Walking where My Ancestors walked
I’d like to share a little about a “trip of a lifetime,” one taken this August with Seán O Cuinn. His official title is Managing Director, My Ireland Heritage. He’s also an outstanding Member of Genealogical & Historical Society of Ireland, someone I first read of in Rick Steve’s Ireland. Why? I had been “indulging” in genealogical research since the 1990’s and finally understood that it was no longer a DIY passion. I needed a pro. I also wanted to find someone well-respected to help me fill in “missing pieces” of our family’s past. On TripAdvisor, Sean Quinn had nothing but rave reviews! I suspect the ordinary person would be a little cautious: Sean sounded too good to be true. But, two days with Sean have added one more admirer to his repertoire. He and his exceptional daughter, Aisling, helped produce an amazing experience. His son-in-law Ian, who also had a love of genealogy, drove while Sean shared research findings and plans. Sean’s wife, Pauline, who had accompanied him on early visits to various sites, shared her artistic talents as well. At the end of the journey, we were presented one of her lovely, personalized, ancestral site paintings. It is an amazing team.
It is impossible to describe all that took place. I wanted to walk where my ancestors walked. I wanted to have a sense of their lives and learn more about them. Sean helped this happen, and in doing so, I learned so much more about the challenges they faced and so much more about their courage. From the moment Sean and his son-in-law Ian picked my husband and me up in Dublin, Sean’s expertise and passion were obvious. In each of the three counties we would visit, he enriched all I learned over years of research. They also kept open minds, helping with that elusive thing called “accuracy.” Sean prepares thoroughly in advance; he calls it “reconnaissance.” He visits ancestral townlands ahead of time, he finds family links, and he somehow miraculously meets people who prove invaluable. After our visit to Tipperary, Limerick, and West Galway, we drove back to Dublin, filled with the amazing findings of two days of connecting the past with our lives. We unmasked centuries, and linked together ancestral findings that will be looked at by family members in the future. It was more than I ever hoped for. It was overwhelming. It was priceless.
Eileen and her Husband took on a major project traveling to 3 family Ancestor Tours in 3 days. First we travelled to see the Maher Family at Tipperary who were on the same piece of land from the 1660s and identified factually on records. Mrs Maher was able to show us a Mass Rock from penal Times still on the land where a souterain (Hidden Tunnel) led the people of the Townland to and from the Mass which was forbidden to take place as they were Catholics.
Next we traveled to Ballyerc the Homeland of the Ryans. We met the family there having identified exactly where they were living in the 1800s and visited all the old Houses.
The last Tour took place on the Beautiful Mayo Coast and this was the family of King/Conneley. We had a surprise for Eilleen we met with one member off the King family who brought Eileen to visit his mother in the local nursing home this was such a connection for Eileen who’s Great Aunt had told her about this member of the family whom she never though she would find. What was wonderful for the Team off My Ireland Heritage was to find 6 old Houses hidden in the Coastal rocks the ruins there from the early 1800s.