My life time dream, has always been to visit Ireland, if possible to move there.
I’m extremely proud of my Irish roots, even though so little is known about them.
Each year that passes the ache to connect with my irish ancestry grows, unfortunately life always seems to take me down different roads and I haven’t been able to fulfil my dream. One day I will get there.
So when I received a message from my 2nd cousin, once removed, Stacey, saying she was in Co. Kerry, Ireland, with her Mum, Margaret and her Sister Joanne, searching for information on our ancestors the O’Connor’s, I was more than excited.
Stacey has very kindly shared her trip with us all.
It sounds and looks absolutely amazing.
I decided to go to Ireland to celebrate my 40th birthday with my Mum and sister. We’d never been and this is the birthplace of the illusive, John Cornelius O’Connor – my great grandfather. Mum phoned her cousin Doreen who told her we believe, John Cornelius O’Connor, was from CastleIsland, Co. Kerry. With the location confirmed the trip was booked.
We flew to Co. Kerry on Wednesday, 17th April. When we arrived everyone was saying it was a lovely day. This confused me as all I could see was heavy cloud. Apparently, if it’s not raining in Ireland it’s a lovely day! We stayed in a spacious bungalow which included breakfast but also a lot more than that. The Irish are very generous with food! As we relaxed in the bungalow we received a message from my sister’s husband with a link to Georgina’s blog! So exciting! I contacted her immediately and our connection and joint search began.
Thursday 18th April.
First stop CastleIsland. It was a truly beautiful day today – brilliant sunshine shone all day and we saw CastleIsland at its best. Loved seeing the name O’Connor in the town – they were definitely there! Unfortunately everyone we spoke to said that there are so many O’Connors! We enjoyed strolling up and down Main Street, visited the church and of course grave yards. We felt very close to our family in CastleIsland.
Friday 19th April.
We headed to Tralee. We were told to visit the library and museum there. Unfortunately it was Good Friday so the library was closed. However the lady in the museum was very helpful and gave us the e-mail address for the archivist in Tralee library. The museum was interesting and gave us an insight into life in Ireland over the years but nothing specific to our search.
Saturday 20th April.
My 40th! A rest from our research today although I did e-mail the archivist. A run on the beach for my sister and myself, breakfast and out for a late lunch. We had a beautiful meal in a pub overlooking the sea – fresh fish and seafood, delicious food and so friendly. They even brought me a birthday dessert and sang to me! After lunch we visited 2 beaches and my sister dared me to swim in the sea – “It’s warm,” she said. After nipping home to get changed the tide had come in and was no longer warm. Anyway managed to go in up to my neck but it was freezing!
We stayed in Ballyheigue Bay and on my birthday there just so happened to be a show on that eve – Celtic Steps for 1 night only before they began their tour in Tralee. They were amazing! Better than we’d imagined. Such fun – singing and dancing. Absolutely love Irish dancing but had always wanted to see it in Ireland. The Irish know how to have a good time! A fabulous finale to our trip.
Sunday 21st April.
Time to leave and go home. A wonderful opportunity to have been able to visit Ireland. So pleased we could take my Mum. And so the search continues . . . an e-mail from the archivist saying O’Connor is the most popular name in Kerry and that his mother’s name, Mary, is the most common name in Ireland! Now awaiting any news from the archivist after sending him Georgina’s blog and all the documents/certificates she kindly e-mailed me. Have also got the best detective on the case – my brother Matthew. He found the names of John Cornelius O’Connor’s 2 Canadian sons who are buried in Netley in Southampton. I have 1 more lead to follow up on – Master Mariner’s records in the National Maritime Museum. We’ll keep you posted!