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.
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.
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.
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).
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Genealogy.ie believes that your family story is not just about names and dates of people in your family tree. We think it is also about the places where they lived and worked, the houses they lived in. This is why, when we search Irish ancestry for our clients, we also offer Irish local history research and investigation. In most cases our research is into the history of a house or farm. But it can also be a village or even an event. Depending on records available this gives you a picture of how your ancestors would have lived. And thus add colour to your Irish family history.
Take Marlay House. Up to quite recently it was a large demesne (mansion house which was also a working farm, albeit a large one). Watch our short presentation:
Marlay as a land holding traces its origins back to the Anglo-Norman times. The Fleming family were the first owners, followed by by the Cistercian religious order. Religious orders were the biggest landowners at the time. King Henry VIII abolished them and resold the lands he took. The new owner was called Taylor.
He build the older farmhouse, a large part of it still in existence (courtyard). It was then bought by a series of families who used the property as their ‘out of town’ refuge. Living in the growing city of Dublin was unhealthy. Therefore rich families bought farms and lands and constructed mansion houses in the immediate environs of the city. The area around Marlay was very popular as it was at the foot of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. This not only had fresher air but also offered stunning views. The first of these families built Marlay House.
This was actually the name of the wife of the owner, a bishop’s daughter. His own name was LaTouche. His family were Huguenots who had fled France. They started as weavers but became a wealthy banking family. After a few different families had owned the property, the last of them, the Tedcastle family, sold it to the local council who has turned the gardens into a great public park and is in the process of restoring the house. This spring free tours are available to see the inside of the ground floor of the house.
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Click on the photo for a larger picture or scroll down for the text.
Martello towers are small defensive round towers that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century. They were named after the “Torra di Mortella”, which in 1794 kept an entire British fleet at bay for two days. It was captured in the end, and the British marveled at the fact that this small fort with only a few men had resisted for so long. So they decided to copy it.
In Dublin they were built after the French Revolution, to ward off a potential invasion. Most towers have 2 floors and are approximately 40 feet/12 meters high. They would be guarded by a small garrison of about 20 men, commanded by 1 officer. The officer would be responsible for the health and well being of the men. He would normally reside downstairs, where he could keep an eye on the stocks and weapons.
Because the towers were round, and were constructed of very thick walls of solid masonry, they could withstand cannon fire. At the same time, their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece. This cannon could be found on the flat roof. It could be turned and thus cover a large area. By building a string of these towers, with overlapping ranges, they covered the entire Dublin coast.
In Dublin they never fired a shot in anger and they became obsolete towards the end of the 19th Century. Quite a few have survived to this day, like the one in Seapoint, pictures of which you can see on the page. We visited this tower as part of the Summer Heritage program of the Dun Laoghaire County Council.
For a YouTube video impression of the Seapoint tower, click on the link (opens in a new window).
Another tower is open all year, as it is now a museum dedicated to James Joyce. Admission is free. Follow this link for more information
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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 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.
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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/
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Dun Laoghaire is now a suburb of Dublin and is conveniently located on the “DART” train service from Dublin city center. It’s an attractive village that thanks its existence to the harbour. The walk over the East Pier offers great views and a chance to stretch the legs.
We participated in the historic Harbour Walk, organised as part of the Summer Heritage program of Dun Laoghaire County Council and guided by local historian Rob Goodbody. Below are a few photos of what remains of the old harbour (it is now a Marina). Click on the photo for a larger picture and info. Below the photos, we have included a few links to the story of the harbour’s history.
Please follow the links below to learn about Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s history:
We hope you enjoyed our photos and the historic information.
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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/
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