Monday, November 21, 2011

Old McDonagh Had A Farm...

This is the view right down the road from our Great Great Grandfather's (Michael McDonagh) farm in Derrygolagh, County Sligo, Ireland. What once was the family farm is now part of a forest of fir trees, just steps from the borders of Sligo and Rosscommon Counties. It is a beautiful, remote area. We wouldn't have found it at all if not for our cousin Liz - who scouted out the landscape back in the Spring of this year. She forwarded detailed maps with handwritten notes and landmarks so we could walk the land that our ancestors plowed.

Following Liz's directions, we first visited what is believed to be the cemetery where our Great, Great Grandparents are buried. Some of the headstone are now merely 'stones' worn by weather and time.

A beautiful resting place

We also stopped at another cemetery to see if we could find family names on the stones, but none of our McDonaghs or Morrisroes were there.

We then made our way to the parish church, St. Kevin's. We know that our ancestors worshipped, baptized their children and buried their loved ones here.

This photo of St. Kevin's around the time it was founded, was taped on the back wall of the church

Suzanne and I spent a better part of the morning chasing down the parish priest, Father Finan. I had written him back in August requesting to see the parish records. We checked all three churches under his purview, stopped by the Parish House, and even checked the closest pub ... all to no avail. Apparently, at each place we stopped we had 'just missed him' by minutes!! Everyone we spoke with told us that Fr. Finan was a kind and most humble man. We're sorry we never got the chance to meet him. We did get to see a lot of the 'auld sod' while we were chasing him, though!

For cousin Liz...I knew you were with us during the trip!!

To 'back-pedal' just a bit, I should say that we visited all these sights on Monday, November 7. We departed County Donegal on Sunday morning, Nov 6th. We took our time driving down the western coast of Ireland, stopping in a few small towns along the way.

That evening, we checked into the first castle we had ever slept in - Markree Castle. It was beautiful! We were just one of three rooms occupied in the castle that evening. A bit spooky, but we sat by the fire in the entrance hall and the staff told us stories about the history of the castle and which rooms were haunted. Thank goodness our room wasn't one of them!!

On Monday afternoon, we left County Sligo and made our way toward Dublin. We were meeting our cousins, Eileen and Phyllis, in town that evening. We didn't spend enough time in Sligo - there was much to see and the folks there were most welcoming. We hope to return there one day soon.

1 comment:

  1. Love that you stayed in a castle. I would have asked for a haunted room as I am so excited about ghosts and hauntings and other things paranormal. But I also value a good night's sleep too. *grin*

    The landscape is beautiful.. so lush and green - just what I expected. Too bad you didn't get to meet the priest.