The Skibbereen Heritage Centre, housed in the beautifully-restored, award-winning Gasworks Building (opposite The West Cork Hotel), offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to access not just census and population records, but a comprehensive, store of local and national church records: This makes it all the more likely - for those on a quest to unravel family history- to strike gold.
As Terri Kearney, Manager of the Centre, which opened in 2000, explains: ‘’ Since the 1911 and 1901 censuses went on-line, we have seen a tremendous upsurge in curiosity and indeed determination [in individuals] to find out more about their families….’’
And it is not just O’ Sullivan’s or O’ Driscoll’s that can benefit – the Skibberren Centre has a resident genealogist, in the shape of formidable Corkonian, Margaret Murphy. Described as ‘’a powerhouse’’ and ‘’a pioneer’’, Margaret’s investigative skills are unrivalled:
‘’ For heaven’s sake, you should see the number of Christmas cards and thank-you letters that woman gets. She is totally dedicated – she brings people to visit grave-yards on her day off!’ laughs Terri.
Many Irish people in search of their genealogical roots become frustrated at the many cul-de-sacs and dead ends they encounter. As Terri explains: ‘’ The Irish situation is unique, and fraught, because so many records were destroyed. However, through Church and Census records, it is sometimes possible to find alternative routes. In any event, we offer advise and assistance in every way possible, and we can suggest further resources and .
It is possible to ‘’walk in’’ to The Heritage Centre, but the recommended route is to contact the team there by e-mail, and then to book with The West Cork Hotel. Because The Centre’s charges are already so low, The West Cork Hotel will not, in this instance, offer discounts However, we will promise that visitors with an interest in Irish famine history, as well as curiosity about their forbears, will be rewarded, enormously.
You can contact the Skibbereen Heritage Centre at:
telephone: +353 28 40900