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Northern Ireland's Industries

Discovering your ancestor's profession can provide a deeper insight into their lives. Here you can explore some of the common industries and occupations that you might come across in the Irish census returns or family documents.

Belfast was the engine that drove the Industrial Revolution in Northern Ireland but the legacy of Northern Ireland’s industrial heritage can be seen throughout Northern Ireland. At the height of the Industrial Revolution Belfast was bustling with opportunity, an industrial powerhouse serving markets throughout the world. Industries thrived including shipbuilding, rope making, tobacco, tea, machinery and of course, linen.

  • Farming for potatoes


    There can be very few whose ancestors were not engaged in the toil of the land in some form or other.

  • Fishing for Oysters


    Northern Ireland occupies a position of rare advantage in relation to the fertile fishing grounds of the North Atlantic.

  • Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum


    Linen led to the building of impressive red brick mills, some of which are still in use today for other endeavours.

  • Harland & Wolff Cranes - Samson & Golliath

    Shipbuilding & Maritime Heritage

    Northern Ireland boasts a rich ship-building and maritime history.

  • Pattersons Spade Mill

    Industrial Engineering

    Northern Ireland have a long history in Industrial Engineering dating back to the 1800's in industries such as ship-building, linen and rope manufacturing.

Did You Know?

Ancestry Links

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland