Thanks for your message.
It can be quite difficult to find information on people in 19th century Ireland without a specific placename. Civil registration did not begin in Ireland until 1864, so most records before this were kept by the Churches. Most of these records are still held at local level, so you can see why narrowing down the place of origin is important.
Some Catholic and Church of Ireland records, however, are currently being uploaded to www.irishgenealogy.ie/index.html, free of charge. So perhaps you could do a search here. However, this is an ongoing project so not all records are available yet.
Have you tried looking into their emigration? Sometimes more information was given at the port of arrival rather than that of departure, so if you knew this it may be a place to find information-and perhaps even an exact place of origin. The UK archives may help you with this:
You could also try searching for them in the land records pertaining to Ireland in the 19th century, there are 2:
The Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1838) http://titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie/search/tab/home.jsp
Griffith's Valuation (1848-1864) http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/
These do not contain any genealogical information however, if you find a name you recognise (and if there are not too many results returned) it may help you tie the family to a specific place. It may be an idea to run James' parents names also.
You could also do a search at https://familysearch.org/
Some other websites which may help are:
The National Archives of Ireland http://www.nationalarchives.ie/genealogy1/genealogy-records/introduction/
The National Library of Ireland http://www.nli.ie/en/family-history-introduction.aspx
The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/family_history.htm
I hope that these suggestions help.If you have any more information on the family that you can post, please do so as the The more information you post, the more likely it is that one of our volunteers will be able to advise or assist you. Also include information concerning which sources you may have already used so others may further your search.