Marlins of Indiana, USA
My brothers and I are third generation Irish-Scots Americans and hail from Co Derry Northern Ireland. We have lived all our lives in Indiana and have been playing music most of our lives in various parts of the United States.
We met Sean of My Ireland Heritage in Florida many years ago and explained to him that we went sure but that we believed we had a mixture of Irish and Scottish ancestry in us. Sean has an outstanding knowledge of the country of Ireland. We always felt if we ever traveled to Ireland it would be with Sean. My own wife has Irish Family lineage also so I was anxious to pay a visit as soon as possible.
I asked Sean to do some research for me as I knew from him and his company that he had a group of researchers who had worked on Martin Sheehans, Jermy Irons, and Rosie O Donnels family heritage also. I was under pressure to Travel over very quickly between our musical concerts and we were on time restraints so the full family history had not been completed at the time of travel.
This suited Sean perfectly and he was able to secure for me a quick one week holiday which touched on the most important things relevant to my Family Heritage and allowed me to get directly to where I needed to go. This was important as I had heard stories from other folk I knew who had done similar trips that they really never got to the places that mattered which were in remote parishes in Ireland. I was not interested in doing the tourist trail maybe in the future but for now I wanted to see the real Ireland.
After it was established that my wife’s family had come to America from Donegal and mine coincidentally from the musical capital of Ireland Co Derry we booked our Flights. Sean met us at Dublin Airport and after our Breakfast meeting brought us to Dublin City to the National Archives situated beside our Hotel it was wonderful to see the Census figures of 1901 and 1911 and see where my wife’s family were possibly living 100 years ago in Co Donegal. Sean organized for us to stay at the Shelborne Hotel which was ideally placed for such a short stay in Dublin allowing us to visit with him The famous Book of Kells from the 8th Century at Trinity College and for my wife Maureen it was such a good location for shopping in the St Stephens Green and Grafton Street Area.
The next day we headed North for our Trip to Co Derry about an hour into the Journey Sean brought us to the Battle of the Boyne Site. The Battle of the Boyne took place between Protestant King William (of Orange) and Catholic King James in 1688 and became a defining moment in Irish History. It was so important to see this site as it gave me an idea how politics have played out for 400 years for the Townslands I was heading to in Co Derry and to a lesser degree the neighboring County of Donegal my wife’s homeland. On the way we also stopped at Monasterboice round Tower and Crosses from the 7th Century Old Melifont cistercian Abbey 1142 AD.
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Slanehill where St Patrick lit a Paschal fire on this hill top in 433 CE .For our stay we used the wonderful Lough Erne Hotel this was ideal for as we were able to visit Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition, and see the Splendor of the Antrim Coast. We had beautiful weather and paid a visit to the World heritage site of the Giants causeway. Sean kept us amused with his knowledge of the Legends of Ireland. As Scotland is a mere 15 miles away we were not only able to see the Scottish coastline but Sean was able to show us Mans first step into Ireland 9,000 years ago from Scotland at Mount Sandle , Collereaine.
We stayed In Derry which used to be called London Derry it was in the mid 1800s that Derry became a port more widely used by emigrants to America and before that most emigrants left Ireland via Dublin to Liverpool for their Journey to the States. While we were in Dublin Sean had brought us to see a replica ship that my ancestors had used based in Dublin called the Jeannie Johnston. It was such a humbling experience to stand on the ship and see how my family would have crossed the seas to the New Life in America.
It was very interesting listening to Sean as we walked around the Walls of Derry City which were built in 1613 by James 1st telling Maureen and I that It is one of the few cities in Europe that never saw its fortifications breached, withstanding several sieges including one in 1689 which lasted 105 days, hence the city’s nickname, The Maiden City. We paid a visit to the many highlights Derry City had to offer and although we never found any long lost relatives it was a delight to see the that the Cities rich musical heritage lives on. This was very important to me as my Father had given my five brothers and myself a love of Musical Culture. We traveled onto Co Donegal and stayed at the beautiful Eske Castle Hotel was a great base for touring the many highlights Donegal had to offer. We visited Adara where Maureens people had lived. The surprise for Maureen was to discover that Sean who had not previously told her that he had found some long lost relatives. She was amazed that some of her family were still here and we met that night for a night of Music what the Irish call a” Sessiun”. The highlight for Maureen was to visit the Slieve league Cliffs the highest cliffs in Europe.
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Sean is an excellent organizer he found time to give us the experience of a life time stopping at the Neolithic site in Carrow keel Co Sligo. It as most things are hidden away on the top of a mountain where Sean’s knowledge of the small road systems in Ireland is second to none. He brought us to the top of a Mountain and we traveled to a Neolithic Tomb which Sean had access to. Sitting here looking over Lough Arrow was one of the Highlights of the Tour.
Undoubtedly this was the best way to see Ireland we were able to visit our Family Townslands and relate the history as an every day walk of life.
Visiting Ireland with My Ireland Heritage took us to places we would never had seen and tied together the strands of Centuries intertwined with Sean’s love of his country. I look forward when the family history is completed by Sean’s company very soon, and of traveling back next year with some of my brothers and enjoying showing them the experience I have received.