The Irish Times has announced a full online archive, covering 1859 up to the present day. The official launch hasn’t been announced yet but you can still start browsing the archives now.
The archive starts at http://www.ireland.com/search/ . Note that there are two archives — a text archive and a digital archive. You want the digital archive – the text one only goes back to 1996. New editions are added to the archives a week after publication.
For searching you can do a full search, the past 30 days, the past year, or a date search. Search is simple keyword. A search for revolution found over 54,800 results, with an option to refine by date (and a very nifty graph that shows you the number of results over time and allows you to click-n-drag to narrow your date range.) Oldest articles are listed first.
Search results show the date of the search and the headline of the article with your keyword. Sometimes this is useful and sometimes the headline is generic like “Latest News”. The headline is an image from the digitized edition.
Alas, that’s all you’re going to get for free. If you want to see the entire article, you’ll have to pay. Access for the archive starts at €10 for a 24-hour pass and goes all the way to €395 for a whole year’s worth of access. You also have the option to buy a high-quality reproduction of a single page; I didn’t see any prices for that. Instead, you fill out a form for someone to contact you.
Doing a little keyword searching, I found the surname of one of my Irish ggg-grandparents mentioned several times. I might have to shell out some money… plenty to see here!