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Published: July 27th 2016
Friday and our first full day in Ireland and the day has started out with a little drizzle but a promise of a clearing sky away to the south. We don’t expect temperatures will reach any great heights while we are here and we have put the summer clothes back to the bottom of the suitcase again. Ireland doesn’t have a great reputation for a lot of warm sunny days in a row. Rather you take whatever sunshine you can get when it appears and enjoy it.
Our host Kathleen called in to make sure we had settled in OK and that the heating had worked.
When we arrived last night she showed us how the oil fired aga or heat storage oven worked on the thermostat and timer that was set up. It also heated the water as well as the panel heaters in the rooms.
We were having breakfast and hadn’t quite got to the toast and coffee when she arrived. She was full of ideas as to how we might trace Maria Dillon, my great grandmother who had arrived in NZ and married Daniel Mahoney but I have never been able to trace the ship she arrived on and cannot decipher the town she was born in from her marriage certificate.
An hour and a half later Kathleen left and we had our toast and coffee.
It was so close to lunchtime we didn’t need anything else to eat before we headed off to nearby Tralee, the town in Southwest Ireland made famous for the Rose of Tralee competition.
It was just a short drive of 20kms and the plan was for us first to locate the Information Centre to get directions to the Kerry County Library which has a historical centre with some very good resources. Gretchen was then going to head off to find somewhere to have her haircut and leave me researching.
All this fell into place easily enough and after a stroll through the lovely rose gardens we found the library and Gretchen walked the short distance into the town.
I had some luck in possibly turning up information on Maria’s father (my great, great grandfather) in the Griffiths Valuation which was like a census of landowners and tenants working the land in the mid 1800’s.
Maria’s marriage certificate records her as being born in the county of Clare and that was where I located a Thomas Dillon whose landlord was a man named O’Brien which also happened to be the maiden name of Thomas’ wife. Could it be that they were tenants of her father?
The marriage certificate ‘place of birth’ says ‘Lock -----‘(the rest no one has been able to decipher) As the certificate was taken down in handwriting and she would have spoken the place of birth to the registrar who may not have known that a lake in Ireland is known as a ‘Lough’ but pronounced and probably heard in Kiwi English as ‘Lock’.
There are several Lough’s near the place of the Dillon tenanted farm.
However it was there that the trail went cold and it looks like we will have to make a trip to Limerick where the Clare County Library is situated and also has very good historical resources so we can further the research.
Gretchen came back neatly trimmed as I was finishing up what I had been researching so we packed up and returned to the Information Centre to use some free wifi time. Not having the internet at the cottage has been a bit of a handicap and we are really appreciating how reliant we have been on being in touch with the world via that medium. Gone are the days we used to travel and not expect to know what was happening in the news, be able to check the Bank account balances, communicate with friends and family and of course Skype calls to our immediate family.
With almost everything done we had planned we had just one more thing to do on the way back to Castle Island and that was to do some grocery shopping at Tesco’s which we found in a commercial centre on the outskirts of town.
We owed ourselves a meal out and after some relaxation time back at the cottage we headed out for dinner. Earlier this time at 6.30pm after finding that 8.30pm last night when we arrived was too late for the pub we had tried to get at meal at.
One of the local bars which also advertised that they did meals were supposed to have Irish music on a Friday night.However,when we arrived at the bar in the Main Street of Castle Island it was closed and there was no sign of life and it opening. To add to that the music wasn’t due to start until 10pm.Now that is past our bedtime. Even if the pub had been open and we had our meal we would either be rolling drunk on the Guinness we would have drunk between now and 10pm or we would have been holding onto our Guinness and the beer would have been very warm going down!
So we decided to head back out on the road to Tralee to the bar we were too late for dinner last night. It had that country feel about it and although there would be no Irish music we were sure the food would be great.
Driving towards the car park we wondered though whether there would be room for us in the restaurant as the car park was absolutely full of vintage cars, the drivers and passengers of which we discovered were using the parking area as a final meeting place at the end of a rally.
Those involved weren’t staying on for dinner and there were just a half dozen other people eating.
From the varied menu Gretchen had the traditional fish and chips with a salad while I had a ‘Samo’ (Irish for sandwich? Although it was a bit more than that) which was a piece of juicy, tender steak between foccacia bread with chips and a salad. We kept ourselves to a pint of Guinness each and were well and truly satisfied with our dinner by the time we had finished.
It had been a partially successful day on the research front and I had something more from the Griffiths Valuation that might lead to the finding of Maria.
The weekend we think might just be the time for a bit of rest and relaxation and enjoy the countryside around the farm cottage.
PS:enjoy the most famous song about the rose town of Tralee on Youtube as usual
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