Ireland and Scotland.
She and my grandmother are avid genealogists (causing me to catch the bug, as well) and have long dreamed of their Irish and Scottish ancestors.
When you delve into a family' s history, you may find that your ancestors came to America from Ireland...but long before that from Scotland....and long before that descended from the Normans, who once were Vikings. I've begun to realize that for the most part, we are all made up of many ancient ancestries.
In my own family, we have the O'Flynns and the Logans, the Milligans and the McQueens.
Names like Dugal McQueen and Brian Boru can really get your imagination flowing!
In my husband's family, we are finding more information all the time. The Irish we know of are the McGuires and Griffins, the Martins and Kelleys.
One story in my family is that of Honora O'Flynn. Daughter of Edward O'Flynn, chieftan of the O'Flynn clan. In the 1500's -1600's, Ireland was ruled by many kings- each with their own kingdom. Each of these kings (clans) were unhappy about paying taxes to England and when the English king changed from Catholic to The Church of England in order to divorce his wife; several of the Irish kings refused to conform, beginning The Rebellion.
England sent troops into Ireland to force them and war began. As the British conquered each kingdom, they would burn villages, kill people and kidnap women. Often, they would send the kidnapped women to America as available wives for the colonists.
One of these kidnapped women was my ancestor; Honora Mary O'Flynn, daughter of King of the O'Flynn clan. She was described as a beautiful, red-haired, vibrant princess who was a very pious Catholic. She, along with other women, were captured around 1700 on the coast of Kerry County, Ireland and shipped to America. She was sold in Baltimore harbor to William Logston for a bag of tobacco. He married her in 1702 in the St. James Catholic Church in Baltimore, Maryland. There are many historical writings of her story.
As a side note, her husband William Logston came to America from England around age 13, as an indentured servant to Lord Baltimore. He was later able to purchase land and he and Honora became wealthy landowners.
It's amazing to me that for most of my life, I had thought all slaves were of African origin. I did not realize that the capturing and selling of human life has touched virtually all races.
At the time that William Logston was sold as an indentured servant, the British were known for rounding up many who crossed their path and shipped to America as workers. William may have been sold by his own family....but he also may have been captured against his will.
Most of the Irish in my family came to America in the early 1700's. My husband has one line that came over during the Potato Famine.
During the famine, over 1 million Irish died and another million emigrated. My husband's people came over on cattle barges. I cannot imagine the depth of suffering they went through.
Through my mother's stories and those I've read on my own; I've long had a soft-spot in my heart for the Emerald Isle.
This past Christmas, my youngest sister surprised my mother with a plane ticket to Ireland. She cried.
We were all so happy for her- to finally live her dream!
The months have flown past and her date for departure is arriving. My sister is going with her.
Suddenly, the Man of the House asked me if I'd like to go. It being a once in a lifetime chance and all.
We pondered things, looked at our finances, weighed out the decision.
I'm pleased to say that both he and I are going to be accompanying Mom on this trip!
How amazing to be able to witness her dream come true and see a country I've long loved.
My husband and I were married in Bandon, Oregon. We plan, while in Ireland, to visit the town for which it's named.
Not only that, of course, for we will see many wonderful places: from fishing villages to ancient ruins; castles to natural landmarks.
Recognize the above picture? These are the Cliffs of Moher. They have been seen in movies- including The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the latter of which I've never seen).
They have also been named as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature.
I'm hoping to settle down for a bit in some quaint little fishing village. I want to watch the locals do their daily thing, listen to Irish accents and, hopefully, Gaelic language. Maybe even fish a bit with The Man of the House.
I'll post lots of pictures and commentary when we return!
Until then; I'll leave you with an Irish blessing:
May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
And one more for the road:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.