Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Emerald Isle, Part 2: Scenery Around the Dingle Peninsula

We took a car ride around the peninsula, the same "tour" we had taken with our dear Padraig Lynch in 1990. Coumenoole will always be a stunning place. It is featured in the movie "Ryan's Daughter."

Coumenoole, at the southwest tip of the Dingle Peninsula


Slea Head near Coomenoole

Teeravane, north of Coomenoole; the domicile of the Ferriter family 

C and I took a boat out to Great Blasket Island, then hiked the 3-mile perimeter trail. The island was evacuated in 1952 as the government could not provide services to the small population left there. During winter storms the island could be cut off from the mainland for months at a time, even though Dunquin is only three miles across the water. The purest Irish in Ireland was spoken here. Well-loved Irish storytellers and authors, Peig Sayers and Maurice OSullivan lived much of their lives on Great Blasket. OSullivan's book, Twenty Years a-Growin' is one of my favorite books.

Great Blasket Island herd

abandoned village on Great Blasket

the village from above

beach on north end of Great Blasket

Atlantic view to the southwest from Great Blasket

our Dingle to Blasket boat is anchored at the right and the rubber raft delivered us to the landing 

boarding the raft to get back to the boat that returned us to Dingle

ocean cave on the Dingle Peninsula; even the Atlantic Ocean is green-ish on the coast of Ireland

sedum finds root in an ancient stone wall

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Emerald Isle: Part 1, Dingle and Environs

Main Street and John Street in Dingle
We had not seen this level of prosperity before

We spent a week on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry this summer. How much it has changed since our last visit 28 years ago (and our first visit 42 years ago)! What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a vibrant, energetic, colorful tourist spot. Huge tour busses wind down stingy narrow roads, hardly more than lanes meant for hay wagons. New homes and even whole new neighborhoods have popped up, buildings are freshly plastered and painted attractive colors, and businesses are thriving.

corner of Spa Road and Main and John Streets

My family names pop up on businesses all over town--Garvey, O'Sullivan, Murphy, Ashe, Shea, Sheehan, Brosnahan, Griffin, Kennedy, O'Connor, Baker, and so on. Not surprising, because nearly half of my ancestry comes from this area. Other loosely related names on signboards are Long, Moriarty, Walsh, Cronin, Curran, and even Walker.

 two more pictures of downtown Dingle

traffic jam on the Dingle Peninsula!

lighthouse at the entrance of Dingle Harbor

 you can still find timeworn tradition in Dingle

this centuries old bridge has a name which I now forget; one of my favorite things in the Dingle area

my third cousins; left to right, A, me, T, E; their brother J died suddenly two weeks before our arrival

 Gallarus Oratory hasn't changed in 1100 years

famine cottage a few miles west of Dingle, once owned by some Cavanaughs; my great-great grandmother was Catherine Cavanaugh from this area, but I don't know where her home was

we were accompanied by our long-time friends, B & C; we hiked up to this overlook near Dunquin 

C and B did a 75-mile bicycle ride around part of the Dingle Peninsula, including Connor Pass

we hiked up this headland (Bulls Head) above my ancestors' domicile of Kinard East; it became a tough trail, as it petered out into a mountainside of gorse, a pretty plant that deceives you with its buttery flowers--its true purpose is to afflict and torment man--and woman--with wicked inch-long sharp pokey stickers that embed themselves into clothes, shoes and socks

Bulls Head has amazing views!

Gorse, gorse and more gorse

Minard Castle east of Dingle; my 3rd great-grandmother (Nellie Wren) was born on the mountain above the castle; you used to be able to go into the castle at the peril of your life, but no more

Kilmalkedar Church, one of my favorite places anywhere, so ancient, so exquisitely built

detail of Kilmalkedar Church

Kilmalkedar Cemetery

Coming soon: Part 2, Scenery of the Dingle Peninsula

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Old Doyle Family Photos

While in County Kerry, Ireland this past summer, several times I met up with a family of third cousins on the Doyle line to talk about our common ancestors. They brought me sacks of photographs to peruse, and C photographed them for me. This blog post is for all of my Doyle cousins to enjoy. I have identified people known to me, and if any of you Doyles can add to the names-dates-places or provide context, please email me at

The pics are not in any sensible order. It is best that I get them up now rather than take the time to make this an organized post. I have more photos than shown here and will add them over time.

If any of you have Doyle-related photographs to add, send as .jpg to the email above! And feel free to invite others to view these.

EK Sullivan, S Sullivan, JF Sullivan Jr., Holyoke Massachusetts c. 1942

the woman in the middle right looks like Molly Brosnahan, and the woman front right may be Katie Brosnahan Griffin

L to R back: Tom Doyle, Francis Ashe, Anna Brosnahan, John Murphy, Molly Brosnahan; children: John F. Sullivan Jr., John Doyle (Tom's boy), Katherine Nelligan, Holyoke c. 1908

 Larry Griffin and Katie Brosnahan Griffin; baby is probably Mary Alice Griffin c. 1929

 Frances Ashe Leahey, Henry M. Leahey, child could be daughter Dorothy c. 1919

Katie Brosnahan Griffin with children Mary and Tommy, South Hadley Massachusetts c. 1931

Larry Griffin with Agnes Nelligan??? on his wedding day, Holyoke Massachusetts 1927

baby Mary Alice Griffin w/ mother Katie Brosnahan Griffin, South Hadley Massachusetts c. 1930

unknown baby and man, John F. Sullivan Jr., Holyoke Massachusetts

Jim and Frances Ashe, Holyoke Massachusetts c. 1908; Jim is my grandfather; these children were orphans being raised by their grandmother, Mama Doyle, and a tribe of relatives

John F. Sullivan Sr.?, Holyoke Massachusetts c. 1920