Heather on the Cliffs of Moher!
While I’m here in Dublin trying to finalize this grant proposal, my sister Heather is on the western coast of Ireland visiting Eilish O’Hanlon and her husband Con.
You may recall that Eilish and my mom share the same great grandparents. Con and Eilish have taken Heather to see the place my own great grandmother was baptized. They took my mom and me there in May, but I’ve neglected to post photos as of yet.
Incidentally, because Con is a first cousin of Tom Mulligan (proprietor of the world-famous Cobblestone Pub), I’ve got family all over Dublin! 🙂
Today I’m sharing the photos Heather has posted on her Facebook page over the past week.
Heather and Eilish on the Bromore Cliffs, County Kerry.
Atop Cnoc-Nacor in Ballybunion with Heather’s namesake.
The greeter at the Bromore Cliffs, Ballybunion, County Kerry, Ireland.
The Bromore Cliffs.
The Bromore Cilffs in County Kerry. These have only been open for a couple months and folks who live here are seeing them for the first time!
Heather on the Cliffs of Moher!
Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin.
Heather’s night view of the River Liffey.
Heather Massie with Neil and Tom Mulligan.
Image of Cobh downloaded from the Visit Cobh website.
Recently, I’ve uncovered more and more roots to my family tree in Ireland.
For me, it starts with my great grandmother, Teresa Neenan. She was a smart, spry, and energetic woman who was a dear part of my early life. We called her “Nanny” and spent a number of holidays with her. I vividly recall images from an Easter she spent in Staunton, Virginia (my parents’ home town).
My great grandmother was born in Astee and christened in Ballybunnion (in Co. Kerry) in 1890. She left Cobh (in Co. Cork) in 1912. Like so many others, my great grandmother left Ireland when times were very hard, and opportunities limited.
Nanny left Ireland as Bridget Neenan and emerged from Ellis Island as Teresa Neenan. (There seems to be a data entry error in the records at Ellis Island, as someone translated the into n into an M somewhere along the way. Fortunately, it’s spelled properly on the wall at Ellis Island.)
In the States, Teresa married “Beppie” O’Mara who owned a taxicab company in Millburn, New Jersey. They had four girls, including my grandmother Alice who was born in 1916. That was a pivotal year in history when Ireland began its final quest for independence….
I visited Cobh recently and saw the breathtaking neo-Gothic cathedral that marks the summit of the town. I have enjoyed my visits to Cobh immensely. It’s amazing to realize that this Fulbright scholarship brought me back to Nanny’s homeland. It’s a land that has become my spiritual home. The welcome I have received here has been inspiring and heartwarming. I hope Nanny would be proud.
My mom and I look forward to visiting our “cousins” in Kerry in May. We’ll get to retrace more of our roots then and meet even more family!
Mom decided to phone her cousin Eilish O’Hanlon in Ireland’s County Kerry for Christmas yesterday. Eilish sounded very happy to hear from us… she said the call made her day!
Mom also dug out the family tree that her Aunt Jo researched in the 1980s. What do you know — Eilsih and her husband Con are on it!
Speaking of Aunt Jo, Mom phoned her yesterday as well. She lives in Ocala, Florida and raises race horses. There’s a race horse somewhere out in the world that Aunt Jo named for my mom. (Aunt Jo is my Grandma Zeliff’s sister. Of course, Mom also phoned her two Zeliff siblings, Carolyn and Harry yesterday. She’s a chatty one, my mom.)
So now I know: Eilish is mom’s second cousin. They share two great-grandparents.
And Eilish says that Tom Mulligan (the proprietor of the Cobblestone pub in Dublin) is her husband’s first cousin.
The family tree is starting to make more sense to me now. (As is the nearby Mulligan tree that is, apparently, in the same grove!)
I’ve posted some photos other people have taken of Ballybunion, near where Con and Eilish live. It’s the town where my great-grandmother’s birth is recorded and where some members of our family tree are buried.