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Our 2016 activities are well under way. In the meantime, membership renewal notices have been sent and we look forward to hearing from you with your ideas and suggestions. We have a great hard-working team but your input is always necessary and very much appreciated.

Shanachie editor Neil Hogan gave a talk recently at Quinnipiac University's Hunger Museum on a book in which he and the Connecticut Irish American Historical Society published in 1998, 'The Cry of the Famishing', a topic well known to most Irish men and women on the potato famine in Ireland during 1845 thru 1852. A must read for those who may not be fully aware of that period known as 'Black '47. Copies of 'The Cry of the Famishing' and a more recent book published by the historical society, 'Connecticut's Irish in the Civil War'
 are available by contacting Mary McMahon at 203-795-6309.

Neil Hogan

Neil Hogan

A special gongratulations to Shanachie editor Neil Hogan and the Connecticut Irish American Historical Society who have recently completed a book on 'Connecticut's Irish in the Civil War'. The details follow-:

Neil Hogan's Book on the Civil War

Editor Neil and CTIAHS President George Waldron

Neil Hogan's Book on the Civil War

A book signing for Neil's publication(above) was held on August 22, 2015

Neil Hogan's Book Signing

Neil Hogan's Book on the Civil War

Neil Hogan, George Waldron & Jim McCabe discuss plans

Neil, George & Jim

Below is the Front Page of our latest Shanachie Newsletter. Our members receive the full eight pages quarterly. If you would like to join, simply select the 'Membership' tab, fill out an application and send it to us. Thank you.
A note of interest - All of our Shanachie publications are now available for viewing on Sacred Heart University's web site. Simply go to our 'Links' page, click on 'Sacred Heart University'(under 'Genealogy')and type 'shanachie' in the search box. And there you have them.

Shanachie January 2016

(The following article appeared in the May 13, 2013 edition of the New Haven Register. Permission has been granted by its author, Mr Jim Shelton, to reprint it on this web site.)

NH Register Headline
NH Register photo
NH Register article

Cemetery Book
(Following is the front cover of the book)
Frnt Cover of Cemetery Book

Irish TV New York Office
Irish TV New York Office

Cover of Smithsonian dedicated to Mary Waldron by Tim O'Brien on Titanic posted:April 28, 2012

Cover of Smithsonian dedicated to Mary Waldron by Tim O'Brien on Titanic
Cover of Smithsonian dedicated to Mary Waldron by Tim O'Brien on Titanic

This is the 100th year anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. As we think about this date and the mythology of the loss of this massive ship on it's maiden voyage, Smithsonian Magazine asked me to illustrate the Titanic and how it stays vivid in our minds and imagination. It's an historical anomaly that makes a sure thing seem less so, that nothing is assured and that nature wins out in the end. My family has a connection to the Titanic that I heard of only fleetingly years ago and was recently clarified by my cousin George Waldron, the son of my grandmother's older sister, Mary. My great grandmother was Ellen Moran, whose husband Patrick had died and left Mary and her alone on the farm in Ireland. My great grandmother was expecting. My great grandmother had a sister, Delia, who lived in Massachusetts and after hearing that my great grandmother was pregnant, came back to Ireland to help her. One day Delia came home to excitedly announce that she could book passage back to the US on the maiden voyage of the Titanic but my great grandmother was crushed and pleaded for Delia to stay in Ireland and not go back to the States. She changed her plans and stayed. My Grandmother was born June 10th, 1912 and the Titanic sank in April of 2012. Delia from Massachusetts always said that my grandmother saved her life. In recognition of Delia, my grandmother was also named Delia. The wonderful AD at Smithsonian asked me to capture the way this ship is so considered and discussed 100 years later. To do this I worked on an old idea of mine, ships escaping a frame. The one thing that made this cover 'trompe l'oeil' difficult was trying to also do a lighter cover. To convey depth and highlights, darkness works best. Still, I was able to shift values where needed to pull of this trick. I'm happy with the cover and that it's all a trompe, something I studied in college. This is the kind of thing I always hoped to do when I was a wee lad. I dedicate this piece to my Aunt Mary, who is lives in Hamden Connecticut at the age of 102. She is our bright shining hope of a long life and is sharp as a tack, and clear as a bell.

The following images represent copies of a newsletter by Prior Dom Mark Daniel Kirby. Who is Fr. Mark? He is the son of Emma and Dan Kirby, formerly of Grafton Street, New Haven who now reside in Hamden, Ct. The text and photos explain briefly Fr. Mark's present assignment, which is to set up a monastery known as 'Our Lady of the Ceneacle' in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. Fr. Mark welcomed this assignment joyfully realizing how difficult it may be to generate the operating revenue and renovate the current structure for the task at hand. He knows that through prayer and the strength of his faith, it will happen. These pages are a 'must read'. The last page of the newsletter has a blog for contributions which may be paid online or also by mail, should you wish to do so. We would also urge you to visit the monastery's web site at www.cenacleosb.org or simply send Fr. Mark an email at [email protected]. He would love to hear from you.

(A footnote - Please click on each thumbnail in consecutive order as the last paragraph on some of the pages continue to the next numbered page).

Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #2  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #3  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #1  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #12  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #13

Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #4  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #5  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #6  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #7

Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #8  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #9  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #10  Our Lady of the Cenacle Pic #11 

The Hull Brewing Company became a popular landmark in New Haven

from its founding in 1872 until its doors closed in 1977. Located on Congress Avenue, Hulls employed many Irish young men who played a part in creating the famous brew which became widely known as "Hull's Export". The company also brewed ale and the seasonal Bock beer. Company president, Edward H. McGann, himself hailed from Mohill, County Leitrim, worked tirelessly to produce one of the greatest-tasting beers ever brewed anywhere. Others who were Irish born that  joined the company were Richie Cahill(Kilkenny), Larry & Pat McKenna and their uncle Larry Sr.( Kerry), Mike Gardner and Pete Neville(both from Clare), Miles Flynn(Leitrim), Joe Houlihan(Limerick), also Tommy Cunningham and Tom Fenton  just to name a few. (The following was reproduced from an original New Haven Register brochure which was circulated in 1972 on the company's 100th anniversary. In a letter to his employees, Mr. McGann expresses his thanks to them for being a part of its success.
Please note - The brochure from which these clips were made is almost 40 years old and was found in a stack of older papers.)

Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #12  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #01  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #02  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #06

Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #03  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #04  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #05 

Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #07  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #08  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #09  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #10  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #11

Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #13  Hulls Brewing Co. Pic #14 

On October 2, 2011 a park bench was dedicated to our late treasurer Tom Slater . The bench is located on the Farmington Canal trail adjacent to Cascade's facility on Sherman Avenue, Hamden, CT. Images follow.

Tom Slater

Tom Slater

--------Tell us an Irish story---------

Some historical societies and organizations have begun to assemble collections of their members’ favorite memories. CTIAHS is joining in this effort by asking you to share (and thereby save) stories that have an Irish connection.
Here’s the deal : we are asking folks to send us an anecdote or a recollection of something or someone Irish in their lives. Tell us about a favorite Irish relative, or a memorable family event, or something funny or meaningful that happened when you visited Ireland. There are no rules, no word length limits and it is not a contest. Just people who want to share memories with each other. Here are some of the stories we have received so far. We have tried to transcribe them exactly as submitted and apologize to the authors if errors have inadvertently occurred. Most recent stories will appear first.
Enjoy these warm and wonderful stories. You will probably identify with many of the experiences and sentiments expressed so we hope they will inspire you to send your story (or even more than one) to us today! Please submit them to the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society, P.O. Box 185833, Hamden, CT 06518.

Now, Let’s Share Some Memories …

The following stories were posted in 2009

Submitted by member, Shanachie Editor, Neil Hogan

My great-grandparents, Michael and Margaret Gavin Hogan, came to Lima, N.Y., from Monsea in Tipperary at the time of the Famine. Michael came first and was able to earn enough as a farmhand to send for Margaret and their two sons, Ned and Daniel.
A year after they were reunited, my grandfather, Cornelius Hogan, was born. A husky and athletic farm boy, Con earned a reputation as a skillful wrestler at the Livingston County fairs. He married Anna O'Dea and they had three boys. When Anna was pregnant with their fourth child in the winter of 1896-97, Con caught pneumonia, and died six months before my Dad, Edward Hogan, was born.
Because of his premature death at the age of 40, not much about Con was passed down to me. But my Dad did tell me one story that really made me fond of my grandfather.
It seems that Father Fitzsimmons, the tough old pastor at St. Rose Church in Lima, made a financial appeal for some special cause from the pulpit one Sunday. He said he would not accept anything less than 50 cents. When Mass was over Con Hogan sheepishly told the priest he did not have 50 cents but could afford to give 25 cents. Father Fitzsimmons dismissed that offer out of hand.
The collection apparently did not go well for after Mass the very next Sunday, Father Fitzsimmons approached Con and said he had changed his mind and would take the 25 cents. Con replied that he no longer had the 25 cents. He said he had used it that week to purchase a new set of underwear to replace a set that was all worn out.


The following stories were posted in 2008

A Shining Legacy

A 100-year-old stained glass window of St. Patrick that overlooks the altar at St. Joseph Church, Danbury, Connecticut, served for decades as a visual sentinel for the many Irish in the community. Now, the patron saint of Ireland and his Irish green robes glisten in the afternoon sun for immigrants from many countries who attend the local church today. The Ancient Order of Hibernians donated the window in 1905 for the new church that was then being built on Main Street. The window and others like it around the country serve as a public legacy for what began as a secret organization with roots in Ireland.
The AOH is the link to Irish groups that first formed in secret as early as 1565 to defend Gaelic values and the Catholic religion and Irish clergy threatened first by the Protestant Reformation and then the British penal code.
Beginning in the 1870s through the 1920s, the AOH donated hundreds of stained glass windows to country churches and at least 10 cathedrals across the country. As of this month, 311 Hibernian windows have been found in 37 states, in Ireland and in Canada.
"It's a labor of love, otherwise this will be lost. The immigrants didn't leave written records so a lot of what they did is lost," said Phil Gallagher, of Bethel, a retired history teacher and the AOH's state archivist. "This helps to gain recognition for what they did before. The windows will be here as long as the church is." Massachusetts leads all states with 56 Hibernian windows in 41 parishes.
The windows are circular, oval, square, oblong and rectangular and are placed throughout the churches, from above altars and doorways to confessionals and choir lofts and rectories.
The AOH in America was organized in New York City in 1836 with a motto of "Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity."
The early AOH in America was described as a defensive, yet secret, society. They didn't keep records, so little is known of their specific activities, though the society did assist Irish immigrants in obtaining jobs and social services. Membership was well-guarded and restricted to the Irish-born but it later expanded to invite all Catholic men and women of Irish descent. A group was started in Danbury in 1873 and died out. The John A. Gildea Division 3 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Danbury was organized in 1959 and will open an Irish Cultural Center in Danbury later this year.
St. Joseph Church was built in 1905 under the eye of its first pastor, The Rev. John Kennedy. Kennedy had been a curator at St. Peter Church in Danbury for 10 years and principal of the parish school. He moved to New Haven for nearly five years before returning to Danbury to raise the money for the new church.
"A lot of people who donated were Irish domestics and Irish immigrant men who worked on railroads and in the hat factories," Gallagher said.
Kennedy was a member of the AOH national executive board and state and then national chaplain of the organization. His recurring theme was to urge his Hibernian brothers to continue their love of Ireland and respect and be loyal to the United States, as he did in a sermon for a national AOH convention in 1908.
"We yield to none in the intensity of our love and devotion to our country. This has ever been the attitude and feeling of the Irishman in America, thus preserving the love all true men feel for the land of their birth or the home of their fathers, while proudly and loyally marching along the path of American citizenship, true sons of an honored mother­ -- ­dear old Erin," he said.
Another of the stained glass windows at St. Joseph Church was donated by The Robert Emmet Club of the Clan Na Gael. That group was founded in the early 1870s to promote the cause of a free Ireland. The discovery of the AOH stained glass windows in the past decade was a surprising find for organization leaders.
"It's a shock to most people that we've gone from the eight we heard about from a person seven years ago to 311 now," said Michael Cummings, national archivist for the AOH. "I'm certain that with our amateur effort to identity the windows, that there must be another 100 out there."
Documenting the windows is important because they are often in churches in older sections of cities and in buildings being torn down or no longer used for worship. He described a note from a parishioner in Iowa who thanked the order because "all of us in the parish have looked at this beautiful window of St. Patrick and been inspired," Cummings said. It is inspirational, he said, to see the windows in these sacred spaces. He said the AOH served an important role from the 1870s to the 1920s, when they donated the windows.
"It was a unique period for Catholics building churches. There was a great need to be filled," he said.
But beginning in the 1950s, the AOH wasn't needed in the same way by new Irish immigrants, because they were often educated and had money when they arrived, he said.
The AOH now provides a showcase for the contributions the Irish have made and a welcome for new immigrants, its Web site says. It's a home away from home for many who continue lobbying, praying, and working for the total independence of a united 32-county Ireland, as their constitution avows, "by all means constitutional and lawful."
Sean Hearty, president of the men's group of the Danbury AOH, said that when he was growing up the expectation was when you turned 18, you join the AOH. "The legacy is really important," he said. "It helps us retain our heritage as Irish Americans."


This story by Staff Reporter Eileen Fitzgerald, recently appeared in the Danbury, Ct. publication of

When you visit the beautiful city of New Orleans, be sure to visit the old business part of the city, where a statue of a woman overlooks a little square. The woman sits in a chair, with her arms around a child. The woman is not young and pretty and she wears a plain dress with a little shawl. She is pudgy and her face is a square-chinned Irish face; but her eyes look at you like your mother's. It is one of the first statues ever erected in this country to honor a woman, for this was a woman unlike any other.
She was born Margaret Gaffney in County Cavan, Ireland. Her family emigrated to Baltimore in 1818, but died four years later leaving young Margaret an orphan at age nine. Left on her own, she never acquired an education and a non-related family gave her a job as household help. In 1835, she married Irish-born Charles Haughery and they moved to New Orleans where she lost both her husband and a newborn baby to a cholera epidemic. Margaret was again alone and penniless.
She found work as a laundress in an Orphan Asylum and became very attached to the children. She devoted her spare time to raising funds for them. She bought two cows and a delivery cart and sold milk door to door in the early mornings before work, giving her profits to the orphanage. Soon she was assigned to manage the orphanage’s herd of 40 cows which provided milk for the children. She sold surplus milk and raised yet more funds. On returning from her rounds, she begged left-over food from hotels and rich houses, and brought it back in her cart to the children. She was so successful that the nuns were able to open several other facilities and Margaret was given a position in the administration of the orphanages. The Female Orphan Asylum of the Sisters of Charity, built in 1840, was largely due to her work.
A yellow fever epidemic in 1853 found her going from house to house, nursing victims and consoling dying mothers with the promise to look after their little ones. The epidemic left thousands of children homeless, and Margaret channeled all her profits into a new endeavor – the St Vincent de Paul Infant Asylum, which opened in 1862. At one point, she loaned money to a baker, who soon went bankrupt. The only way she could recover her money was to take control of the bakery and operate it. She made the bakery a success, and it provided her with a small fortune and jobs for many people. She supplied all the asylums in New Orleans with bread at such a low price that it was virtually free.
When Union General Butler occupied New Orleans during the American Civil War, he declared martial law, erected barriers and set curfews. No one was allowed past the barriers or outside after curfew. Margaret distributed food and milk to the needy outside those lines, and she continued to do so. General Butler ordered her before him and admonished her to stay behind the lines, telling her she would be shot if she crossed them again. She said she would write to President Lincoln and ask if it was his will to starve the poor? General Butler reportedly stormed You are not to go through the picket lines without my permission, is that clear? Quite clear, answered Margaret defiantly, to which Butler, noting her expression, responded, You have my permission.
In time, everyone in the city came to know of Margaret, mother to the motherless and friend to the friendless. Children all over the city loved her, business men were proud of her and many came to her for advice. She would sit at the open door of the orphanage, in a calico gown and a little shawl, and give a good word to everybody, rich or poor, who came by. Then, at age 69, she contracted an incurable disease. She was cared for by her friends, the Sisters of Charity, as people of all classes and denominations visited her. Margaret Gaffney Haughery died on February 9, 1882. Her body was laid in state at St. Vincent's Asylum and throngs queued to pay their respects. The city newspapers were edged in black to mark her passing, her funeral procession was the largest ever seen, with the mayor of New Orleans leading the procession and the Louisiana governor and former governor acting as pallbearers.
In 1884, the city of New Orleans erected a marble statue to the memory of this remarkable Irish woman and it’s base is simply engraved Margaret. The little park in which it was erected was named Margaret Place. When her will was read, it surprised many to learn that she had amassed a considerable sum of money through her labors and investments. It was no surprise however, that she left it all to the various orphanages throughout the city. And her will was signed with an X, for she never did learn to read or write!

Submitted by member Sara J. (Sally) Keyes My Great-Grandfather, David Gilmartin

      Standing-Charles Gilmartin                   Hyacinth Grieco & David Gilmartin
            Sarah Gilmartin Grieco & David Gilmartin
S. Keyes Story #1S.Keyes Story #2

I never knew my great-grandfather, except through little bits and pieces as told by my mother, Mary Gilmartin Keyes. She was especially close to him as a young girl. Her mother died when my mother was eight years old, and her father apparently was unable to cope with raising three children alone. He left the two girls in the care of his sister, my mother’s Aunt Sallie, and took the one boy, Richard, with him out of state in search of work.
David J. Gilmartin was born in the environs of Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland in 1836. The date has been arrived at by various backtracking of information, but most notably by an entry in the East Hampton, L.I. Library New York State Census record of 1865, when David was listed as 29 years of age. His cemetery stone in St. Lawrence Cemetery, West Haven, CT shows dates of 1840-1924, so perhaps his daughter, above mentioned Aunt Sallie, was mistaken or unable to get the exact date from him. At any rate, David came into New York through Castle Garden on Nov. 6, 1854 on the ship Thornton at age 18 and listed as a laborer. At some point in the next few years he married Mary McCann, an Irish immigrant from County Armagh. My mother often quoted him as saying “Ah sure, nothing good ever came from the North of Ireland”. I’m sure it was said with tongue in cheek and a twinkle in his eye. They had eight children, the youngest of whom, Charles, was my grandfather.
David worked for a time on a farm in Montauk, Long Island. His only day off was Sunday, and without other means of transportation, he would leave very early in the morning to walk a number of miles to get to Mass. Of course, it was the only way back as well. This is one example of David’s disciplined devotion to his religion. Back in Ireland, he had an older brother who was a Franciscan Brother named Br. Sylvester (1813-1889). Br. Sylvester was the manager of the Errew Monastery’s funds and during An Gorta Mor disbursed much of the monks’ food money to the many hungry people who begged at the monastery doors. Also, his brother Michael had a son, Thomas (1861-1939), who became the Archbishop of Tuam, County Galway. The latter was instrumental in the Apparition of Our Lady at Knock being recognized by the Church following his Commission into the last witnesses’ reports. David J. Gilmartin was generous with donations on his part, as well as helping Irish priests who visited the U.S. in search of contributions for the Church in Ireland. There are in our family letters from a religious sister, friend of family in Ireland, thanking David for all his many benefits to them. His example certainly extended to his grand-daughter, as she too was always very aware of our obligation to support the Church and those in need. My mother also related to us that her grandfather, after a long day’s work, used to go door-to-door in the Fair Haven neighborhood begging quarters to help build St. Francis School on Ferry Street in New Haven. The school opened its doors in 1881 and stands to this day.
My mother used to relate that after her grandfather was married and living in New York City he followed the sea for a time. He worked on ships that carried supplies to the Army units from the North which had pushed South during the Civil War. One time, he was shanghaied on the dock where he was reporting to his ship. He was made to work on the illegal ship until they dropped him in France, where he had to find another ship looking for hands returning to the U.S. The 1870 Census listed David as a Whaler and I recall my mother saying he had been on ships that went out in search of whales for the sake of their oil. There was one occasion that David returned home after a long absence, and he threw his duffle bag on the bed. His wife screamed at him not to kill the poor baby! That poor baby was my Grand-Aunt Sallie. David left home to work on the ship not knowing that there was a new baby on the way!
In the 1880 Census, David is still listed as living in New York and employed by Ammonia Mfg. By 1900, he was living in New Haven, employed by another ammonia manufacturer. His death certificate in 1924 states he was a chemist (although there is no evidence of any official education for such, just on-the-job training).
Returning to my mother’s relationship with David, she often spoke of his making sure that at Christmas she always received an orange. In those early days of the 1900s fresh fruit was a huge luxury, but he said his Molly had to be kept healthy. His life on the sea surely showed him the results of poor diets on seamen and he would sacrifice to care for those he loved.
We have several photographs of our great-grandfather which show a man who stood straight, with large arthritic hands, likely due to hauling heavy ropes in freezing, damp weather. His eyes are deep and penetrating. I would have loved to have known him, and exchange my own memories of County Mayo with him.

Submitted by member Joan E. Kleinknecht

My great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Dugan Castelot came from Longford, left father and grandfather – her mother Kathleen Quinn Dugan died. Mary came to the U.S. at about 15 with her sister Annie to Philadelphia to live and work for a rich aunt. Somehow she got to the Westchester area (N.Y.). Enter Gustave Leon Castelot, a seminarian from Normandy, France – has one more year to be a priest. Came for a vacation to make sure he really wanted to be a priest, something his parents wanted. They were millers, had and raced steeplechase horses in Normandy.
He (Gustave) met Mary and you know the story – he was brilliant, spoke 5 languages and loved nature. They were married in Mamaroneck, lived in a gardener’s cottage on an estate he tended. The cottage got too small when #3 was on the way. So the wealthy lady gave them a small house on 60 acres in Stratford, CT. They raised 9 children, and they in turn raised very large families – 10, 11, 12. Gustave planted trees all over the area - St. Augustine Cathedral, Bridgeport; Elm Street, Stratford; Sterling House, Stratford – many estates – gardens at Beardsley Park. He was a landscape architect, as my mother used to refer to him.
I went looking for his grave 4 years ago. It was located on the edge of a small green field, well manicured, at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Stratford – only thing (visible was) – green grass. I went to the office and asked for help and they uncovered ALL of the flat gravestones that were in this field, and the grass still has not covered the stones.
Two of their (Gustave and Mary’s) grandchildren entered the religious life: Sister Ann Maureen (Dominican – Caldwell, N.Y.) and Father John Castelot, (who) taught at a seminary in Plymouth, Michigan for years. He wrote many, many books on the Bible. There is a Bible Study week in Plymouth each June – the Father John Castelot Bible Week.
Moral: Mary captured a future priest but both gave to the church an outstanding teacher and a nun! Amazing Grace! Many grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in the Milford, New Haven area.

Submitted by member Patricia Doyle Molnar - My Trip to County Clare in 2005

Ireland had been calling me for sometime. Researching my roots was becoming imperative. I knew my grandmother’s maiden name on the maternal side of my family. The internet was a great beginning and I was able to locate my grandmother on a ship’s manifest in 1907 stating that she was going to New Haven, CT. My grandmother Margaret (Madge) O’Loughlin had come from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. So when we decided to visit Ireland we looked on-line for the nearest lodging to that township. My partner punched in the info and up came Clonmore Lodge, Quilty, Co. Clare. This was perfect as it was only a couple of miles from Miltown Malbay. The owners of the lodge, John Daly and his lovely wife Maire, were very kind, hospitable and helpful in locating my grandmother’s old homestead. As far as I know the O’Loughlins had lived there 160 years, more or less. John Daly took us to the farm to see the outside of the home and surrounding land. It was late in the day with rain falling when we met the present owner, Mr. Talty. We tried taking pictures, they weren’t the best. I can’t thank John Daly enough for all his help, and the two other sources he gave me. One of the contacts was an e-mail address who happened to be an O’Loughlin. This person had her brother send me a 17 page document on the O’Loughlins going back to the 1700s. This was beyond my greatest hope, roots! I can’t wait to go back and meet some O’Loughlins. I was told that my O’Loughlins were linked to the Prince of the Burren, who was an O’Loughlin. The Burren is in the northern part of County Clare. There is also a Lochlain Castle still standing, a landmark for tourists. We had visited the Poulnabrone Dolmen. This area is spectacular and magnificent with its stark beauty. As I was standing there absorbing and drinking in the flora all around me, I felt like I was home. I felt quite peaceful there and did not want to leave. It was almost a year later that I learned that my O’Loughlins originally came from the Burren. I also learned that in the 1800s a great, great, great uncle was a civil engineer who worked on the Corkscrew Hill and spectacle bridge in the Burren. I would never have known about my roots if I did not persevere with my research. Never give up!
Tips for your research - know where your people are buried. You can get dates of their birth and deaths. Finding out where they were born as in county and town. Retrieving copies of their marriage or death certificates should be a big help. In County Clare there is the Irish Heritage Centre in Corofin. In Dublin there is the General Registrar’s Office, Lombard Street. What is imperative here is to talk to your older relatives before they are gone. Take notes or record them. Cemeteries can be helpful too. I used the 2 week trial offer on Ancestry.com and later paid to do further research. Unfortunately, on my father’s side it’s a much harder road. No older relatives to talk with. My next search will be my mother’s maiden name. The more information you gather the more you want to keep going, it’s contagious.

Submitted by member Louise FitzSimons - Then and Now …

Twenty years ago we “came home” to Ireland when we purchased an old converted courthouse at Mullagh Gates, in Mullagh, Co. Cavan. Mullagh is the village from which my grandfather, Bernard FitzSimons, emigrated in 1880. It is not the house where the family had lived; that was much too destroyed; but it is within the sound of the same church bells, which is what matters. Various members of the family go over for a few weeks throughout the year. When I first went over and I would be out on the road walking the mile up to the shops in the village, I would often meet a local lady walking along and stop for a chat. On such occasions, I would introduce myself, telling her my name and that we had come back to Mullagh because it was my grandfather’s “home place”. Usually the lady would answer, “Oh, yes. We know of you ….” Mullagh was a small village and the word of our arrival had spread. We would continue to chat for a few minutes, and I would finally get up my courage to say, “May I ask YOUR name?” And she would then introduce herself….
After this had happened half a dozen times, it finally struck me: it never occurs to them to introduce themselves because they never meet anyone they don’t know. In an Irish village off the tourist track back in 1988, there were no strangers. When somebody in the village died, everyone was at the funeral because it would be someone they had known all their lives.
There were no street names or addresses; they were not necessary because the postmistress, who delivers the post in her little green truck, knew everybody. That was then ….
This is now …. In the last few years, particularly since the EU (European Union), Ireland has changed enormously – mostly for the better in that everybody is now much more prosperous. However, Cavan County Council made no effort to control or manage growth until too late. Some of the dairy and cattle farmers in Mullagh sold out to developers and ugly McMansions now dot the countryside. Many of these are being bought by Dublin people who sold up at an enormous profit and relocated to the countryside. The small one-street center of the town itself is surrounded with hundreds of estate houses – like our townhouses all stuck together, with no yards for the children to play in. And with Mullagh being only about one and a half hour’s drive from Dublin – more now with the increase in traffic – there are actually commuters!
Mullagh now even has a chain supermarket, although the locals, thank goodness, have remained so loyal to Smyth’s, the lone family-owned grocery of many years’ duration, that it has survived. I still walk up to the village for my groceries – to Smyth’s of course – but I no longer dare ride my bike. The narrow Irish country roads have no verges (shoulders) and the size and speed of the cars makes it too dangerous.
Two years ago, in a startling development, two additional digits were added to our five-digit local phone numbers. And I wonder how long the postmistress will be able to keep up with the influx of strangers. Can formal street addresses be far behind?
And since the EU, many different people have come to Ireland. Twenty years ago one would never have seen a black or brown face in downtown Dublin. Now, when I sit in my favorite Kylemore Café on O’Connell Street, I am astonished at the variety of color and dress in the parade of passers-by.
Last fall, I was standing at my front gate when a young woman came along the road and stopped to talk, as people will do. She was sniffling and teary-eyed.
“I’ve just sent my youngest off to school for the first time,” she told me, “so now I’m alone in the house and I’m walking it off.” Then she started talking about the school in our small village and how it had changed. “Do you know,” she said, “there’s children from eleven different countries in the school now ….” Oh dear, I thought, that must be an upsetting change to her. Then she paused, thought about it for a few seconds, and said, “You know … maybe it’s a good thing.”

Submitted by member and CTIAHS Secretary Maureen Delahunt - Irish Family Customs

When I was a child, my mother’s aunt, Mary Frances O’Neill Carney, and her husband, Edward Carney owned three brick attached houses on Pearl Street in New Haven. Mary Carney ran a rooming house business and Uncle Ed worked at the New Haven Post Office downtown. The houses were substantial with three stories and large attics. Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed lived on the first floor of one house and we lived on the second floor. All the rest of the rooms were rented out to “working out girls”. These were the cooks, housemaids and other servants who worked at the big houses along Whitney Avenue and on Prospect Street and all the streets in between.
These women considered it important to have a room outside of the house where they worked. They kept their valuables and fancy clothes in their rooms where they slept on their night off. Since the Carneys rented out approximately 21 rooms and each of the “working out girls” had a different day off, it was Mary Carney’s custom to have high tea each afternoon at four o’clock in her living room. The women whose day off it was were always invited to the tea, which was served with scones and jelly and whatever bakery delicacy was featured at Mrs. Root’s Bakery on Orange Street.
Now the Carney’s had a large piano in the living room which Aunt Mary played. From about the age of three or four, I was brought in to sing “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen” for the ladies, who considered the Carney house their “home away from home”. This completed the ritual of the tea.

Submitted by member and CTIAHS Vice President George Waldron

My mother Mary Moran Waldron emigrated to the United States in 1928 at the age of 17. She was from the village of Killeanagher in the town of Ballyhaunis, County Mayo. She has told us many interesting snippets about her childhood growing up on the farm in County Mayo. She and her sister Delia, were the only two children in the family because their father died when they were babies.
She said, one story stands out because most of us remember walking to our neighborhood school. My mother and Delia had to walk approximately two miles to the Coonafarna National School which involved crossing brooks and railroad tracks. Each child in the school was required to bring two pieces of turf each day until their family brought a load of turf to the school. So each day they would walk to school with their books, lunch and two pieces of turf. During the schoolyear one of their uncles would bring a load of turf , and their obligation ended for that school year....... Great stories that must be passed along to each other.

Submitted by member and Shanachie Editor Neil Hogan

On a trip to Ireland in the early 1990s, I visited West Cork, a land of great natural beauty and typically witty Irish people. I planned to spend one night at the Ballydehob Hotel in the town of the same name, a town that features on the exterior walls of some buildings huge murals of Celtic musicians and dancers painted in the style of Book of Kells mythical characters. The town is near the ocean on the far southwestern coast and I planned a day or two visiting historical sites there.
When I arrived at the hotel in late afternoon, I was greeted by a congenial elderly gentleman, named Michael, who not only registered guests, but also doubled as the bartender and the cook for the hotel.
Since the hotel was on the B & B plan, he asked me what I would like for breakfast. I said I liked the traditional Irish breakfast of eggs, sausage, pudding, porridge, etc. Then he asked what time I would like it.
Being accustomed to American ways of rushing here and there to see different historical sites and tourist attractions, I replied that I liked to get up early and be on my way.
“Then, would a 9 o’clock breakfast suit ye?” Michael asked.
“I would prefer something earlier,” I said.
“Well, what about 8 o’clock?” Michael suggested.
“Actually, 7 o’clock would be a little better,” I replied, “so that I could be on the road by 8.”
Michael contemplated me for long moments with a look on his face of mingled surprise and pity that anyone would be as foolish as to want breakfast at that hour. Then he replied, “Would ye not rather just have breakfast now and get it over with?

Submitted by member Pat Heslin

It was a warm, sunny September day in Ireland. In 2 days we would be returning to the States after a fabulous tour that included the north of Ireland – my first visit to that area. Our tour bus stopped for lunch at Durty Nelly’s. In the midst of the noise and commotion of placing orders and finding a table some in our party were told by the wait staff that a plane had crashed into one of the Trade Towers in New York. In my mind I pictured that movie scene of a small plane buzzing around King Kong and the Empire State building like an annoying fly. Who could have imagined what was really happening? Several of us finished lunch quickly so that we could visit the shops across the street before the bus left. When we came out of the shop we noticed that our group was gathered around a picnic table at Durty Nelly’s, we thought just enjoying the sunshine. As we joined them we realized that Sean Canning, our tour guide from Hamden CT, was on his cell phone with a very worried face. There were gasps and disbelief as he relayed what was happening back home. We had a surreal trip that afternoon to our next overnight stop in Tralee. The driver put on the bus radio so we listened live with all of you back here to the news about the Pentagon, Pennsylvania, the collapse of the Towers – and the closing of American airspace – indefinitely.
We did our best to try to keep things “normal”. We carried on with our scheduled activities but found the scenes on CNN – our link to what was unfolding at home - mesmerizing. The Irish people were absolutely wonderful to us. Sympathies were freely expressed and accommodation of our “stranded” condition was freely given by the hotel, the bus company, pharmacies, etc. The Irish government declared Friday a national day of mourning. At dinner Thursday night a priest from the nearby St. John’s Catholic Church came to invite us to join them on Friday for an ecumenical prayer service, church and prayer service brochure cover are pictured below. We were given reserved seating and tour group members were invited to participate in the service. It was overwhelming to see the Stars and Stripes being carried through the church by a proud but sad Yank. There were 800 people in the church and 200 more standing outside.
St. John's
Behind the scenes Sean Canning and his son Brendan (on this side of the ocean) were working feverishly to figure out how we were going to get home. I can only imagine the number of cell phone calls that flew back and forth. In a wonderfully Irish happenstance Sean had made a connection with a Clare girl at Aer Lingus in New York. Her Mam and relatives were among those who had offered to help us if the hotel couldn’t keep us due to other commitments. I know anyone at Aer Lingus would have done the same thing but it seemed so fitting that it was a Clare girl who was able to tell us that the airspace had been reopened and that we would be on one of the first flights to leave Ireland. On Saturday September 15 our “exile” in Tralee ended and we departed Shannon Airport, 2 days and a range of emotional experiences later than we had expected.
Our plane had to land at Newark airport because Kennedy remained closed. The “usual” announcement the pilot makes when you land at your destination was not “usual” for the crew or us this time. Police, guardsmen and dogs, were everywhere at the airport; no one knew how to react to these new and scary security measures. As we left New Jersey you could see the eerie glow over in New York and actually smell the aftermath of the total destruction that lay beneath it. As we came down Whitney Avenue in Hamden and prepared to turn into the parking lot of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, we were greeted by the warm and welcoming glow of votive candles laid out on the roofs of the cars of the friends and family who were waiting for us. Thanks to God and Sean Canning, and with the help of a very special girl from Clare, we were home.

Submitted by member John Droney

When I arrived in the U.S. in 1954, PIZZA was often referred to back then as PIZZA PIE.
Soon after my arrival my brother Frank took me to visit his brother-in-law Joe and his wife Maggie. Maggie, I found out later, was known for the great pizza she made. After the usual niceties Maggie asked me if I would have PIZZA PIE. (I had never heard the word PIZZA in my life – where would I hear it. After all, I had just come from the heart of the Burren in County Clare.) Of course I said I would love a PIECE OF PIE, hoping that it would be apple pie such as my uncle’s wife Rose baked to perfection.
What was plunked down in front of me on a plate nearly turned my stomach. What was this glop? This must be a joke. I looked around. Nobody was laughing. Instead, everyone else seemed to be savoring some more of the glop that sat in front of me staring me in the face. I realized that I too had to eat this stuff, which I did, somehow, with sheer willpower.
When Maggie asked me how I liked it I nearly choked on the words but I said “very good” at which time she plunked another slice on my plate!
I don’t remember if I ate any (I’m sure not all) of the second slice. Nor do I remember what my comments were to my brother after we left Joe and Maggie’s. If I did they certainly would not be printable.
P.S. Time is the great healer: I now love PIZZA PIE with everything on it, even anchovies. Apple is still my favorite PIE.

Submitted by member Sally Factor

My mother was born in Bridgeport in 1900 of parents from Fermanagh. She was the oldest of 5 living children and orphaned in 1914. Catholic Charities put the four younger (children) in the orphanage in New Haven. Mother took the trolley to visit when she had the money from her pay envelope, which was turned in unopened. Mother had a few favorite sayings (such as) “God bless good Queen Bess and her black soul.”
There is no such thing as corned beef and cabbage in Ireland. The English took the beef. A New England boiled dinner or smoked ham was what we ate on St. Patrick’s Day. On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day my father and three brothers would line up as mother unwrapped the dark green ties for each of them to wear that day. It was a solemn day without foolishness. A neighbor led the NYC parade with his wolfhounds one year. He wore a black arm band because of the Maze.
My father’s mother (from Galway) in Boston was so proud when De Valera’s men came to her house to thank her for all the work my uncle was doing at Boston College.

Submitted by member John J. White

My parents both came “over” from County Kerry, Ireland … although several years apart. After marrying, they settled in the Hill section of New Haven (Sacred Heart parish) around 1922. I have been able to visit the old sod about ten times (I have first cousins still living in Kerry), but the last visit unearthed a hilarious story … somewhat sacrilegious … about my maternal grandfather, James King (Seamus Mor, a knick name for Big Jim). Seamus was six foot six and weighed about 250 pounds when he died (during the 1916-18 flu epidemics which decimated the poorer sections of Ireland, of which Kerry was the poorest). Because of his size, there was no coffin in the Cahirciveen area which could accommodate his corpse. Well, the innovative relatives, friends and neighbors decided to build an extension onto one of the standard length coffins. Bear in mind that these men were primarily fishermen, part time farmers, but none were carpenters. Consequently the extension would not pass any code but “fortunately (?)” there was no code for coffin construction or modification. This extension was open-ended (one end) measuring approximately 12“ x 12” x 2 feet (someone measured the length of the corpse by about a foot too long). The extension was attached to the main coffin with tacks (screws, staples or nails apparently were not available). It took about ten pallbearers to get the odd shaped coffin into the church without a major mishap, although there were a few “groundings” on the way … pallbearers were entitled to a little nip now and then to fortify them for the journey. However, the ups and downs must have wreaked havoc with the extension tacks. But the coffin managed to survive through the Mass. The pallbearers picked it up for the trip to the burial ground. However, there were 4 or 5 steps down at the exit from the church. The coffin was accordingly tilted down, with the extension at the front end. No sooner had the coffin and the pallbearers passed the second step down when the extension broke loose and the corpse slid out of the box feet first, to the horror of the mourners waiting to escort Seamus to his grave.
The teller of this event paused here to visit the bar (we were at a pub at the time) but he never returned to tell us how they got Seamus back in the box and gave the man a decent burial.
Editor’s note: John now lives in Illinois and asked that his best wishes be extended to all, particularly any surviving members of Sacred Heart Class of 1933 and Hillhouse 1937. You can send John greetings via an email to [email protected]

Submitted by member Paul Keroack

BR> Although I grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood, the only person I knew who spoke with an Irish accent was “Old Mrs. Sullivan”. She was spoken of that way to distinguish her from her daughter-in-law who lived upstairs.
Elizabeth Kilcollum Sullivan was born in County Kerry as was her husband, Peter. They were old when I was a boy in the early 1950s. She was friendly and talkative with me while “Old Mr. Sullivan”, a retired policeman, would sit in silence on the porch in his rocker, smoking on his pipe. Old Mr. Sullivan died in 1954, the same year the hurricane toppled the tall tree in front of their home. His wife lived on for many years.
Their son John was also a policeman. To us neighbors, he was always “Johnny”. He lived upstairs with his wife, Arlene. He was warm and sensitive like his mother, but shy. He served in the South Pacific and contracted malaria, which would occasionally tire him, even years later. John Sullivan, even when he retired from the police force, never succeeded to the “Old Mr. Sullivan” name.

Submitted by member Mary Beth Gallagher

Sarah Dean Gallagher and Bernard Francis Gallagher came to the United States from Ireland. They had 11 children, 6 boys and 5 girls (Dean, Georgina, Bernard, Marguerite, Harold, Alice, Martha, Veronica, George, Arthur and William). This picture, and we apologize for the clarity, was published in the New Haven paper in 1943 when five of their sons were in the service. At another point all six sons were in the service.
The Gallaghers

Submitted by member Bob Larkin

On our last trip to Ireland in 2004 we were told the following story. It may include a bit of Irish embellishment but we enjoyed it.
Years ago sweaters were made by Mrs. O’Malley in her nearby home and Celtic crosses and statues were carved by local craftsmen to sell to the tourists. The cottage industry flourished. Although many changes occurred over time to streamline and increase production, it soon became evident that the Irish were hard-pressed to keep up with the demand as more and more visitors came to vacation and shop in Ireland.
Offers from Japanese suppliers to enter the market that were previously turned down were eventually given some thought. Negotiations began slowly. Despite the quantities and the low prices offered, the Japanese insisted that each piece display “made in Japan”. The thoughtful Irish refused at first but finally agreed, provided that only their native language was used. To this day, delighted but uninformed tourists stepping off the plane from JFK into Irish shops may pick up a souvenir and comment, “Oh look, it’s even got Gaelic on the bottom”.

Submitted by member Philip Gallagher

I had a great aunt who came from Ireland around the time of the (American) Civil War who had an American-born niece write her letters home for her. When the niece had finished writing the letter the aunt would then tell her to write “please excuse the poor handwriting”. Her name was Katie Ryan and she was a sister of my great uncle Patrick Ryan who lived in Bethel. His son William Ryan was the father of Patricia Ryan Nixon. Patrick Ryan enlisted in the Connecticut 17th Volunteer Regiment, which was decimated at Gettysburg on the first day of the battle. Patrick later served in the Veterans Reserve Corps in Washington, D.C. during the time of the trials for the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination.
Patrick Ryan, according to his obituary in the Danbury News Times in 1915, was assigned to guard Mrs. Surratt, who ran the boarding house where the conspirators met. She was later hanged. I always thought it ironic that he guarded someone who was accused of murdering a President and his granddaughter married one.

The following Stories were posted April 2007

Submitted by member Richard J. Gleason    One Hundred Years On and She’s All But Forgotten

My aunt, Mary Gleeson, was born in 1888 to Richard Gleeson and Gobnait (Abbie) Shea at Derreensillagh, Castle Cove, Kilcrohane Parish, County Kerry. At the age of 18, Mary came out to an aunt, Kate Daley nee Shea and her husband Crohan Daley living at 383 Windsor Street, Hartford. Shortly after taking employment as a domestic, Mary fell ill and after an extended stay in St. Francis Hospital on Collins Street, Mary died at age 19. The cause of death was attributed to tubercular peritonitis.
The Hartford Courant in the June 29th 1907 edition reported Mary’s funeral arrangements were under the direction of J. J. & F. Ahern undertaking rooms at 133 Pearl Street. A funeral mass was to follow at 2 o’clock at St. Patrick’s Church. The burial was at Mt. St. Benedict’s Cemetery, Bloomfield. The remains were interred in Grave 362, Section F, West End Lot.
Mary’s aunt, Kate Daley, continued to live on Windsor Street for another 31 years, moving to number 275 sometime after Mary’s death. Kate Daley, nee Shea was also born at Derreensillagh to John Shea and Abbie Sullivan in 1851. Kate Daley immigrated to the U.S. in 1878 and at the age of 27 married Crohan Daley in Hartford, CT. Little is known of Kate’s husband Crohan other than he may have worked as a laborer for the NY RR and he predeceased Kate by many years.
On April 26, 1938, Kate died in St. Francis Hospital and was waked from the Ahern Funeral Home at 180 Farmington Avenue. Her funeral mass was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church followed by burial at Mt. St. Benedict’s Cemetery in the same burial plot as Mary Gleeson. Kate Daley’s obituary indicates she was survived by three nieces and two nephews in Hartford. Their names/addresses were given as follows: Mrs. Michael Mack nee McCarthy, 399 Sigourney Street; Mrs. Nellie Bradley nee McCarthy, 79 Edgewood Street; Mrs. Mary Mack of 153 Edgewood Street; Michael McCarthy of 74 Sterling Street and John McCarthy of 132 Bradford Street.
(Editor’s Note: This story was accompanied by a copy of probate court records that listed “all persons interested in said estate” who were to be notified of the scheduling of the probate hearing. In addition to her nieces and nephews in Hartford, Kate Daley left family members in Ireland, Canada and England whose names and addresses are included. Family researchers take note!)

Submitted by member John Condron

To illustrate how laid-back the Irish people in Ireland are, I always tell the story of one day when I was trying to catch the ferry to the Aran Isles from Galway. I took a wrong turn and missed the boat. It was pulling out as I was pulling in! As I got out of the car and was shaking my head, a little Irish fellow came out of the building and said, “What’s the matter, lad?” I said that I had missed the boat! He asked if I was going back to the States the next day, and I said, “No.” He said, “Give me your ticket.” I gave him the ticket, he changed the date and then asked, “Is everything OK now, lad?” I laughed and said it certainly was. (Editor’s Note: We checked. The ticket was accepted the next day!)

Submitted by member Kathleen O’Donovan

We were “raised” on stories and folklore. As children and even as adults it was difficult to separate fact from fiction. Of necessity much of our history was oral and in the days before television or radio this oral history was passed on from generation to generation and at each telling it had to be embellished – “one could never spoil a good story for the sake of the truth” after all. I grew up in Galway, near Clonfert, and had heard the attached story many times. Maybe your request will remind many of us to record or at least recall some of those stories! The story Kathleen remembers hearing is of a 14th Century hand-carved wooden figure of the Madonna and Child. It is of native craftsmanship, one of a number of examples from a school of woodcarving which apparently flourished in the Shannon area from the 13th to the 17th Century. This statue highlights Mary as the Mother of the Human Race, standing within reach of all of us. Undoubtedly this statue originated in one of the two religious houses nearby at that time: St. Brendan’s Monastery or the famous Clonfert Cathedral. It was hidden in a hollow oak tree during the Cromwellian Persecution of Catholics in the 17th Century. Tradition has it that in the 19th Century it was found by woodcutters, who accidentally cut off the left arm. It was at one stage in view in the National Museum in Dublin and was carried in procession in the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932. Prayers to Our Lady of Clonfert have been instrumental in the granting of many petitions through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Mary. The following is an opportunity to have your petition answered.

The Madonna                                 Madonna Prayer


Submitted by member Nancy Barnes Stackpole

This is a story of my mother, Annie Fisher Barnes, who came to the United States with her mother (Mrs. Patrick Fisher) from port of departure Londonderry on the ship Cameronia in 1912. My grandmother (Mrs. Patrick Fisher) worked as a housekeeper for Forbes Sargent (he owned Sargent and Company) on Huntington Street in New Haven, CT. My mother (Annie Fisher Barnes) worked for 25 years for Sargent and Company as a machine operator. She brought up nine children by herself as my father (Joseph Barnes) and she were divorced. She came from Donegal – Rosbeg.


Submitted by member Joseph M. Coleman

On a trip to Ireland in 1986 our tour bus was scheduled to go to the Cliffs of Moher on a certain day. The weather had been fair with little or no rain. You can imagine our disappointment when the day turned out to be damp and very foggy; visibility was nearly zero. As we arrived and were getting out of the bus at about noontime the fog and rain stopped and the sun shone through, giving us a splendid view of the cliffs. It only stayed clear for about 30 minutes and then got bad again. As we left, the visibility was near zero again. “The luck of the Irish” came through that day, at least for us.
Submitted by member Suzanne Travers

My daughter was going to Ireland on a tour. A relative told me she “thought” we had a cousin in Sligo who was a Sister of Mercy. So I asked Kathy if she had any free time to see if she could find a Mercy convent and Sister Kathleen Conneally. A woman in her hotel said there was some convent a few blocks away but didn’t know what order it was. So Kathy hiked over and rang the doorbell a few times. When no one came she figured they were at dinner or chapel and left. Then a nun came and asked her what she wanted. She said she was looking for a Sister Kathleen Conneally and the nun said she didn’t live there any more and didn’t know where she was living! Sadly walking down the drive, a car arrived and stopped and asked Kathy if they could help her. She said she was sorry, she was looking for a Sister Kathleen and no one knew where she was living. The driver said “I’m Kathleen. Hop in.” Well, Kathleen had a meeting ‘til 8:30 and arranged to pick up Kathy then, called her sister, Bridie Quinn in Roscommon, cousin Mary Gornall in Galway and said she had a relative from the States and get out the Irish coffee. Since Kathy didn’t know how I was related to the Conneallys, Kathleen called me up but I was in Winsted looking up the Conneallys! Kathy said she bought pizza and Kathleen drove madly through the darkened roads to Bridie’s and Kathy knew she was home with family. She stayed ‘til 2:30 and Kathleen drove her back to Sligo and her hotel at 3:30, and then called Kathy at 7 because Kathy’s tour was leaving, and wished her “cousin” a good tour and love to her family in the States. We still haven’t fathomed out our relationship but we love our Irish cousins.

Submitted by member Louise FitzSimons

My grandfather, Bernard F. FitzSimons, emigrated from Mullagh, County Cavan, with his brother Daniel, in 1880. He met Margaret Ford (it had been “Feudy”) of Ennis, County Clare, at a parish hall social event at Sacred Heart Church in New Haven.
It was told that she lived up Washington Avenue in New Haven and when he would walk up there to call on her, he would be stoned by the local Irish because they were all Kerrymen and he as an Ulsterman. Despite this discouragement, they married in 1882. My father, Edmund F. FitzSimons, M.D. was their third son.
In 1988, we “came home” to Ireland when we purchased an old courthouse in Mullagh, County Cavan. “We” are seven direct descendants of Bernard FitzSimons. When we “came home” there were still people living in Mullagh and nearby Virginia who had known the two FitzSimons brothers who did not emigrate and never married. We go to Mullagh every year; the family has died out in that area.
We have visited Ennis but have not been able to trace any descendants of my grandmother. Her father was supposed to have been a builder and stone mason who built the cathedral in Ennis. My grandmother was sent to America because a British soldier wanted to court her (and she liked him …). Grandpa and his brother emigrated “on the run”, i.e. political activities during the Land Wars.
Grandpa became a civic leader on the “Hill” in New Haven – he had a tavern, “Barney’s”, and owned a lot of real estate on The Hill. He was a police commissioner in New Haven. He continued his political activities after emigration and always raised money for and otherwise supported Irish independence. He died in 1940.
Besides myself, Grandpa’s other living descendants in the area are a grandson Bernard FitzSimons III (my first cousin), his son Bernard IV and his son, Bernard V (all of Hamden, CT).
Other owners of our vacation house in Mullagh are great-grand children of Bernard FitzSimons; they are children of my first cousin Henry F. Farrell, M.D. who was the son of Mary FitzSimons Farrell Morrissey (late of West Haven), who was a daughter of Bernard FitzSimons. An interesting historical note: When I was “home” in the fall of 2005, a friend and I took a bus trip from Virginia to Killybegs in County Donegal for the weekend. Coming back on Sunday, the all-Ireland football championship was on the bus radio; it was Tyrone vs. Kerry (I think). I didn’t know whom I was supposed to be for – after all, Tyrone is in Northern Ireland and Kerry is in The Republic. Well, Tyrone won. A neighbor who picked us up was rejoicing! I said … “were you for Tyrone, then, even if it’s in the north?” “Of course” she said. “We’re Ulster.” Moral: The old loyalties still are strong. The political division is only 80+ years old and means less ….

Submitted by member Beverly G. Tabak

Recent discovery of the newspaper coverage of the death of Patrick Conran (born in Ireland in1827) in Naugatuck in 1900 told the story of this popular Irishman who was both a successful business man and a humanitarian. My maternal grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Conran born in Naugatuck in 1869, the daughter of Catherine Casey and Michael Conran (Patrick’s “baby” brother), who died of consumption in 1872. Not much had been known of the Conrans other than their arrival from Ireland in 1850, parents Thomas and Catherine and four children; their older brother Patrick’s coming in 1847. It was in Patrick’s home in 1850 that the first Roman Catholic mass was held in Naugatuck. (Editor’s Note: The obituary attached to the story fills in many details about the Conran family. Circa 1852 Patrick purchased the house in which he, his parents and seven siblings resided, and to which he brought his bride and in which he raised his own family. His parents, Thomas and Catherine, enjoyed long lives in Naugatuck, living there 28 and 30 years respectively. Details of Patrick Conran’s work and humanitarian efforts reveal that indeed Patrick was “a man of honor, a good citizen, and a loyal friend.” At the time of his death Mr. Conran was described as “one of Naugatuck’s oldest residents and was without doubt the best known citizen in town.” Beverly Tabak is the great niece of Patrick Conran and a diligent family history researcher. Her story shows the importance of researching a variety of local sources, even when not for your direct line. That’s how important tidbits are revealed!)

Submitted by member Eileen Gallagher Sarajak

I had a first cousin once removed that I never met. He was John Minehan, born in Pennsylvania about 1908. His father was Patrick Francis Minehan, born Singland, Limerick, Ireland April 17, 1867. Patrick emigrated to the USA and Connecticut on February 9, 1886. He married Eliza McCutcheon, born August 1872 in County Tyrone, Ireland.
John Minehan worked for the Lehigh Cement Company, and was accused of stealing cement after hours and then selling it. He was never jailed, but after that he was always called John Lehigh.
He and his wife (Nonie R. Reilly) appear in the Waterbury City Directories in 1948, and after that they disappear.

Submitted by member Kathleen Keyes Traub    Coincidence?

In 2004 three of my sisters, three nieces and I were leaving for Ireland. Another sister, here to see us off, brought a picture of Br. Sylvester Gilmartin (1813 – 1889), a brother of our great-grandfather, David J. Gilmartin of Castlebar, County Mayo, along with a list of their siblings. I transferred the two pages of notes to the first of many family charts.
Three days before departure Sean Canning notified us of a last minute change of a B & B in Castlebar. While awaiting our flight, my sister Sally told us of meeting a teacher, Joseph Gilmartin, 30 years earlier in Castlebar. My niece then told us that before leaving Cape Cod, her optometrist told her he had grown up in Castlebar and had a high school teacher named Joseph Gilmartin. When we arrived in Castlebar we asked the owner of the lately substituted B & B if she knew any Gilmartins. She told us that a teacher named Joseph Gilmartin used to live across the street and that the B & B was built on Gilmartin land!
She rang him up and we established that we both claimed Archbishop Thomas Gilmartin in our families. He came to meet us, genealogy chart in hand, and we exchanged information and charts. His laid out his family and a branch of Gilmartins on Long Island, N.Y. with whom our mother had communicated for many years until the death of the matriarch in the late 1960s.
Joe had met Tim and Nancy Gilmartin from Montauk 15 years earlier and attended a reunion on Long Island in 1990. We met Tim and Nancy on return and attended a reunion in 2005. Joe’s, Tim’s and our great-grandfathers were brothers! – making us 3rd cousins. We now exchange e-mails, letters, holiday and birthday greetings, and new genealogy info. Note: When Joe and Tim met they discovered they shared the same birthday, Nov. 11, the feast-day of St. Martin!

The following stories were posted March 2007

Submitted by member Michael Kubeck

This is actually a non-story. I am not Irish although, even to my Irish wife’s distraction, I have the house filled with Irish books and music – history, mythology (or possibly reality), politics, and all the heroes and martyrs who have made Ireland unique and first most among the peoples and nations of the world. I was born in what was then the Soviet Union in 1944 and we were taken for forced labor by the Nazi regime and subsequently freed by the U.S. Army and immigrated to America in 1951. I thus have some sense of what the millions of Irish men, women and children must have experienced over 7 centuries of forced or disparate expatriation by the Crown forces.
My father eventually was able to buy an old house with which he paid the mortgage by renting out rooms to local factory workers. One such person was an Irish exile named Frank Kelly, long since passed on. He owned the only TV in the house so I spent much of my youth there watching the old (1950s) New York Giants and Yankees play. Frank Kelly was a quiet, humble man with no relations in the U.S. He once showed me a British large penny with a dent in it – as he had volunteered to serve the English in WWI, he implied it was perhaps an important part of his war experience or maybe even his survival. Frank spoke very little about his past in Ireland but would often get tearful and quiet, as memories passed through his consciousness. Being a young boy, I had no courage to persuade him to share these bits of his past self.
He eventually moved away to another part of town and I heard he shortly thereafter died, quietly and alone, just as he had lived.
The non-story I referred to at the beginning is Frank Kelly’s non-story. I think he is representative of so many Irish exiles who take their precious and worthy memories with them because they think no one could possibly have interest. I have regretted a thousand times that I did not sit at his feet as he sipped his bit of Irish whiskey and say to him, “Frank, tell what you saw around you when you were a little boy . . .” .
Thank you for making the effort to rescue these fast-disappearing stories of the good people who remember bits and pieces of Ireland’s proudest history.

Submitted by member Eileen Gallagher Sarajak

This has not happened yet but will be on March 3rd. My great-grandfather, Patrick Gallagher born Donegal, Ireland, will be honored as the “Veteran of the Month” by the Bantam, CT American Legion. Patrick served in the Civil War in PA from 1865-1868 (sic), becoming a corporal in the Army before his discharge. He and his family moved to CT in 1900 where he bought a house and worked at several jobs. His son Thomas served in the Spanish-American War, and son Frank in WWI. His grandson, my dad, and his brother served in WWII, and my brother-in-law in Viet Nam. The Gallaghers are true soldiers.

Submitted by member Mary Colburn

In 1964, my mother inherited some money and she and dad decided our family of 5 should go to Europe for the summer. Ireland would be the first stop. After 5 days at sea, the ship landed at Cobh very early in the morning. Somehow I dragged myself out of bed to get my first look at Europe. My father was already at the bow. He stood there, just staring at the shore with tears on his cheeks. I hadn’t truly known until then how deeply Irish he felt. It was his first trip and in a way it was also a homecoming for that earlier generation, none of whom had ever returned after leaving during the famine years.

Submitted by member Doraine Wall-Riley

I corresponded with relatives in Carlow for a few years. I found their name and address on an old (1950s) post card and finally went there about 22 years ago. When I finally arrived at my 2nd cousin’s house, people were friendly but “suspicious” about whether we were really related because several people had stopped there claiming to be related but were not. After my initial stop some of us drove out of town to visit another 2nd cousin who I took to be the family historian. I had the feeling I was being put to a test when he brought out a photo album for me to look through. I was told who certain people were – some I had heard of – others were unfamiliar. Finally a page was turned and there was a picture of people including my grandfather, father and step aunt. I yelled “that’s my father!” There wasn’t any doubt about it because I had brought an identical picture with me. We were cousins! Their mother and my father were first cousins. And our grandparents were brothers. We’ve been in touch and visited with each other over the years and we still love to visit Ireland – especially Carlow Town. On one visit I did a stone rubbing of a stone in a family plot. It is framed and hanging in our hall, the ultimate souvenir!

Submitted by member Phil Gallagher

When I was a child in Bethel (CT) an elderly couple from Buffalo who were cousins of my father used to visit us once a year. Cousin Joe Delaney had been born and raised in Sligo. One evening after supper the conversation turned to a discussion of superstition including banshees and other creatures. Joe Delaney exclaimed at one point, “I don’t believe in banshees a’tall. I only saw one once.” It made me get off the bicycle one dark night when coming home from a dance.

Also submitted by Phil Gallagher

My great grandfather John McHugh from Mayo married Julia Ryan. Julia Ryan’s brother Patrick married John McHugh’s sister. The Ryans were also from Mayo and lived next door.
Both men fought in the battle of Gettysburg where John McHugh was wounded.
Patrick Ryan later guarded Mrs. Suratt who was tried, convicted and hanged as part of the Lincoln assassination.
Patrick Ryan’s son William was a double first cousin to my grandmother Julia McHugh Gorman.
William Ryan’s daughter Patricia married Richard Nixon.
I always found it ironic that the granddaughter of a man who guarded a Presidential assassin would marry a President.

Submitted by member Edward Giering

My son Geoffrey Giering and I visited Ireland while waiting for a WWII Bomb Group (303rd BG, 8th AAF) to begin. We rented a car in Dublin and drove west to Counties Mayo and Roscommon. We stayed in about 3 bed and breakfasts. I found my relatives in one town but since they had never heard of us we were not greeted warmly. One large farm house had just been painted white with a light blue roof. I found the colors very interesting as I had chosen the same colors for the first house I had bought, years before in Bristol, CT. However, the woman of the house had just been widowed, and she said her husband was related to us (we had just missed him).
I did meet a woman relative who was very suspicious of the two of us. She did look very much like one of my aunts who lived in America, but had died by 1993 when we visited Ireland.
We also found information in one of the town halls on our (my mother’s) family.
My oldest brother had visited Ireland several times in the 1950s but the people he met were dead by 1993 when we visited.
It was interesting any way and the bed and breakfast inns are really run very well.

Submitted by member Susan Brosnan

My favorite Irish relative is someone I have never met, my grandfather, Thomas Brosnan. He died the year before I was born. He came from County Kerry (that’s where all the Brosnans are!) “with his pants on” or so my father told me when I asked how old his father was when he made that long voyage from the green isle. In 1978 I made my first trip to Ireland and when the plane broke through the clouds and I could see that beautiful island below I was overcome with emotion. I felt filled with the spirit of my grandfather returning to his homeland, and tears ran freely.

Submitted by member Dan Kirby

On my first visit to Ireland I called in at my grandfather Bernard Gilbride’s old homestead (Finisklin, Kiltoghert, Kilclone P.O., Carrick-On-Shannon, County Leitrim) which was now occupied by his nephew Frank McKeon. Frank showed me around the cottage and pointed to two photographs on the wall. He said “I don’t know who they are but they are from America”. As I looked closely I saw they were pictures of my own mother Margaret Kirby and her sister Anna Cannon taken about 50 or 60 years ago.
Submitted by member Martha Balloch
I was born and raised in Ireland and lived for a time in Ohio. This story is actually based on a funny incident that happened at a party my husband and I were having in our home in Ohio. There was another Irish-born individual at the party. He was telling a story to all the American party-goers about a party he had attended. During the story he mentioned that there was “great craic in the kitchen”. In Ireland “craic” is Gaelic for “fun”. Of course the Americans amongst us thought he was referring to “crack”. I had to quickly jump in and explain what exactly he was referring to. We all had a good laugh!

Submitted by member David Campbell

My sister and I were driving through the little towns near Killoskully County Tipperary. I needed postage for cards. We parked on the street in Ballymackie and walked to the Post Office. Inside there were two men talking. They mentioned the name “Tobin”. As I heard them talk, something or someone prodded me to say, “My grandfather was a ‘Tumpane’”. One of the men, who happened to be the postmaster said, “The postmaster before me was a Tumpane”. He, the postmaster, gave me directions to Peggy Tumpane’s house. She is the last of the Tumpanes in Ballymackie. We did visit Peggy, who believes we are related, and keep in contact with her, and will visit with her on our next trip to Ireland.

Submitted by member Maureen Moore Tarbox:

When my sister Ellen and I left our rented car at the Cork Airport, we took a taxi to the bus terminal to get a bus to Limerick. We were leaving to come home from Shannon the next day. As we were traveling to the bus terminal, we started to discuss how much Irish money we had to pay the driver. We figured we would have to pay the fee in both Irish and U.S. currency. At that point the driver spoke up and said – “Not to worry! I’ll take whatever you have in Irish coins and that would be enough!” When we tried to at least tip him in U.S. money after he carted both of our suitcases into the bus station ticket counter, he refused! His parting remarks were to wish us a safe trip home and a speedy return for another visit to Ireland! Talk about Irish hospitality!!

Submitted by member Ed Cullen - this story appeared in the Living Section of the Westerly, R.I. newspaper, The Sun for St. Patrick’s Day 2006

Fall and spring travel to Ireland can be very inexpensive. Our group of six took an extended 11-day self-drive tour last spring (2005) for less than $1,000 per person. The plan included 10 B&B vouchers, roundtrip air and a 9-passenger Mercedes van. Going were Bev and Ron O’Keefe of Pawcatuck, Barbara and Jerry Murphy of Lords Point and Sis and Ed Cullen of Charlestown.
We all agreed to see Ireland not on a scheduled tour, but rather by car meandering the Irish countryside as each day would present itself, sleeping in Irish homes, mingling with the families, eating at pubs rather than restaurants. Irish restaurant food has become world-class and pub food is excellent. Home cooked B&B breakfasts always include European yogurt, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, fresh baked brown bread, scones, rashers and, of course, eggs cooked to your liking. Pots of tea and coffee are on each small table. What a wonderful way to start the day for one who likes to eat.
In the morning, upon arrival in Shannon we walked across the parking lot to our first vouchered stay at the airport hotel. We needed a couple of hours to refresh and freshen up from our 5 ½ hour flight.
For lunch we chose DURTY NELLY’S pub in Limerick where they opened the doors in 1620 … our first Guinness in Ireland!! Next door is Bunratty Castle and a thatched-roof village built to original ancient Irish standards. The shops offer Aran Island sweaters, food, trinkets and all things Irish. We found the village to be a joy for photographers and shoppers alike.
You cannot image the pleasures of the following week traveling through small villages and towns off the tourist routes chatting with the ever-friendly locals, sharing a pint, food and folk music.
Kinsale is a sister city to Newport and boasts of its fine cuisine and many friends in Newport. One must not miss the chance to tour the Rock of Cashel. Its spectacular views expose the farmlands for 40 miles. Cashel was one of Ireland’s most significant religious and social power centers for centuries.
In County Tipperary we visited the mass graves of hundreds of unknowns that died during the Great Famine of the late 1840s. Almost 2 million Irish died of hunger – and another 2 million fled the country in order to survive.
Northwest of Tipperary Town, near the borough of Limerick Junction, lies the tiny two-street Village of Cullen and Paddy Dawson’s Pub. Paddy and Marie Dawson greeted us with the warmth that reflects the hearts of the Irish people. The lads (men and boys) had a Guinness or two with Paddy Dawson while the ladies were treated to tea, cookies and gentle conversation by Marie Dawson. We find the Irish women to be quiet, gracious and just a pleasure to be with. Paddy had hanging on the pub wall photos of Sis and Ed Cullen from another visit the year before. Bev described the village as “one with dogs, churches, pubs and a few people.”
One of our highlights was for Ron to follow his roots to Tallow, in the west of County Cork. On a Sunday morning while traveling the farmlands we entered the Village of Tallow – uncertain where to find the church and graveyard of O’Keefe ancestors. A man not only offered directions, he had us follow him to a church and graveyard about 4 miles up in the foothills. The O’Keefe gravestones were not the ones we wanted so the man took us to another older cemetery a mile away. No success.
He directed to yet again another church a bit beyond. He invited us to his home for tea and to meet his family. We regret that we did not meet his family. Finally, at the third church we found a helpful priest, gravestones and the font in which Ron’s grandfather had been baptized. We all shared tears that day.
Any trip to western Ireland has to include the Dingle Peninsula where Irish is still the primary language spoken, English is second. A seafood chowder to die for and Irish folk music is found in most every pub. Our favorites were O’Flaherety’s, Murphy’s, The Dingle Hotel. The view from the B&B, The Lighthouse, provides a much elevated and breathtaking view of Dingle Bay, a seafaring village. A guide provided us with an informative tour of Sleigh Head with its ancient tent-like stone houses, large stones carved with an ancient language and the site for the filming of Ryan’s Daughter.
We chose a B&B in Bunratty for our last night in Ireland. Our hostess was ever so genteel as our other hostesses that are strictly governed by the Irish Tourism Bureau. Her spirit, her greenhouse, kitchen and three-legged dog left us with nice memories of the Emerald Isle.
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