Apr 072015

This was the home of my great-grandparents and their family, it’s a story from my family history and of people who survived one of the toughest, most heartbreaking periods in Ireland’s fairly recent past

Born in the 1830’s /40’s they lived through the ‘Great Hunger’, married and had seven children, all of whom emigrated to Philadelphia.  I continue to research this branch of my ancestors.

My great-grandparents were neighbours in a rural Irish community before they married, they continued to live there for almost all of their lives.

Family Home

Family Home

Each family member emigrated as soon as they had the price of the passage.  When on the other side of the Atlantic, they each worked tirelessly and sent money home for the next sibling to follow – sometimes two at a time until there was only my grandmother left behind with her aging parents.

In 1898 my great-grandmother died and on Sept 21st 1899, both my great-grandfather and my grandmother boarded the SS Pennland in Queenstown (Cobh) and emigrated to Philadelphia to be reunited with the remainder of their family.  They were accompanied by another cousin.  Just prior to leaving for that final trip, my great-grandfather handed the key of this little house to his neighbour saying ‘do with it what you will, we won’t need this house again’

Sadly, although my great-grandfather crossed the Atlantic and rejoined his family, meeting again extended family and former neighbours, emigrants from Ireland  and his US born grandchildren, he only survived for a further 6 months in Philadelphia.  He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.

In my research, I have found all except one member of this family in Pennsylvania.  I have very many second and third cousins in the US and their stories are still unfolding as I continue to piece together the lives of an emigrant family.

Two daughters returned to Ireland and married two brothers who lived just a few fields away from this little house.  One of these women was my grandmother.

I captured this image earlier this year, late on a winter afternoon in freezing fog, illuminated by my car headlights

Apr 062015
Springtime in Ireland

What an incredible day: I love Ireland all year round but especially in springtime and particularly when the sun shines The greens are translucent, one can almost ‘see’ the grass growing as the earth awakens from it’s winter slumber, erupting in tones of greens, yellows, creams, whites, blues and purples. Animals, birds and insects harmonise […]

Feb 052015
Walking in the Comeraghs

I love walking / hiking the Comeragh Mountains. A glaciated range of twelve mountains the highest point being Fauscoum at 2,598 ft. Winter, summer, all year round, they offer a unique and varied landscape. The following photographs taken on a hike from Lough Modhra at sunrise to Knockanaffrin Ridge and down towards ‘The Gap’. This […]

Dec 312014
Jellyfish Ballet

One of the more striking animals in Irish waters is the Compass Jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) which can grow up to 30cm in diameter. It’s manubrium has 16 distinctive v shaped markings resembling the radii of a compass – hence it’s name. Compass Jellyfish have strong venom and can leave painful weals on contact.   I […]