An Ancestral Road Trip

Some time in the not too distant future I would like to take a trip to Ireland and visit the places my ancestors lived.

I have visited Ireland before with breaks in Dublin and Cork. Great trips but no family connections. To be honest, the last time I visited Ireland I had no idea about the Irish ancestors. I had a vague idea that somewhere in the past there was a link. Then I started researching my family tree and discovered that the majority of my ancestors came from Ireland. 100% on my mum’s side 25% on my dad’s.

There are 32 counties in Ireland and to see the birthplaces of my ancestors I’d have to visit 7 and I wouldn’t have to travel very far south.

  • Armagh
  • Down
  • Antrim
  • Derry
  • Donegal
  • Mayo
  • Longford

Planning trips is something I really love. I have missed travel so much during the pandemic. The research is a huge part of the holiday and it keeps me going between trips. I’m not saying there’s no flexibility or room for spontaneity but I want to make the best of my time. I don’t know exactly when this trip will happen but I’ve already had a look at some holiday rentals. I’m not excited about the ferry trip. I got seasick watching the Tom hanks film “Greyhound”. I seriously did. I’ll probably need a day to recover!

I could start in Kilmore, Armagh to the birth place of my great, great grandfather John McGarrity. I could easily do Dromore in County Down on the same day to connect with Patrick Keenan and Agnes Haughey.

Next would be Lambeg in Antrim, the hometown of John Burrows (paternal) which I would combine with a visit to Belfast. My great, great grandfather Arthur Helferty was also from Antrim so the village of Aghagallon also makes the list

Next up could be Faughanvale in Derry the home of the Brawleys (maternal). The Brawleys were the first of the ancestors to come to Scotland so I’m going back to my great, great, great grandfather John Brawley.

Next I’m on to Letterkenny, Donegal to see where my great, great granny Mary Wilkinson stated out. I must admit that this is the only one of the towns I’d like to visit that I’d actually heard of.

From Donegal I have a bit more of a drive down the home of my great, great granny; Westport in county Mayo but I’m fine with that because it looks a lovely spot. It’s not even 3 hours but living in Scotland driving huge distances is not something I’m used to. I live 38 miles from the centre of Edinburgh and I like to book a hotel when I go!

And that just leaves Drumlish, County Longford and the home of my great grandfather Patrick Cosgrove. He’s my closest link to Ireland. Still not enough to qualify for a passport sadly.

There are some gaps in my research. I need to pin down the exact town-lands if I really want to stand where my ancestors stood but it’s something I’m looking forward to very much.

4 thoughts on “An Ancestral Road Trip

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