A Travellerspoint blog

Day 39 Killarney

overcast 17 °C
View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

A rather long day mainly just driving.

Firstly we headed north to do a small scenic drive along the Wild Atlantic Way, then headed back into Galway and onwards to Dingle and ultimately Killarney.

Given it was drizzly it added a certain atmosphere to the drive, especially around Galway.

However the drive to and around Dingle was spectacular. Unfortunately there were few places to pull over and just take in the scenery (very narrow winding roads) and the drive down took longer than I expected. Lee-ann got some nice photos from the car, so I will have to try and swipe them at some stage to post.

Finally arrived at our accommodation around 19:30. In more rural places they don’t seem to have street names and numbers. So they give you a locality and then you have to ring them and they stand out the front and flag you down. It is not as though they are the only dwelling in the place as most streets seem to be a constant procession of house after house, even in the rural localities. Hate to be a postie around here!

Anyway the Airbnb gods were smiling on us and this place is luxury for $90 a night. The host are very convivial and relaxed. At night we went down the road to a luxury hotel and had a drink, whilst overlooking the lake. Lots of rich Americans on golf holidays. It really would be nice to have sufficient money that you could spend your time in such resorts and not worry about the costs.

Tomorrow doing the Ring of Kerry.

Posted by Neileeann 11:39 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 38 - Galway

rain 18 °C
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I must admit that I am starting to tire with the constant moving and getting from A to B. So I am looking forward to coming home, sleeping in my own bed and just doing bugger all for a few days.

Today we left Clara and headed to Galway. I don’t recall going to Galway previously, so it is a new experience. Anyway we are staying in an Airbnb and it really central to town. It is always a bit of guessing game in these sorts of accommodation. Unless the host comes right out and says so, you never really know what you can or can’t do inside the place. In B&B and hotels you know where you stand, but each Airbnb is different.

Galway is a rather smallish city. It is an university city and that add some life to the place, but most of the tourist things are the drives north and south of the city. In town itself there are still ancient parts (1240) and interesting buildings, but it is not a place that would make you want to linger for more than 2 days.

The weather in Ireland has never been great. Not cold, but rare to see the sun and a constant overcast skies and cool weather (the shorts have only come out once). In Galway and most of the west coast the weather is rarely good with constant drizzle and cool winds. However I have to take my hat off to the locals. Its June - so it must be summer and they dress in mini-skirts – bare midriffs and arms and I have a scarf and wind jacket on.

At night we went to pub to listen to irish music and did a little jig.

Posted by Neileeann 11:32 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 37 The Prodigal son returns

sunny 21 °C
View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Today was trying to find my roots.

First up was Clara and the home town of Michael Flanagan my GGGF. I can definitely say that he came from Clara. What I can’t say for certain is he came from the Townland of Erry, which is located to the south west of Clara.

There was one record showing a Jonathan Flanagan living in the Townland of Erry in 1826, the year after Michael was sent to Australia and he was the only Flanagan living in this district. So it has to be a strong possibility that he was Michael’s father as John was name of his other son and a name used by Michael and his descendants in the naming of their children.

This same record showed that he had a small plot of land (approximately 2,000m2). Looking at historical maps I had previously identified a likely plot of land in Erry that could be a possibility. So off we trot to find it. The land could be accessed from a walking trail just south of Clara and was located approximately 1.4km in. Like a sign from above, we got to a clearing and the sun was shining, I checked our position and this was where I guessimated.

No other signs from above. But it was a lovely day, the sun was actually shining and there were birds chirping. The property is now lightly forested and not used for farming purposes (although there was a development application for a dwelling nearby). So it was time to ponder on Michael and his life and what it meant for his descendants, before heading back into Clara.

Started our walk around town and we came across “Bunny’s Bar”. Bunny is the name of Lee-ann’s father and next door was “The Burrow” which is the name of the place where South’s supporters sit. So I took it as a sign to go in for a drink. Not long afterwards the locals started coming in, including one Michael Flanagan. Introductions were made and Mick (another family historian) decided to rush back home and get his family research. I don’t believe we were related, but pretty soon we were cousins in arms. So after 2 hours I made my apologies and moved on.

I dropped Lee-ann off in Tullamore and headed off to Liberty. Liberty is the Townland where my GGGM was living prior to emigrating to Australia. However, there are more than one possible Mary Flynn’s and she is one of four possibilities, but one of two strong possibilities. I had information from a historical record that showed exactly where she lived, so I made my way there. There was a car in the garage so I thought I would knock on the door and ask if I could take a photo. Well they were Flynn’s and she was right into family history. That was me gone for the next 3 hours. While Kay could not make a connection, she said I looked like Roy Flynn who lived next door (all three houses where occupied by Flynn’s) some years ago. She did say that in all the oral history, no one had ever mentioned that there was an girl who went to Australia. SO that could help rule out this connection, although she she still remains a strong possibility.

After that I drove back to Clara to take a few more photos of the town before heading out tomorrow. Not a lot to see or do in this town and it is not particularly pretty.

Tomorrow off to Galway.

Posted by Neileeann 08:44 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 36 - The jailor and the thief

overcast 17 °C
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I had this title pre-loaded with the expectation that I would get a photo of the caretaker of the gaol and me with his keys. However I totally forgot, so that ruined a good idea.

Today was all about Daingean, the town where Michael Flanagan was tried and convicted and then gaoled before being transport to Australia in 1825. At that time Daingean, then known as Phillipstown, was the capital of Co Offaly, although you would be hard pressed to see any sign of that now. There were four pubs, a chemist and a Chinese take-away hole in the wall operation in the main street and all other shops were closed. It is located about 20 minutes drive away from where we were staying.

First port of call was the old court house that was part of a larger complex, which is now being fixed up by a local community development group. The manager kindly let us in and was a chatty person, so he gave us some more recent history of the building. What you see in the buildings is not the original bench used in the trial of Michael, but one built around 1940 (not that expected the original). Still it was good to be in the same room as young Michael, although it would have been a far from good experience for Michael. A young boy of 14 years, first offence, sitting below the judge casting judgement down upon him and then finding that you are to be torn away from your family and in all likelihood never to see them again. The manager said there was a notorious judge who had a petulance for hanging as his sentence of choice, so Michael may have got off easy in the long run. Karen / Bubsy the manager said that the court house was used in an Irish film / documentary called “A stranger passes by” so maybe you should look to see if it is on U-Tube.

After the court house we went to the old gaol, which was part of former British Garrison fort and later a catholic reform school. The place is now used by the Irish Museum as a storage facility for its Folk Life collection. I had previously arrange access and I had found out than many locals wanted to also go inside for a sticky beak, but access was restricted. So I was extremely lucky to be allowed inside. I meet Mick Byrne (Jailer) at the gate and he showed us around and then took us to that part used as the gaol for Michael. The goal is now almost fallen down, so again I was lucky to see it when I did, as it won’t be around in another 20 years time. Too busy taking snaps (Mick had to stay with me at all times) to sit and reflect, but again a terrifying experience for a young boy as he reflects on his future on that fateful day.

Because the weather is pretty bad today, we decided that we would not do anymore family footstep stuff in the afternoon. Instead we headed to nearby Kildare, which is the place where they have the Irish National Stud. Their purpose is to breed the best thoroughbred horses to win group 1 races around the world. It did have Americano in stud who won the Melbourne Cup a few years ago. There were a number of folds in the fields, who are probably destined to win millions of Euros for their owner in the future. Today they were just happy for a scratch.

After that we went to the movies to see Jurassic World in 3-D at Tullamore to fill in the early evening. It was good, especially in 3-D.

Tomorrow it is back to Clara to spend more time walking around Michael’s old stomping ground and then later onto Liberty where one of my Mary Flynn suspects came from.

Posted by Neileeann 17:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 35 - The Great Hankie Theft

overcast 23 °C
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Well today was always going to be about research and seeing if I could find any further information on Michael Flanagan.

First stop was the Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society. I was really looking to see if they had any publish material that I haven’t already found that could give me any more colour and movement about life in and around Clara around 1820’s. I wasn’t expecting to find any additional information on Michael or his parents or siblings than what I already had. There was not a lot to start with and I have gathered most of them. There was one book (Clara a pictorial record) that had a bit of information that I have p/c, but mostly it had photos of Clara around 1900 onwards. It contained a few mentions of Flanagan’s, but given the time difference, I could not say with any certainty that they were related.

Next stop was the library and again no additional gems to be found.

Afterwards I went off looking for a hankie I could buy. Michael was convicted of stealing a hankie from a drapper in Pound or Harbour Streets, Tullamore. For his troubles he was given a seven year vacation in Aiustralia. So I thought that it would be a nice symbolism to buy a hankie from a similar store in these streets. However no hankie was to be found and maybe their time has passed. Lots of pubs, hairdressers and bookies, but scant clothes shops for the discerning gentleman.

So in the late afternoon we made the drive to Clara just to get a feel for the place, with the expectation that we will return in a couple of days time.

First up was the Clara Bog, which is one of the few raised bogs in the world and listed as a reserve. It is also near the place where I think Michael may have lived. So in the distance I could see the green fields set just above the bog where the cows grazed contently. There was no spiritual moment and the hand of Michael did not come down from the heavens to say “welcome home my son”. Took the obligatory photos and did a walk around the bog.

After that we went to the old church that Michael would have been baptised in around 1811. It is now a community centre and the manager kindly took us through to the baptismal font, which was just a small nook built into the wall. Again no sign from above. For Flanagan Family readers I don’t have a photo to post, as my camera didn’t work for some reason. However Lee-ann has a shot that I will make available when I get home.

We headed back to Tullamore for dinner and on the way home passed a hurling match. So we stopped to watch the game for a while. It was a second division game been two local townland teams.

Tomorrow we go to Daingean, which is the place where Michael was sentenced and gaoled.

Posted by Neileeann 17:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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