Ports of emigration

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Irish emigrants- ports of emigration, ships and passenger-lists

Queenstown ,county Cork (now Cobh)

From 1848 - 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland - over 2.5 million departed from Cobh county Cork Ireland , making it the single most important port of emigration. Cork was the major emigration port, although every port in Ireland was used as a point of emigration at some stage.


The port city of Liverpool, with a current population of 439,473, has long been a destination for Irish migrants. By far the greatest influx of Irish people to Liverpool came during the years of the Great Famine in the 1840s. However Irish migration into the city was not a novel occurrence. Indeed, from the early 1800s Liverpool acted as a staging post for Irish migrants on their way to North America or settling in England.

Londonderry and Belfast

Londonderry and Belfast were important ports from the eighteenth century-ports for embarkation for thousands of emigrants from Northern Ireland who sailed to British North America and the United States.


Prior to 1820 it was not required to keep passenger lists and many have not survived. However, there are often immigration related materials and other records that can help determine when an immigrant came in to the new country.

Keep in mind that most passenger lists were handwritten. Deciphering this handwriting was sometimes difficult when the lists were later indexed. So you may need to search for alternate spellings of a surname when using indexes. Also the emigration officers often had a bit of trouble understanding the Irish accents , this resulted sometimes in a different spelling of the names if the passengers were asked for their name.

A lot of Irish passengers when asked where they came from just stated 'the Irish Free State or Ireland and not the town or village or townland they came from , this will make it a bit more difficult to trace back their ancestors in Ireland , especially if their surname is Murphy or Kelly.

Links to passenger records

Related Wiki's on Ancestry

Other sources