the house that now stands there.  It could be his; there are still old thatch roofed cottages in Ireland.  I am so blown away; I want to tell you how I did this.  Awhile ago I found Daniel in Griffith’s Valuation at and then using his lot number, which was 7,  located him on the maps at that site.  Next I printed the map out and highlighted his farm and just for fun filled in the names of his close neighbors again using the lot numbers in the valuation.

Valuation Map
     Today I went to one of my favorite sites, OSI, the Ordnance Survey site  Once there I clicked on the big green banner labeled, “Explore Maps Using our Free Viewer”.  They would like it if you bought the map, but they’ll let you look at it even if you don’t.  On the page that appears after clicking the banner, in the first black box in the right sidebar, you can enter an address if you know it or you can just go to the red zoom button and locate the townland yourself which I sometimes find easier.  To move around on the map you must click the pan button.  Switching back and forth between pan and size buttons takes a little getting used to, I often find myself trying to pan and instead enlarging because I forgot to change to pan mode, you will too.
     Once you’ve located your townland, and this is the best part, you can look to the second black box in the sidebar and view the townland on the old historic 6 inch to the mile map, then with a click of your mouse; you can switch to a modern satellite map to view the area today.  I did that and there it was--Daniel’s house in the exact same spot as shown on the Griffith’s map. If you look closely you can see the same corner of land jutting out at the spot where the house stands on both maps.  The boundaries in Ballyraggan had hardly changed since the 19th century.  There is also a street map option to help you locate the property should you ever have the opportunity to visit Ireland.  I can’t wait; do you suppose they’ll invite me in to tea?


  1. This is great find, Ellie. Handily, my grandparents and great-grandparents' houses are still standing in Ireland today; my aunt even stays in one when she regularly visits Ireland. However, I haven't had any luck tracking down any houses for further generations back, so I may try the methods you describe in your article and see if I have any luck.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement, your comment gives me more hope the house may still be the original one, guess I won't know til I get there someday. I hope you are able to find the property you're seeking.