Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Back to the Future
My cousin Justin took me and my cousin Fidelma on a journey through our family's past. My big hope was to find out more about my grandmother whom I never knew. And to find out more about her older brother John who moved to the States and according to us was never heard from again.
We set out for Cavan and went first to Mullagh where my Uncle Alphonsis and Aunt Annie are buried along with their son, my cousin, Father Michael. It was very moving on this wet day standing there and remembering them all.
Then we took off to my cousin Seán's house where I got to see my cousins Ann and Uná and 3rd cousin Shauna and Jack and Alex. Seán even took me out to show me his amazing Angus cattle. Black and sleek and beautiful.
My truly spectacular cousin Justin with a local friend.
Justin then took us to the Hyannisport of the Ward Family, Baileborough, Cavan This is where my grandmother was born and we got to see the house.
We also went to the grave of Fidelma and my great-grandparents, Michael and Maggie. It has a great story behind it about the stolen headstone of a priest! Ah, the Wards!
The biggest surprise was popping round to see our cousin Philomena. So many of our mysteries were solved. Our Uncle John who vanished? "Oh, sure he died in Ft. Lauderdale. He was married twice (his first wife died) and your cousin Dierdre knows all about it. Oh and here are his wedding photos." As my cousin Justin says, "UnbeLIEVEable."
Les belles tantes: Pat, Phil, Mona and Lou
But much like Dorothy when the Lion and the Tin Man and the Scarecrow are taken care of, I still did not get anything conclusive on my grandmother. Philomena showed me photos that she said were of my grandma and grandpa, but I don't think so. She is going to ring a cousin up the road who I found out my grandma used to write to his mum! This is key. So the trail is not dead.
Are you my grandma?
We finished off the day with an excellent dinner at my cousin Grainne's house. Such a great family, her husband Thomas and kids Amy and Kevin. Their house sits on a hill overlooking a lake and loads of green.
As sappy as it sounds, wherever you are here, you are home.