Irish Family History Specialists

Category: Irish Tourism

Old Carrickbrennan Graveyard

Genealogists are not morbid, but many of us to have a fascination with cemeteries. There are plenty of interesting ones in Dublin, and this is a report on a very old one, which we visited a while back: Old Carrickbrennan Graveyard, Monkstown, Dublin. We believe it has an interesting story to tell!
 
According to Parish history, the history of Monkstown stretches back to Viking times. A monastery at Holmpatrick, Skerries was sacked by the Danes in 798 AD. Some monks fled and established a new monastery in what is now the old cemetery at Carrickbrennan in Monkstown. We don’t know however if this story is truth or fiction. There are ruins of an old church at the graveyard, but these are of later origin: a church dedicated to St. Mochanna was build here in 1668. It is said, however, that this church was built on the ruins of an older.
 
We are on a more firm footing when the area was granted to the Order of the Cistercians, who build Monkstown Castle around 1250 AD, just opposite the cemetery. This castle still exists, but only as a ruin. This picture is how it looks now.
 
Like all other church properties, during Henry VIII’s reformation, the abbey was confiscated and sold off in 1545. The new owner was  Sir John Travers who is buried in the graveyard.
 
The 1668 church became too small and ruinous around 1777. (The remains are still there, see photo). Thus, a new church for the protestant Church of Ireland was built in Monkstown village, a short distance away from the castle and graveyard. Construction started in 1785.  In 1861 a start was made with the construction of a new Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Patrick, also in the village.
 
The old graveyard at Carrickbrennen continued in use, however. In 1874 it was closed due to fears of cholera, but it was subsequently re-opened and burials took place until the middle of the last century.
 

 
As the cemetery ran out of space a long time ago, graves were put on top of other graves. That is why the ground level is much higher on the western side; a stream on the eastern side prevented the practice there!
 
Some remarkable people that are buried here are:
 
On 19 November 1807 the ‘Rochdale’ sank and 265 people perished. Many of the were buried in Carrickbrennan, as it was close to the sea.
 
Joseph Holt He was born of Protestant Cromwellian parents but nevertheless joined the United Irishmen. He became one of the leaders of the 1798 rebellion in Wicklow and Wexford and was transported to Australia after he was captured. He was however allowed to return and died in Ireland in 1814.
 
During a huge storm in 1861, twelve ships were trying to make their way to shore in Kingstown as Dun Loaghaire was then known. Several of them got into trouble. Captain Boyd and his crew went out on the rescue vessel ‘Ajax‘ but all of them perished in the effort. The crew is buried at Carrickbrennan, but the captain was never found. Instead, a monument was erected.
 
One other thing of notice is the little guardhouse. This was necessary because in the 19th century many cemeteries suffered from the theft of corpses, which were sold to medical schools for examination! This was also the reason why some graves have railings surrounding them.
 

 

 
In the second half of the 20th century the graveyard fell into decay but in 1985 it was cleaned up. Now, the county council organises tours of the cemetery every summer.
 

Records

The volunteers from ‘Ireland Genealogy Projects & Archives have transcribed 30 of the gravestones. These can be found here.

Symbols of Ireland

Although there are undoubtedly more symbols of Ireland, we will tell you a little more about three of them. The official one is the harp. The shamrock is probably the most used. And we chose St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.

The harp

Source: https://www.taoiseach.gov.ie

Ireland has the distinction of being the only nation to have a musical instrument as a national emblem. The Harp is exclusively an emblem of the State, both at home and abroad. It is used by Government Departments and Offices, as in the example below taken from gov.ie

The Harp was first recorded as the arms of Ireland in medieval times. It is depicted as such alongside the coats of arms of a dozen or more medieval European kingdoms on a single folio of the Wijnbergen roll of arms (a Flemish roll of arms) compiled about 1270. The model for the current standard representation of the heraldic Harp is the 14th century harp now preserved in the Museum of Trinity College Dublin, popularly known as the Brian Boru or Brian Borumha Harp.

The State coat of arms is a gold Harp with silver strings on an azure field. This is adapted in flag form as the Presidential Standard, which is flown at the President’s residence, Áras an Uachtaráin. The Government, its agencies and its representatives at home and abroad, also use the Harp as the ordinary emblem of the State. It is the principal element of the seals of the office of President and all Government Ministers. The Harp is also found on the obverse of Euro coins minted in Ireland.

St. Patrick

St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron saint. He lived from ca. 385 to ca. 465 AD. He was born in Roman Britain, apparently in a well-to-do family. This did not protect him from being kidnapped by Irish marauders who sold him into slavery in Ireland. He managed to escape and return to his homeland, where he became a priest. It was in this role he returned to Ireland, this time to convert the then still pagan Irish to Christianity.

Source: https://www.irishcentral.com

Nowadays, his day – 17 March – is a huge celebration across the world.

Every year our “an taoiseach” (Irish Prime Minister) gets to visit the White House in Washington to offer the sitting President of the USA a bowl of shamrock.

The parade in New York City is one of the biggest parades on New York’s calendar. It has been going since 1762 (although initially it was a gathering and not a parade).

And of course people drink and eat green food, fountains spout green water and landmarks “go green”. In 2017 a record 278 iconic landmarks and sites in 44 countries were turning green for St Patrick’s Day.

In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day has been turned into a 5-day festival and it is an excellent excuse to visit the beautiful country of your forebears.

The shamrock

Source: https://www.taoiseach.gov.ie

Tradition holds that St Patrick used the shamrock, a green trefoil, when preaching the Christian gospel in Ireland to explain the concept of the Trinity. The first records of it being used as a badge on St Patrick’s Day date from the 17th Century. Today the shamrock is also used extensively as a badge by Irish sports teams and, to a lesser extent as a component of the logos of some Irish State organisations and companies, both semi-State and private. It is also displayed on the uniforms of Irish troops serving abroad.

St. Patrick’s Day

We in Ireland are looking forward to next weekend, when we celebrate St. Patrick. Patrick is Ireland’s most famous saint. He lived from ca. 385 to ca. 465 AD. He was born in Roman Britain, apparently in a well-to-do family. This did not protect him from being kidnapped by Irish marauders who sold him into slavery in Ireland. He managed to escape and return to his homeland, where he became a priest. It was in this role he returned to Ireland, this time to convert the then still pagan Irish to Christianity.

Nowadays, his day – 17 March – is a huge celebration across the world.

Every year our “an taoiseach” (Irish Prime Minister) gets to visit the White House in Washington to offer the sitting President of the USA a bowl of shamrock.

The parade in New York City, this year under Grand Marshal Loretta Brennan Glucksman,is one of the biggest parades on New York’s calendar. It has been going since 1762 (although initially it was a gathering and not a parade).

And of course people drink and eat green food, fountains spout green water and landmarks “go green”. Last year a record 278 iconic landmarks and sites in 44 countries were turning green for St Patrick’s Day – the biggest number to date.

In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day has been turned into a 5-day festival. This year it takes place from 15-19 March. You can read all about it here: St. Patrick’s Festival Dublin 2018

It is also a busy time for genealogists, as many Americans, Canadian, Australians, etc. want to learn more about their Irish roots. If you have a friend, family member or acquaintance who is interested in his or her Irish ancestry, can you imagine how happy they would be to get professional help?

Here at Genealogy.ie we sell vouchers in USD, EUR and GBP and in various amounts. You can order them by clicking on the picture below.

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June Blake’s Garden

 

Yesterday, we had a lovely visit to June Blake’s Garden in Blessington, Co. Wicklow. Even on a autumn’s day it was a sea of colour and life. Huge thanks to June and her son Dara for the very informative tour. You can find out more about June’s garden and the holiday rooms she has available to rent here: June Blake’s Garden.

Below you can enjoy our short video of our visit.

 

Cashel, Co. Tipperary

 

A must see tourism destination if you visit the south of Ireland: The “Rock of Cashel”.

Click on photo to see a larger picture and explanation.

We hope you enjoyed the gallery. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?

 

 

Blackrock, Co. Dublin – a local history

 

Blackrock is nowadays a suburb of Dublin, but it once was a Town of its own. Up to about 1700, the area where it is located was just an empty bit of coastline, south of Dublin. Strangely, as it was then quite a distance away, it did belong to the City of Dublin. We know this because the Mayor of Dublin, together with his sheriffs, would every three years take a tour of the boundaries of the city. They would end up in modern Blackrock, where the Mayor would ride on his horse into the sea and throw a spear as far as he could: they would claim even the sea, up to where the spear would land. The oldest artifact found in Blackrock is this cross, estimated to be from the 12th Century. Although by no means certain, one theory is that it was a boundary marker.

Just south of Blackrock used to be a castle, which was owned by the Byrne family. No trace of it remains, and even its exact location is uncertain. Around this castle, a little village sprung up. This village was originally called Newtown. The problem with this name was that there were many places in Ireland with this name. To distinguish it, it was therefore also called “Newtown Castle Byrne” or “Newtown at the Black Rock.”. It is the latter name in abbreviated form that survived.

The Black Rock in question was a large limestone. Blackrock is at a geological border. North of it, towards Dublin, the ground is made up of gravel on top of limestone. South of it, it is mostly granite. The limestone, over thousands of years, has eroded away and created the plains on which the City of Dublin sits.  The granite is much harder, and has eroded much less. This is why we have the mountains of Wicklow and the beautiful cliffs at Killiney. Blackrock is also mostly on granite, and would therefore be higher above sea level than Dublin. But as it was at the spot where the limestone and granite met, a large piece of limestone sat in between the granite. This limestone, when wet, would be black and would be clearly visible against the light grey and brown of granite and thus form a natural marker. Hence the name. You can see the difference in the picture below (ignore the brick, they are from a later repair of this old wall).

Dark Grey Limestone, Light Grey and Brown Granite

From about 1700, bathing in the sea became popular as a leisure activity. As the Liffey and Dublin Bay nearer to the City of Dublin were heavily polluted (sewerage treatment plants did not exist yet), people traveled a bit further away.  Blackrock, with its cleaner water and attractive views from its elevated position fitted the bill. It became one of the first seaside resorts.

At first it would mainly attract day trippers. Then, some entrepreneurial people built houses and started renting them out to holiday makers.  The very rich would built their own homes. These were often very grand affairs. The grandest of them all was Frescati House, owned by the Duke of Leinster. It was their third house, as they would also own Carton House in Co. Kildare, their main seat where they would spend the summer) and a Town House in Dublin, where they would spend the winter, attending balls and other social occasions. The latter is now home the Irish Dial and Seanad (lower and upper chambers of parliament).  Frescati House was built in 1739 for the family of John Hely Hutchinson, the Provost of Trinity College, but was sold in the 1750’s to the aforementioned Duke of Leinster. Unfortunately it was demolished in the 1980’s, being in a very bad state. Although of a later date, the 1850 Newtown House gives an idea of the splendor of Blackrock’s residences:

Later in the 18th Century, “promenading” became very popular. This meant walking in a beautifully maintained area, for which an entry fee had to be paid. This way, only people of “status” would get access, and the rich would have a chance to see and be seen by the others of their class. One such promenading area was also built in Blackrock, with the name “Vauxhall Gardens”.  It was not a commercial success, and later became a private residence until in 1873 the Town Council (of which later more) purchased it and turned it into a park.  The park was bigger than the original Vauxhall Gardens: when a railway between Dublin and Dun Laoghaire was constructed (see below), in Blackrock, it sat on top of a man made embankment in the sea, thus creating a “lagoon” type area. This was soon used as the local rubbish dump. When the park was developed, the area has been almost completely filled and it was decided to grass it over and add it to the park. The park itself was a  Victorian affair complete with bandstand. Bands were then very popular, with most organisations (including large companies) having their own bands.

The railway (Dublin & Kingstown Railway) is also worth mentioning: it was the first railway in Ireland, constructed in 1834. In the world, only the Manchester to Liverpool railway is older (1830). The railway connected Dublin to Dun Loaghaire, which was then called Kingstown. There was only one stop in between: Blackrock. The Dublin station – orignally Westland Row, but now called Pearse Station – has been redeveloped in 1981. As the heart of Dun Loaghaire moved over time – as a result of the harbour – it too got a new station. That leaves the Blackrock station as the only original station. It is still in use today. It was designed by a local architect, Mulvaney, and you can see his trademark in it: the recessed doorway with the Ionic columns.

 

  

The railway did cause some problems though as it separated the town from the sea, and bathing was still popular. The railway company therefore provided footbridges and bathing areas (men and women separated, as bathing costumes did not exist yet). These were very basic affairs, just a platform and a wall that protected the bathers from wind and their modesty. See the picture below to the left. Towards the end of the 19th Century a private entrepreneur constructed new sea baths, which had changing areas, diving boards, etc. It was purchased in the 1920’s by the government for their “Celtic Games”, essentially a form of Olympic Games for the Celtic Nations. Seating for 1150 people was added. The baths closed in 1987, as a result of cutbacks necessitated by the economic crisis of that decade. In the picture below to the right you can see what is left of it.

The town was at this stage already booming, and no doubt the railway helped to sustain its growth. Due to a previous reorganization, Blackrock was no longer part of the City of Dublin but of County Dublin. Towns like Blackrock could ask the government to be officially incorporated as Town Councils, by petition. The citizens of Blackrock decided to do so in the 1860’s. This was mainly because people started to demand more of the government: they wanted paved streets and pavements, street lighting, fire stations, etc. It was the role of the Town Council to ensure Blackrock would get these amenities. And as we already saw, they added a Town Park in 1873. To house the administration a City Hall was built, which was extended when the Blackrock Council was made responsible for its rural hinterland (stretching all the way to Stillorgan) as well. In this period we also see the construction of the Catholic St. John the Baptist church (1842-1845) as well as continued building of residential houses, such as Idrone Terrace.

 

In the 1870’s Dublin is getting its first trams. These only covered small distances, as they were originally horse drawn. Most companies would operate only one line. To get from Dublin to Dun Laoghaire you need to take three different trams. In the picture below, you can see the sheds in which the original trams were kept (until recently the were in use as a car dealership, they are now vacant). The tram companies would be amalgamated in the 1890’s by William Murphy (of 1913 Lockout fame) in his Dublin United Tramways Company. He would also start a program of electrification. The tramway from Dublin via Blackrock to Dun Loaghaire and further to Dalkey was the first to to electric. It was also the last line to be closed down in 1949, when trams were replaced by buses.

Before that, in 1930, there was also an amalgamation of local councils. One victim of this was Blackrock, which became part of Dun Laoghaire. The local council is now – after several further reorganizations – called Dun Loaghaire County Council. The Blackrock City Hall has been turned into a Library.

Blackrock still has its own identify however, and although no longer a seaside resort, its Main Street with its many shops is still worth a visit.

We hope you enjoyed the story of Blackrock. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?

 

 

Cobh – Irish Emigration Port & Last Stop of the Titanic

 

Cobh, pronounced Cove and previously known as Queenstown, is near Cork in the South West of Ireland. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

First of all, it is a a very important port in the history of many Irish families. Of the 6 million Irish who left Ireland between 1848 and 1950, 2.5 million left from the port of Cobh. If you are doing your research, please note that Cobh was renamed Queenstown after the visit of Queen Victoria in 1849. It remained so until the early 1920s and the formation of the Irish Free State.

Titanic

The port is also famous as the last port of call for the ill-fate Titanic. The tenders “Ireland” and “America” brought 123 passengers to the ship from Cobh . Seven lucky passengers disembarked at Cobh including Jesuit priest Father Francis Browne and the Odell Family. Their photographs, taken aboard, are now world famous. Of the 123 passengers, 79 perished. There is a fantastic museum (there is an admission fee) in Cobh telling their story, located in the original departure building. We have included a link to their website below.

http://www.titanicexperiencecobh.ie/

Lusitania

Only a few years later, in 1915 1,198 people perished when the Lusitania was sunk off the Cork coast by a torpedo fired by a German U-boat. Only 289 bodies were recovered. 169 were buried in the Old Church Cemetery just outside the town in three mass graves while only 20 were buried in individual plots.

Cathedral

Dominating the town is the Roman Catholic Saint Colman’s Cathedral that is perched on the hillside. It is a magnificent neo-Gothic building that took 47 years to build, starting in 1868. For many Irish emigrants, it was the last bit of Ireland they would ever see. (Click on photo to see a larger picture).

We hope you enjoyed this. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?

 

Our visit to Patrick Pearse School – Pearse Museum

 

Edward Hudson, a State Dentist, built ‘The Hermitage’ in 1786. Over a century later, Patrick Pearse discovered the house while on a historical pilgrimage of sites associated with Robert Emmet. Set in nearly fifty acres of beautiful parkland, Pearse moved his innovative school into it in 1910. His family gave it later to the Irish state, who turned it into a museum, telling the story of Patrick Pearse. The Office of Public Works operates and manages Pearse Museum and St Enda’s Park.

Have a look at our video giving an impression of the museum. Below the video is some information on the life of Patrick Pearse.

PATRICK PEARSE

Patrick Pearse was born at 27 Great Brunswick Street in Dublin, the street that is named after him today. His father, James Pearse, established a stonemasonry business here in the 1850’s. The business provided the Pearses with a comfortable middle-class life.

In 1900, Pearse received a B.A. in Modern Languages (Irish, English and French). He immediately enrolled in the King’s Inns and was called to the bar in 1901.

Before then, in 1896, only 16 years old, he had joined the Gaelic League. Subsequently, in 1903 Pearse became editor of its newspaper. He wanted to help save the Irish language. To do this, he wanted to establish a sympathetic education system. Therefore, to set an example, Pearse started his own bilingual school, Saint Enda (Scoil Éanna). Teaching was in both English and Irish. In 1908 it opened in Cullenswood House in Ranalagh. Two years later Saint Enda’s School moved to The Hermitage, now home to the Pearse Museum.

Patrick Pearse involved himself in Irish politics. He joined the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He gave a graveside oration on 1 August 1915 at the funeral of the Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. This oration made Patrick Pearse famous.

Pearse, on behalf of the IRB, gave the signal for the uprising in 1916.

As a result, Pearse and fourteen other leaders, including his brother Willie, were court-martialled.  A firing squad executed Patrick Pearse on the morning of 3 May 1916.

During his short live, Patrick Pearse was also a prolific writer.

We hope you enjoyed our video and story. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?

 

We visited Tara’s Palace – Doll House Museum at Powerscourt

 

Click on the photo for a bigger picture or scroll down for the text. 

We visited the magical miniature world of Tara’s Palace Childhood Museum at Powerscourt House, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. The Museum is home to Ireland’s Largest Period Doll House, Tara’s Palace. Each of the 24 rooms in Tara’s Palace is 1:12 in scale. They are furnished with miniature masterpieces, hand painted ceilings and hand crafted wooden and marble floors. We brought a 3 year old boy and 8 year old  girl who both adored it.

With Tara’s Palace as the centrepiece, the Museum also contains hundreds of fascinating exhibits, including the amazing 17th century house in a bottle, the smallest doll in the world, and a 300 year old doll’s house. There is a Museum Quiz, which is popular with all visitors and an interactive room for our younger visitors. Tara’s Palace at Powerscourt runs events, family activities, school and group tours and children’s birthday parties throughout the year.

The Tara’s Palace Trust runs the museum to support Irish children’s charities and to entertain and delight generations of children and adults alike. Each year the Trust donates any profits made by the museum to deserving Irish children’s charities

For the official site, follow this link: http://childhoodmuseum.org/

We hope you enjoyed this. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?

 

We saw Snowdrops at Historic Altamont Gardens

 

My Great Aunt called snowdrops ‘fair maidens of February’.

If you love snowdrops and are in Ireland in February you should visit Altamont Gardens?, Carlow. The tour by the gardener is highly recommended.

“Every visitor says it has a special atmosphere, that’s why so many people come back. Every element you want from a great garden is here, from lovely lawns, floral beds and beautiful woodland going down to the river, to a walled garden and really superb collections, such as the snowdrops, rhododendrons and the fabulous oaks in the arboretum” Paul Cutler, head gardener at Altamont Gardens.

If you can’t make it this year, check out this short video we made of our visit.  The video is an example of a presentation we at www.genealogy.ie can make of sites of historical importance to your ancestors.

Find out more about the gardens here: http://carlowtourism.com/altamont-gardens/

If you have enjoyed the garden and its story, why not have a look at the rest of our website?

 

 
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