It is a legal requirement in Ireland that a record be kept of each birth, marriage and death that occurs in the State. Up to 5 December 2005, these events were recorded locally in the district where they occurred. Since that date they can be recorded in any Registrar's District. Records of all births, marriages and deaths are held nationally in the General Register Office, the central civil repository for records relating to Births, Deaths and Marriages in Ireland.
The Civil Registration Act 2004 changed some of the rules about registering a birth or death. These changes took effect from 5 December 2005. They took effect for marriages from 5 November 2007
When a birth, marriage or death is recorded in Ireland, a certificate is issued to the individual(s) concerned (i.e. the parents in the event of a birth, the couple in the event of a marriage and the next-of-kin in the event of a death). This record of the birth, death or marriage is a very important legal document and should be kept in a safe place. A birth certificate is required if you wish to enrol your child in school, apply for an Irish passport, etc. A death certificate is required if you are dealing with the deceased person's estate, etc.
If you need to apply for a birth, marriage or death certificate, or a copy of these certificates you can apply online or get in touch with the appropriate Registrar in any Registrar's District. You can also apply to the General Register Office in Roscommon. Adopted children's Birth Certificates are only available from the General Register Office.
You will be required to pay a fee if you require a copy of these certificates.
Records of marriages (other than Roman Catholic) held in the General Register Office (Roscommon) date back to 1 April 1845. Records of births, deaths and Roman Catholic marriages date back to 1 January 1864. The General Register Office does not engage in family history research.
Further information on registering the birth of your baby is available here. Further information on marriage registration in Ireland (and the recognition of marriages abroad in Ireland) is available here. Information on how to register a death in Ireland is available here.
The Registrar you need to contact used to be determined by where the event took place - not where you lived at the time, or where you live now. Since 5 December 2005 you may contact any Registrar. Birth Certificates may be obtained, once the registration of the birth has taken place, from the Registrar directly or from any Registrar's Office. If you have any difficulty in determining the identity of a Registrar you should contact the local Superintendent Registrar's Office as detailed below for the required information.
There is no fee charged for the registration of a birth, marriage or death, or for re-registration of a birth to include a parent's details. Fees are charged for copies of certificates.
A certificate is issued for social welfare purposes at a reduced cost. Evidence it is for social welfare purposes is required, such as a note from the Department of Social Protection.
The fees charged for a certificate are:
Copies of birth, marriage and death certificates in Ireland may be obtained from any Registrar (see below) and can also be obtained from the General Register Office. As these are public records anybody can apply.
You can also apply online for copies of certificates, including domestic adoptions and stillbirths that have been registered.
Contact information for Registrars of Births, Marriages and Deaths is available here, including addresses, opening hours, etc.
Further information is available from:
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.