Friday, 2 August 2013

Ireland Trip - Limerick County - Day 1

Monday was a day to check out all the places that Darry's Irish family had come from. We started at Rathkeale, and specifically the Catholic Church – St Mary's. Luckily for me 2 of the priests were outside talking, and I spoke with one. He told me that there were no records at the church, but was able to tell me that the Rathkeale Workhouse was now the Meat Factory, and that people who died there were buried in the Famine Cemetery, which were generally unmarked graves, but did have a few. He gave me directions, and after he left, one of the church workers, Mary, told me a lot more, especially about the Glin Industrial School. I asked her about the location for the Meat Factory, and it turned out that she lived almost next door. She said that if we gave her a lift home, she would show us. She then chatted more, telling us about the church, and by the end of the conversation seemed to have forgotten about us giving her a lift. We went out to look at the grave-yard, and then eventually went back to collect her. On the way Mary told us that the instructions for the Famine Cemetery that the priest had given us would be hopeless, and she said she would show us where to go. Well, we went round and round, and it soon became evident that Mary had never actually been there! When the priests held the Easter Mass at the cemetery, she stayed at the church to prepare for the supper after. By following our nose, and the priest's directions, we found the other Cemetery, which she thought was it, but I knew it wasn't as the details did not match with what the priest told me. Darryl spoke to someone else, and it turned out we needed to travel down the road another mile. We eventually got there, and, although there were some grave markers, it was as described. Although she was not born in Rathkeale, Mary had been in town when the last Workhouse Funeral was held, and she said it was terribly sad, with no mourners. Luckily, we were able to drop Mary at her house before she decided to direct us to any of the other locations we were after! One of the other things that Mary told us, was that all the Parish Records from the whole area had been taken to 'St Ita's Hospital' in Newcastle West. It sounded pretty strange, but as it wasn't far we went there. It turned out that this information was also wrong, but there was an office of the Births, Deaths and Marriage Registry Office within the hospital grounds. One of the Churches the priest had told me about was Kilscannell, a ruin but with gravestones, so we checked it out. There weren't any O'Connell headstones, so we then went on to find Newbridge. We couldn't find what I thought we were looking for, so we headed on to find Coolcappa. We found the churchyard I had seen on Google Earth, and it had a modern (1970's) church beside. A man from across the road said the original church was where the current carpark is, and it had been demolished. He said the old graveyard was 2 miles away and gave us directions. We eventually found this graveyard, but it seemed a bit strange and there we no stones which mentioned Coolcappa or Kilcolman (another name for the area). We headed back to try and locate the houses and land of the family at Newbridge, and a local directed us, so we found the area. Next was the church ruins of Lismakeery, and we drove along the road not seeing it, and were just about to turn around when I noticed a ruin up on a hill. Buried inside this church ruin are Darryl's 2nd great-grandparents, John and Mary O'Connell, Mary's parents, Patrick and Bridget Riordan, and lots of Foley's (who are also Riordan descendants). Final stop for the day was Askeaton, where family members seemed to have links. We found some great ruins there, including “The Hell-Fire Club”, Desmond Castle, a church, the Knight's Templar Tower from 1298, attached to St Mary's Church, and the Franciscan Abbey. We returned to Adare for dinner, which was enjoyed at Pat Collins Pub, before returning to Creogh for the night.

The Famine Graveyard

Rathkeale Workhouse - now the Meat Factory

Kilscannell Church Ruins and Graveyard

Lismakeery Church Ruins

O'Connell Gravestone - Edmond, and John & Mary (Darryl's 2nd great-grandparents)

Riordan Gravemarker - Bridget and Patrick, Darryl's 3rd great-grandparents

Ruins of 'The Hellfire Club'

Knight's Templar Tower

Franciscan Friary

Thatched cottage in Adare

Pub for dinner

Adare Castle

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