In the Internet age, finding someone in Dublin – a long-lost friend, a birth parent, a distant relative – is easier than ever before. Get to a computer, go online and you can do a great deal of research. Quite possibly you can find someone for free. It isn't guaranteed, but the odds are better than a few decades ago.
Eircom, the largest phone company in Ireland, maintains an online telephone book. You can look up a phone number by name and city, such as "Mike Murphy, Dublin." There are other phone companies with other phone books available, too. If you get a hit, you've now got a phone number and an address to work with. In some cases you may get more than one individual to check out – or none. It's one of the first steps to take to find someone in Ireland.
At time of writing, more than 40 percent of Europe's population is signed up on Facebook. Searching for the name of your friend or contact there might seem too easy to be true, but people have found lost relatives this way before. Plug the name in and see what turns up.
Sometimes simply entering the name, plus the city of Dublin, into a search engine, will enable you to find people who live there. Genealogy websites let users look for people who share their genes or ancestry, though you may have to pay to join.
If you were born in Ireland but adopted into the U.S., the adoption agency your adoptive parents used may be able to help find your birth family. Contact the agency and see if it can help you. If you don't know the name of the agency, write to the Irish Adoption Authority. This government agency has details of all registered adoptions since 1952, and should be able to identify the agency. Adoption agencies, however, are unlikely to give you information unless your birth parents are comfortable sharing.
Boots on the Ground
If you're willing to shell out money, you can hire a private investigator to track down the Dubliner you want to find. A solicitor – the upper class of attorneys in Great Britain – may be able to do the research for you, too. Check carefully for prices if you go this route. Ask for references so you can be certain you're investing in someone trustworthy before you spend the money.
Over the course of his career, Fraser Sherman has reported on local governments, written about how to start a business and published four books of film reference. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs.