Monday, May 16, 2011

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

It's no lie. I really am Irish. At least 1/32nd anyway. My family is about as American as it gets. People on both sides of my family have been on the West Bank since the 1600s. However, my most recent ancestor to immigrate to the United States was born in Longford, Ireland. His father is buried in Longford County. My mom and I tried to find their old township and even their cemetery sites but didn't have any luck. It doesn't help that they were actually listed as having lived in Glannagh, Ireland. According to the 1906 census, this township only had 11 homes. And today, the only thing I know that is in Glannagh is an archery club. That's about it.

We rented a car in Dublin, so I spent two days driving from the right side of the car on the left side of the road. Awkward to say the least, but we survived without any issues. However, after two days of driving in Ireland, all I can say's green. Otherwise, it as hypnotizing how similar it looked no matter how many miles we covered. All the way from Dublin to Cork, to Limerick, to Longford...and then on to Northern Ireland where we flew out of Belfast.

Northern Ireland is also very important to my family's heritage. Northern Ireland was formerly known as Ulster Plantation. It was settled by the Scots and the Brits about 400 years ago. My mom's side of the family has roots in Ulster, linked to the Duke of Atholl (in Scotland). More about that later. Anyway, the last people to immigrate to the United States on my mother's paternal grandmother's line came from Ulster Plantation (i.e. Northern Ireland) by 1732 and happen to related to Scottish royalty. Fantastic, isn't it? Too bad genealogy so easily becomes an obsession, it means lots of time wasted figuring out exactly how our ancestor that immigrated to the US was related to the Scottish Royalty (why didn't he stay in Scotland?). However, once that definite link (and by definite, I mean the documentation backing up what we thinking we know) is obtained, we will have that line of the family traced back to at least 1065. How awesome is that?

On the map, I outlined all my driving. The blue outlines all the driving we did on our first day, the yellow outlines all the driving we did on the second day (not counting the mindless driving around Longford looking for Glannagh). Finally, the black line is the route I took on my trip back in April of 2009. I have to admit, the black line was a much more awe-inspiring drive than all the green, and more green, and more green along the other two lines.

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