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Help/Advice From Irish Locals and Experts


Apr 28th, 2016, 06:12 PM
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Help/Advice From Irish Locals and Experts

I surprised my husband with a trip to Ireland for his 50th birthday! We arrive in Dublin on a Saturday morning and depart the following Wednesday midday. So we have 4 days to travel. I know it's short. I don't have other options. The good news is that it's not our first trip, but we haven't been together to Ireland and it's been over 20 years since our visits.

We will stay with a friend in Dublin. Saturday we will tour Guinness. Take a nap and go out to eat. Sunday we will drive to Gallway, spend the night. See the Cliffs of Moher on Sun or Mon. Monday we will drive to Adare/Limerick (at suggestion of our American friend who lives there.) Tuesday we will drive back to Dublin via Killney. Have dinner in Dublin to celebrate my husband's actual birthday and fly out on Wednesday midday...at least that was the plan I routed before the surprise. It may b aggressive and I'd love any thoughts on if it's too much or if there are must-sees aside from the major sites.

Here's the caveat, my husband has been researching his Irish ancestry. His great grandfather immigrated from Ireland to America in 1880. My husband found the town. It's called Coolavorheen in County Kerry not too far from Killarney. It seems to be a tiny town with about 6-8 modern houses. My husband is feeling very drawn to go visit.

He would like to go to Galway, skip Limerick, then head to Killarney/Coolavorheen and back to Dublin via Kilkenny. This is a LONG route as it appears on the map and I know there are hundreds of beautiful sites to take in. I suggested we try Dublin to Limmerick to Killarney and back to Dublin but he's set on Galway too.

I need advice/suggestions. I do have hotels booked that are able to be cancelled (Glenlo Abby in Galway and Glenraven in Adare).

We leave a week from tomorrow. If you have a helpful opinion, I would be grateful to hear it. If you have an alternative route that could accommodate sites along the way, please let me know. If you have thoughts on visiting the birthplace of his ancestors, please share.

Thank you so much
L2donahue is offline  
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Apr 28th, 2016, 11:21 PM
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To be completely blunt:

There's almost certainly no physical object in Coolavorheen that was there 130 years ago. Your husband, even if he hasn't thought about it yet, is going to want to find the schoolhouse (it'll have been knocked down and consolidated with somewhere miles away) and the church his ancestor was baptised in. This will have been miles away too, and if Catholic will almost certainly have been rebuilt: not in a pleasing way. If Church of Ireland, there may be no church there at all any more. The family graves will, if you can find where people were buried, most likely be unmarked and untraceable. There'll be no baptismal, burial or wedding records in the area: what's not on the web will usually be in Dublin or (for some Catholic churches) in the diocesan offices in Killarney.

It'll be a frustrating day: he'll want to understand how his ancestors got to school and church - which is very difficult if you don't know where he lived or where the school was. And you'll be doing this under a great deal of time pressure: Ireland is not a country for "aggressive" time planning. As currently sketched out, the ancestor-chasing day will involve a huge amount of time travelling for very little return.

I'd save this till next time, and then plan a holiday largely round being in Kerry. There may be parts of his history more easily researched in Dublin than from abroad, which could fit into your current plans for this trip: but I'd research the bejayzus about the minutiae of the ancestors' lives from every possible source before returning to Ireland for the Kerry expedition.
flanneruk is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2016, 02:31 AM
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Yebbut... it's his birthday, and that's what he wants.

It's possible that the ancestral home is still there. Many old houses get a second lease of life as sheds or outbuildings. It's surprising how much you can establish through online research.

I have managed to find ancestral homes that are at least 200 years old, and still standing (and we are talking about small farmers' houses, not serious mansions). I have also found the spots where ancestral homes once stood, and are so long gone that even old people in the neighbourhood did not know that there had once been a house there.

The best thing of all, however, is the sense of being connected, a sense that is often reciprocated by present-day inhabitants, especially if they are from families that are rooted in the area.

OP, if you want Kerry, then lose Galway. You can reach the cliffs from Dublin, see a bit more stuff in Co. Clare, and reach Adare that night.
Padraig is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2016, 02:55 AM
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I am often accused of being direct even heavy handed. Clearly I still have a long way to go.

Local Knowledge:
Basics, 4 days on the ground here isn't long at all. Take away a day for Dublin at the start on Saturday and having to be at a Dublin Airport hotel or at least within a couple of hours drive from DUB Tuesday night.

You have 1/2 day on Sunday to drive to Glenlo between Galway and Moycullen. Nice hotel, expensive, be a shame to just get there go to bed and get up? Its too far out from Galway to have a night out in the city and drive to the hotel (unless teetotal). If you do stay there you want to be enjoying breakfast and a look around Moycullen at least.

Maybe forget Galway or at least staying the other side of there? Consider Kinvara and the Merriman, at least you get to have a night out (possibly http://www.shannonheritage.com/Eveni...CastleBanquet/)

Monday Lunch time (Glenlo) or Morning (Merriman) aiming down to Adare via the Cliffs of Moher is fine, regular tourist route. Maybe see the castle at Adare take a photo of a thatched cottage, grab a bite to eat in Aunty Lena's.

Or if you stayed in Kinvara opt for Ballyseede Castle in Tralee? That would have you 1/2 hour from Coolavorheen townland.

Tuesday. Killney ?? that is either Killarney or Kilkenny. on the basis you want to be heading for Dublin it depends on what is wanted but with the constraint of having a day to do whatever then I might suggest a quick visit to Killarney just to say you've been and thats if you stay in Tralee. You have 5 or 4 hours driving to Dublin from either Killarney or Adare if you go via Kilkenny add an hour+ for the detour and tour of the Rock of Cashel?

You can do it but you need to consider how to prioritise the must see and like to see options on the way. Tuesday is the only real make or break day.
Tony2phones is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2016, 04:49 AM
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But Coolavorheen isn't a town. It's the name for what's now just a scattered collection of modern buildings. No pub, no shop - and, if we trust Streetview, no-one on the roads.

I suspect Padraig may not have had the experience of investing his own and others' time driving round Irish countryside, seeing only modern bungalows (none with even a car in the drive) on land whose only perceptible connection with him is that the name on the map is that given by an ancestor's neighbour to the official in the local registration office.

In "proper" towns, there'd be people to talk to. It might even be possible, with effort, to phone all the houses in Coolavorheen in advance. But on a simple drive: merely a sense of time completely wasted.

Now OK: I'm familiar with the countryside of the British Isles, and Mr Donahue might not be, so he might get a buzz from seeing the kind of terrain his ggf grew up with.

But wouldn't it be better if he used this trip to consult records available only in Dublin, so he could be better prepared for a dedicated trip later?
flanneruk is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2016, 05:09 AM
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Padraig on Apr 29, 16 at 5:31am
Yebbut... it's his birthday, and that's what he wants.
flpab is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2016, 09:38 AM
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Ah, c'mon flanner! I'm pretty expert at wasting time rambling around to good purpose or to no purpose.

If you do your genealogical research, you can arrive at a place with a fairly exact idea of where your ancestors lived. And that research can be done online, as preparation, and you can arrive in Ireland with very precise information.

It's down to personal preferences. Even if the buildings are gone, OP's husband might like the thought of walking on the roads where his ancestors walked.

A little bit of work tells me that thee were only three of houses in Coolavohreen in the 19th century, and it is possible to find the location of a John Donohoe in about 1850. That might be enough for the birthday boy.
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