Saturday, January 17, 2009
"My key to Ireland"
Kealy Family Home in Ballyfoyle, Kilkenny
As the only address I had for my father's distant cousins was Ballyfoyle, Kilkenny, Ireland I did not know where to find them when we arrived in the tiny village one wintry January day. Before leaving Australia we had done our homework and, from a Baptismal certificate we had for my great-grandmother, we knew that she had been baptised in Ballyfoyle.
After visiting the churches and cemeteries at Ballyfoyle and Muckalee in search of graves and being made most welcome by the priest at Muckalee who let us transcribe Kealy family details from the Church Registers we decided to try and find the cousins.
As dusk was approaching we called at the tiny Post Office where the clerk gave us directions to the cousins house. I was apprehensive about cold calling but my husband insisted that, as we had travelled from Australia, we should knock. We were given a royal welcome, plied with whisky and offered a bed for the night which we had to decline. Visiting the elderly cousins, who were thrilled to have dropins from Australia, gave us valuable information about our ancestors and an opportunity to sit at a table made by my great-great-grandfather.
Sitting in a room of the house that members of my family had used for over 200 years made me feel so connected to my heritage. It was an awesome experience.
This post has been submitted to Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture : My key to Ireland.