This site is both free and very user-friendly. It contains a searchable database of the names of both the occupiers of holdings & houses and the immediate lessors. In addition you have access to scans of any page from any printed Griffith's Valuation book in Ireland and, usually, scans of the relevant six inch valuation map accompanying the printed valuation. This will allow you to locate any house and farm within any townland at that time. Note, however, that there are no large scale town maps on the askaboutireland site.
These maps on the askaboutireland website do more than give you copies of nineteenth-century valuation maps. There are actually three maps that can be looked at separately or superimposed on each other in different combinations. There is a Google satellite map - a modern road map - and the Griffith's Valuation map of c.1860.
Most of us use the askaboutireland maps because they give us access to the nineteenth-century world through the valuation maps and their accompanying pages. Below you will find some screenshots relating to a search that I carried out for the townland of Glenlough which is located within the parish of Ballymoney in the barony of Upper Dunluce in Co. Antrim. I had already found the name that I was looking for in my Griffith's database so I chose a placename search rather than a family search. Obviously if you were doing a similar search you would substitute your townland and county in the Search box. Usually I find that Townland and County are sufficient to get a positive hit.
When you get to the askaboutireland website you will find that the default is a FAMILY NAME SEARCH. To find Glenlough you will have to switch to a Place Name search. So, click on PLACE NAME SEARCH and when it comes up - type in Glenlough in the PLACE NAME box and then choose ANTRIM in the COUNTY box - and finally click on Search. The screenshot below shows what should come up on your screen.
In order to get the valuation page or pages that relate to Glenlough click on the icon below Occupants. This will take you a page, part of which is shown below.
For copyright reasons I can go no further but it's very user-friendly - just follow the instructions. Here are a few pointers that might help.
In the screenshot immediately above it says click on the page icon to see a scan of the original document page. I usually go straight here and rarely use the Details icon. Note that there are two page icons - a smaller one and a larger one. I have come to the conclusion that it does not really matter which one you use - both allow you to print each page, zoom in and out on a page [in slightly different ways], move to the next page and the previous page which means you can search a number of townlands in an area without having to initiate a separate search for each townland.
The two Map Views icons do produce a different experience. The smaller one opens the map within the small window that is used to open the pages. I rarely use it. Instead, I prefer the larger icon which opens the map in a full, separate, window. This gives you a wider view of the maps which can make it easier to find townlands. Being Google maps you can zoom in and out. Also there is always a slider in the top right-hand corner of the map window which you can move from right to left. The default setting is in the middle. Sliding it to the left will reveal the modern-day road pattern, etc. which, if you are having difficulty finding a townland, may make it easier to get to the general area where you think the townland is located. To get back to the valuation maps, simply move the slider to the right.
A point about the maps. Theoretically, the maps that should accompany the Griffith's Printed Valuation are the maps known in PRONI as the VAL/2/A maps. However, as you will see in the PRONI: VAL/2/A/1/17A Glenlough map that I have used in this case study, it is difficult to read. This is generally the case throughout the areas of Ulster that I am familiar with. The alternative is to use the PRONI VAL/12D maps which were produced by the valuers carrying out the Griffith's Revisions up until c.1930. The earliest of these maps differ very little, if at all, from the VAL/2/A maps and are quite acceptable. In most cases the numbering will be virtually the same. However, if you find a number of discrepancies in the numbering, and it is important that you get it right, then you will have to go and look at the VAL/2A maps in PRONI. Note that locally both the local studies sections in Ballymena and Coleraine libraries hold copies of the VAL/2/A sheets for counties Antrim and Londonderry. Coleraine only hold those for Co. Londonderry.
Askaboutireland.ie states in its Search Tips: The map collection for Northern Ireland is still being added to. While the majority of maps for Northern Ireland are available, there are some sections which do not as yet have an associated map link. This will be resolved as quickly as possible. Originally the following sheets were missing from Co. Londonderry [sheets 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and the western half of sheet 17]. These sheets have now been added. Note, however, that sheets 24 to 45 which cover Mid Antrim are OS maps [not valuation maps] and, therefore, do not contain any numbering of holdings and houses. Click here to see which sheets are either missing or do not contain any numbers. Note that I have not removed the missing Co. Derry sheets from this map. Despite these few temporary omissions, the askaboutireland.ie website is one of the most useful sites that I use and, in my opinion, is a must for both family and local historians.
Copyright 2013 W. Macafee.