Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My days of driving on the left side of the road are over, hallalujah.  Made it to Hertz on fumes - option to bring it back empty.  Took the Hertz shuttle to the airport and the hotel shuttle here.  Had checked in first.  Again saved by the gps data card for Ireland.  The roads around the airport are very confusing and loaded with roundabouts, especially since I didn't know where to go until I plugged in the names.  Bewley's Hotel is top shelf, including free wifi.  I have to commend myguideIreland for a great job.  The hotel in Dublin, rental car, b&b's and this hotel, plus my flights were all booked by them.  I used them based on Susan McDermott's recommendation and am glad I did. 

The ride from Arvagh was about two hours, which took me through the Boyne Valley again.  Scenery is spectacular as it has been for the entire trip.  I took a couple of photos, but don't have my camera right here so I can't upload them.  Monday and Tuesday were drizzly, rainy days with no sunshine.  Today was sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.  

By the way, if you're waiting for news of the Queen, you are out of luck.  Although I was at most of the places she is visiting, alas not while she is in Dublin.  The news is full of her visit - as well as Arnold Schwarzeneger's (sp?) split with Maria Schriver.  How stupid of him.

So, see ya when I see ya.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Winding down

Went back to the County Cavan Museum at Ballyjamesduff.  Interesting exhibits about life in the county including the potato famine. Wanted to buy a couple of interesting books, but can't do another overweight suitcase. :=)

St. Mary's at Carrick, County Cavan

Stopped by the other St. Mary's (Carrick) again.   Back to Arvagh for dinner.  I leave here tomorrow heading to the airport with maybe a stop along the way.  Overnight at an airport hotel, on a plane Thursday a.m and arriving back in the USA Thursday afternoon.  So, if nothing interesting happens tomorrow, it will be adios to blogging.  It's been a fun experience, but an everyday blogger I'm not.  Thanx for all your comments and encouragement - sharing has been a great experience.  For you genies anxious for info, I hope to get it to you by the weekend.

What a Day This Has Been!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was up early, as usual.  Showered and ready for breakfast waiting for 8am.  TV has a cctv feed from the barn.  Curious - two cows in pens, one seemed very restless. Could she be in labor?  At breakfast, asked my hostess Pearl - sure enough.  After breakfast, returned to my room and watched the birth of a baby bull, with a little assist by Pearl's husband, Wilson.  What nice people.  They invited me down to the barn to see the new arrival - he was about 15 minutes old.    Within a half hour he was standing and within the hour he was nursing.  Wilson even took photos for me. Awesome sight for a city (more accurately "suburb") girl. 

Then it was off to find the parish of Ballynarry, near Kilnaleck or Ballyheelan.  The genealogist at the National Archives had it narrowed down to the parish of Ballymachugh - I still don't understand.  Near Ballyheelan I saw a trailblazer for Ballymachugh - CHURCH OF IRELAND!!  uh oh.  Followed the signs which brought me to St. Paul's Church of Ireland. Now what?  I tried to find someone, without luck.  As I was about to leave two workmen went into the adjacent (what else!) graveyard.  I explained and they directed me to rhe Catholic church at Ballynarry.

About 10 minutes later I was at the church in which my great-grandparents were married in 1877.   
Catholic Church at Ballynarry  
What a pretty church - and adjacent graveyard.  Looked around inside and out - no one around, except two fellows working in the cemetery.  One suggested I ask about records at the little store nearby.  Walked around the cemetery looking for Plunketts and Morrows - found one barely readable Plunkett.  As I was walking back to the car, I walked off a curb without looking and fell. Fortunately, aside from a banged up pinkie finger, the only other thing hurt was my pride. 

At the little store, Jacqueline sold me bandages and first aid cream, brought me next door to wash my cuts and then called Fr. Gray about records.  Unfortunately, he was on his way to the hospital for a parishioner. 

To not waste the day, I drove to Ballyjamesduff, recommended by Pearl, to go to the Cavan County Museum - it was closed - will go back tomorrow.  Stopped at Gormley's Pharmacy looking for peroxide and got my cuts cleaned a little better.  Went to Coffee Cup Cafe for some lunch - and they kindly provided an ice pack.

After lunch, back to Ballyheelan - tried Fr. Gray again at 3:30 and was invited over to his home in Carrick near another St. Mary's of which he is also parish priest.  Jackpot - we looked at baptism and marriage records.  Found both for John Morrow and Bridget Plunkett.  Then we had some tea.  What a kindly man.  There is a very old looking tall structure near the church in Carrick; Fr. Gray explained it was a bell tower erected in 1832 to commemorate the 1829 repeal of a law prohibiting Catholic churches from having bells.   

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Westward ho.... then back northeast

My journey west continues.  Arrived at Cashel and found a b&b.  Went downtown for a bite to eat and visited "the Rock" which will be visited by the Queen of England later this week.  An entire side of the structure is covered with scaffolding - kind of ugly.  Hope the media get photos without the scaffolds  Back to the b&b for a much needed nap.  Then got a good night's sleep and on the road by 8:30 after breakfast.  This b&b was not nearly as nice as some of the others - enough said.
Continued on to Tipperary then Limerick (actually bypassed it on the highway) headed toward Galway.  After Galway, I headed northeast and on to Cavan.  Passed through Roscommon, Longford, etc. B7B's are fewer and area in County Cavan much less populated.  Found The Arches b&b in Arva (or Arvagh).  I'm in heaven!    Beautiful working farm and farmhouse - spectacular view in every direction.   Many activities on the property - fishing, tennis, miniature golf, and others.  The nicest B&B of my trip.  I highly recommend The Arches.  In the a.m. will head to Kilnaleck in an attempt to find the actual parish of my maternal great-grandparents and maybe get lucky and look at the birth and marriage registers.   I overdid the driving today and will "plant" myself here for a couple of days. 

More later.......

Saturday, May 14, 2011

the saga continues...

Thursday - left the Greenmount Lodge and headed back up to Gortin parish to meet Fr. Forbes and look at the Church registers.  It was certainly worth the trip.  Had a spot of tea with Fr. Forbes and housekeeper Kathleen.  Fr. Forbes gave me free rein to the registers for baptism 1865> and the marriage register.  I spent 4 1/2 hours copying information; in the beginning I also wrote down names familiar to me from other genies with mutual interests but after some time, I concentrated on the McDermotts/McKeowns.  I could have spent weeks there. Found the marriage record for James McDermott and Sarah McKeown, baptismal records for my grandfather and some of his siblings.  Will transcribe and share the info when I get home.  It was certainly a satisfying day.  The hospitality of Kathleen and Fr. Forbes was over the top - tea and wee sandwiches and sweets!

Then I drove down to Drogheda and spent the night at Orley House, a delightful b&b.  On Friday morning I headed out for Newgrange.  Newgrange and Knowth, located in the picturesque Boyne Valley are ancient burial sites, dating back to 3,000 BC.  Amazing to think of the engineering talents these people possessed. 

Left Newgrange, heading west.  Stopped in the town of Kells  and saw the round tower and tall
celtic crosses.     Continued west and stopped for the night in Athlone.  After getting a bit lost - "the b in the box" seems to be schizophrenic, and I kept missing turns, too.  Drove on the M6 for a time - in the rain.  The speed limit is 120km which I think converts to 74 mph - it is a dual lane, divided highway - like the GSP.  Not a fun drive in the rain, but I did find myself actually passing a truck or two - with my heart in my mouth!  The speed limits on a road like Colonial Drive or Mantoloking Road with no shoulders and more narrow lanes, is 100 km (60 mph).  There are signs "severe" bends, etc. but no speed limit reductions.  Sometimes I found myself behind some farm equipment which was fine with me, but the drivers behind me were not so patient.   Speaking of rain - I passed through a hail storm.  You can drive along in the sun and then through rain and back into the sunshine.  It also seems to be very windy most of the time. 

Just left the Burren Lodge b&b and am currently at a McDonald's.  Although the b&b advertised internet, wasn't able to connect.  Not sure where I'll wind up today, I'm heading west. Decided to head to Cashel.  On the way, stopped at Clonmacnoise - the remains of the ancient ecclesiastical site.  More ruins.  Photo of the Castle just prior to the entrance and then a photo at Clonmacnoise. 

Here is the famous River Shannon at Clonmacnoise

Thursday, May 12, 2011 Cavan

Drove to Cavan today in search of Morrow/Plunkett records.  Went to Cavan Genealogy Society at the library in Cavan.  While they say they have all the church records for the county, none available to the public to view.  I paid 95 euro or $142 for them to search and send me what they find for my maternal great-grandparents.  I could have ordered these from home.  Very disappointing. The banner across the building advertises the fleadh this summer - a musical event - in which Barbara McDermott's grandson Finbar will perform as he did last year.  Maybe Barbara and Lou will attend too. 

The ride to Cavan was "interesting;" using my gps I somehow found myself passing a huge (more than 24 huge windmills) wind farm. The landscape was surreal - very barren, very high and very scary road.    Steep drop in sections on - of course - my side of the very narrow road.  The speed limit is 60 mph on these very narrow, winding roads and people do the speed limit; they pass me every chance they get or I pull off to let them pass.  I pulled off at one point and took some photos.  I snapped a photo of sheep in a field across the road and before I knew they were on the road with me.  


Then it was back to Gortin to meet with Fr. Forbes at the church  for some family records from their registers going back to 1865.  I got stood up!  Called Fr. Forbes and he had an emergency and I will head up there this morning for another try.  It rained on and off all day.  Check out this rainbow in Greencastle, County Tyrone!     

I will be leaving County Tyrone and heading south.  Hope to get to Newgrange this afternoon and find a b&b.
This may be my last post for a while unless I can find free wifi.  My stay here at Greenmount has been pleasant and I would recommend it to anyone; the Reids are very hospitable.  They aim to please.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More graveyard visits

Breakfast this morning with the other remaining guest at Greenmount.  Young fellow from Germany with a VERY large crane truck, on warranty work on a wind farm in the area.  Work is very slow because it's been extremely windy - especially at 60 meters in the air!  When I asked how he got the truck here, he replied that he drove it, which makes sense except for the bodies of water between Germany and here - there's a ferry.  Who would think such a huge truck could be carried by ferry.  Imagine driving that huge truck sharing the very narrow roads with the locals who drive VERY fast.  Worse yet, driver is on the left - edge of the road. 

Planned to visit Derry today, but was told lots of walking involved, so instead I drove to Cookstown.  More beautiful scenery.  Cookstown is known for a very wide, very long, very straight street down the center of town.  Wandered around and did some window shopping.  Then headed back to the various churches and graveyards in search of more headstones.  Unable to meet with the priest to look at church records yet.  Enroute saw a sign for stone circles and followed the signs only to find the area was closed.  Took a photo from a distance. 

 Weather today very chilly (40's), periodic showers/sun and very windy.  Some more scenery photos from the front of the church in Rousky.