Friday, 29 March 2013


If ever you wondered what the Clare Roots Society actually do, then have a look through this and mark your diaries now... so many variations from lectures to memorials to book launches..

Oh, to be in Clare when all this is happening!

Coming Events

April 2nd to April 6th. Clare Roots Society. Conference Week.

April 2nd. 2 Films Set in Irish Workhouses . 7.30 pm Old Ground Hotel.

April 3rd. Gerry Kennedy's, Book Launch: Tracing your Clare Ancestors. Old Ground Hotel. 7.45pm.

April 3rd. Tim Collins Lecture. 6.30pm, Old Ground Hotel.

April 4th. Liam Curran, Lecture. 5.30pm, Old Ground Hotel.

April 4th. Eric Shaw's Book : Memorials of Past Lives, 7.30pm. In St. Columba's Church.

April 5th. Meet The Genealogist Session. 4pm. To 6pm, Temple Gate Hotel.

April 5th. Welcome Reception. 6.30pm & Ml. Gandy, Lecture. Temple Gate Hotel.

April 18th Tony Cassidy's Book. From a Rock to a hard place.6.30pm. Civic Rooms,Ennis Town Council, Drumbiggle Road.

April 18th. Lucille Ellis: The Gallery Family. The Civic Rooms, Town Council, Drumbiggle Road. 8pm.

May 3rd to 12th. Famine Commemoration Ceremony Kilrush.

May 5th. Famine Memorial Ceremony Old Drumcliff Cemetery 3pm.

May 16th.   Gerard Madden. The Iron Masters of the Sliabh Aughty region in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Civic Rooms,Town Council, Drumbiggle Road. 

May 30th. Brian Dinan's Book launch: St. Flannan's Terrace. Old Ground Hotel  8pm. 

Summer recess.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Gathering festival explores Irish genealogy


  • Details for the largest Genealogy event during The Gathering have been finalised.

    The 'Gathering the Scattering' festival takes place in Ennis, Co Clare, next week (2-6 April, 2013) and will feature tours, lectures, book launches and film screenings. The five-day series of events, which is being hosted by the Clare Roots Society, will culminate on Saturday, 6 April with an International Family History Conference featuring contributions from genealogical experts.
    Speakers include Michael Gandy, Editor of The Genealogist's Magazine; Irish and UK Workhouse expert Peter Higginbotham; Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland; and Steven and Kit Smyrl, RTE's Dead Money.
    Meanwhile, Fiona Fitzsimons, Director of Eneclann will present a talk on pre 18th Century genealogy sources; while and Eileen O DĂșill of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland will explore the tracing of American relatives.
    According to Conference Secretary, Clara Hoyne: "Anyone who has Irish blood, a link to Ireland or even just a love of our country is invited to join us in Clare on Saturday 6 April 2013 for our Genealogy Conference, 'Gathering the Scattering'. This conference will take place at the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis and will be preceded by a week of genealogy-based talks and events including a tour of the Clare Local Studies Library, Ennis town walk, a tour of Ennis Friary and two evening lectures, one on traditional Irish music by Kilfenora Ceili Band member Tim Collins and another on Irish soldiers in the British Army by Army Historian Liam Curran."
    'Gathering the Scattering' will also afford members of the public the opportunity to hold personal meetings with Genealogists who will be equipped with Army records and American records. The 'Meet the Genealogist' sessions take place on April 5th from 4 to 7pm in the Temple Gate Hotel.
    The Festival will also feature two film screenings in the Banner Suite of the Old Ground Hotel on Tuesday 3rd April at 7pm. A Room in Air was filmed in the Auxiliary workhouse in Ballyvaughan in 2012. The film by Frank Golden, which runs for 22 minutes, explores the way in which the famine proved to be a psychic and emotional fault line for Ireland and its people. The second film, The Poorhouse, a film made by Frank Stapleton and screened on RTE in 1996 runs for 30 minutes and is an evocation of the Famine period in a Cavan workhouse.
    Meanwhile, Eric Shaw of the Clare Roots Society will launch his new book, 'Memorials of Past Lives – the stories behind the wall- memorials in St Columba's Church of Ireland in Ennis' on Thursday 4th April at 7.30 p.m.


    From: "Clara Hoyne" <>

    Hope this whets your appetite for the conference and the full range of events next week.
    There is parking in the Temple Gate but at our previous event the car park filled early in the morning. There is a long stay car park in Glor (about 5 minutes walk away) and the charge is €3.90 for the day. Another alternative is the multi story Q Car park in market area and about 5 minutes walk away also. The cost per day is €5 but car park closes at 7.30 in the evening.
    There is also hourly street parking so it is worth planning ahead.
    This website below  will be useful for visitors to Ennis.

     There is also an app available for Ennis for iPhones and Ipads.(Crissouli)

    Well worth a look.. you may find a number of familiar names here.

    IRISH GENEALOGY new site launch...

    An Irish emigrant to the US waits next to an Italian and her children at Ellis Island in the early 20th century. A new website,, brings together census data, land records, military archives, wills and even Ellis Island records onto a single portal. Photograph: FPG/Getty Images 

    By going to the original site below, you will be able to read the various comments, including that of Chris Paton... with whom I have to agree. As always, you can enlarge image by clicking on it.

    Tuesday, 26 March 2013



    Kilrush and District Historical Society's March event at the Teach Ceoil
    at 8pm on Tuesday 26 March 2013 will be Military Equipment from the
    First World War (1914-1918) by Brian Honan.
    Brian will present a fascinating and informal talk about the types of
    military equipment used by soldiers who fought in the First World War.
    Brian has had a life long interest in military equipment and is
    particularly interested in the Kilrush connection with the Royal Munster
    Fusiliers.  The talk will be largely based on artefacts from his collection.
    All are welcome.  Members free; non-members EUR 5.
    Future events for your diary:
    Tuesday 30 April 2013: Up and under: when Kilrush led the world by Brian
    J. Goggin

    Please Note

    Friday 3 May 2013 to Sunday 12 May 2013: National Famine Commemoration
    2013 and full supporting programme of events, now online at

    Sunday, 24 March 2013


    Book tells of Limerick links to American Civil War

    JUST before dawn on April 7, 1862 a wide, green clearing near by bank of Tennessee River was suddenly choked by noise, smoke and blood.

    As musket and cannon fire ripped through massed ranks of soldiers, a 25-year-old from East Limerick stood in the middle of it all, holding high the colours of the 154th Tennessee infantry.

    James Real, whose family had left Oola and emigrated to New Orleans in 1851 in order to escape the Famine, was one of almost 25,000 men who perished at Shiloh, one of the first and bloodiest engagements of the American Civil War. He was a Confederate soldier.

    Two days later his older brother, Patrick, fighting with the Union Army's 7th Missouri infantry, found himself camped on the same field where James had died; his body lying in an unmarked grave just yards away from Patrick's tent.

    Their story is one of countless tales of Irishmen and women who lived through the civil war, which have been collected in a new book by Ardagh native Damian Shiels, titled The Irish in the American Civil War.

    In terms of the number of Irishmen who volunteered, fought and died, the American Civil War is surpassed only by the First World War. At Shiloh and Vicksburg and Antietam, where the young, divided American nation spilled its own blood, thousands of young, poor and brave Irish bled with it.

    "It's not the same as other foreign wars that we were involved in, where there was an Irish brigade or an Irish unit. This was a massive involvement across all levels", Shiels said.

    "The main thing I wanted to do was show the sheer scale of that involvement by telling different stories, and the effect it had on the Irish community over there".

    The book estimates that in the region of 170,000 Irishmen fought on both sides during the civil war, on top of thousands more Americans of Irish descent.

    No exact figures exist for how many of them died, but it is widely thought to have been between 30,000 and 40,000. It was a staggering expense of Irish blood, and the tragic irony is that many of them were immigrants from the Famine era, who fled from starvation only to find war waiting for them and their children.

    In his book, Shiels pieces together years of research from army records, pension rolls, diary accounts and other sources to tell the story of the most destructive conflict in American history through the eyes of Irish people.

    He writes about the likes of Jennie Hodgers, a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight, and James Rowan O'Beirne, who led the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. The book also tells the story of Limerick city man Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the last Irish civil war veterans to die – he passed away in his 106th year in Texas.

    Throughout the war both sides relied on Irish efforts and materiel: Irish legions, Irish generals, Irish-made uniforms, Irish nurses. Shiels said that for Irishmen living in the United States at the outbreak of war, the reasons to fight - for either side - were as clear to them as anyone else.

    "Many living in the north fought to protect a republic where, despite all their hardship, they had a vote. When Irish people went in huge numbers to the northern states, even though they were discriminated against, they had a voice.

    "The guys in the south would have seen [the north] as a big nation trying to impose its will on a smaller nation, and would have seen parallels with Ireland in that".

    However the Irish did not rally to the cause of slavery. In 1860, one-in-four people in New York were Irish. There, and across much of the country, the Irish occupied the lowest rung of society, scraping a menial living where they could. A new class of freed slaves would suddenly be clear economic rivals.

    As the war dragged on, making its true horrors known, many Irish lost their early appetite to enlist. Their enthusiasm fell further after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

    "They wouldn't have had much time for emancipation. They would have seen that as a threat", Shiels said. "At the start they would have all been volunteers. They would have had a belief in what they were fighting for.

    For the full article, please follow the link below...

    From the article in the Limerick Leader...

    The Irish in the American Civil War, published by The History Press, is on sale now. For more, see Irish American Civil War online.

    The 69th New York State militia, an Irish regiment in the Union Army, pictured in 1861. The image is taken from a new book, 'The Irish in the American Civil War', by Limerick man Damian Shiels. Below: Another Irish Union regiment, the 9th Massachusetts Infantry, pictured hearing Mass.


    Those of us who know of Clare would have no problem agreeing with the title of this article, whether or not we have visited or lived there...

     I would love to hear your comments and thoughts... 

    What, to you, is the  stand out 'must visit' part of Clare and why?

    N.B. Apologies to those who have tried to post comments... there seems to be a problem with this at the moment. I have reported it. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me by email as per the address in the About Me left hand column and I will post your comments on your behalf.

     From here to Co. Clare: Ireland's west coast gem 

    Ireland's beauty stretches far and wide, from the rugged pulchritude of Connemara to the verdant hills of Kerry to the seaside splendor of Wexford. Even the urban grit of Dublin boasts innumerable specimens of gorgeous art and architecture.
    But nestled quietly midway on Eire's west coast is a county  that still features the picture post-card prettiness that is often attached to many Americans' idealization of the land: Clare.
    If you're looking to encounter ancient ruins, sea-swept coasts, traditional music, thatched cottages and plenty of sheep blocking narrow roads, Clare may be the best destination for you. Although you can find most of those features in many parts of Ireland, Clare is a great home base for exploring the entire west coast area. It's only an hour from Galway City and less than that to Co. Kerry. 
    It also showcases such natural wonders as the Cliffs of Moher and the rocky, almost lunar-like limestone terrain of the Burren. Its county seat, Ennis, is short drive from Shannon Airport.
    While there are numerous reasons to visit this bucolic haven, below are five that make it exceptional.
    Doolin – This tiny village, nestled along the coastline just up from the Cliffs of Moher, is a music and arts haven.  It's basically one road with three famous pubs: Gus O'Connor's, McDermott's, and McGann's. All three pull a fine pint and feature traditional music many nights of the week. 
    Ireland travel.jpg  Ancient portal tomb Poulanbrone in Co. Clare is thought to be at least 3,000 years old. George Lenker  
    Poulnabrone – There is something magical about this millennia-old dolmen (a rock-covered portal tomb) set out in the middle of nowhere on the craggy landscape of The Burren. Knowing you are looking at a burial chamber from at least 2900 B.C. where the remains of  22 adults and six children were buried should give anyone pause.   (More in article...)

    Ireland travel         The ruins of Leamaneh Castle, located in the heart of Co. Clare George Lenker        

    Ruins — Ireland's landscape is dotted with old, intriguing stone buildings in various states of disrepair, but Co. Clare has some of the more interesting ones. The more famous of these are Dysert O'Dea Castle and Corcromroe Abbey, but smaller interesting ruins sit just off main roadways. (More in article...)
    Ennis – This bustling little burgh is the county seat of Clare and has much to offer in the way of pubs, arts and, of course, shopping. You can't beat Brogan's for a pint and a bite, as well as for some great tunes at night. The quieter Diamond Bar is about as friendly and quaint a place as you'll find in all of Ireland. Just walking its medieval cobblestone streets is a delight. If you go in May, there is also a wonderful traditional music festival.

    Wednesday, 20 March 2013


    The Families of Bunratty Castle
    The O'Brien's and MacNamara's
    Martin Breen will talk about the families of Bunratty Castle and The chequered history of its inhabitants, it is filled with stories of sieges and conquests, executions and murders, even an occasional spirit, of ambitious men, and their wives, seeking to be overlord; of Norman, Irish and English, all inextricably linked to mould the story of Bunratty, spanning a period of almost 800 years. Martin takes you on a journey through the history of this most renowned of Irish castles and its families
    The Talk will take place at 8pm on Thursday 21st March 2013 in the Civic Rooms, Drumbiggle. There is a cover charge of €5 for non-members

     see below for more info on Bunratty Castle

    CLARE GENEALOGY CONFERENCE REMINDER     Clara Hoyne, Clare Roots Secretary

    Conference bookings will be taken this Thursday evening during our monthly talk with Martin Breen. Conference day is €30 with events leading up to it free to all paid up CRS members. Last chance to be in with  an opportunity to have a  half an hour private consultation with a Professional genealogist from CRS committee.

    For online booking go to :
    Remember to like us at :


     FURTHER INFORMATION ON BUNRATTY CASTLE, just a little of what is available at

    Image courtesy of Clare Library

    A Great article by Lenore Frost...

    Caption as follows, with credit, for the image below...

    Bunratty Castle is a large tower house in the centre of Bunratty village, near Shannon Town and its airport.

    From the top of the tower one can see Ratty river, which runs alongside the castle, and Shannon airport.

    There is an extensive folk park near the castle, with reconstructions of historical cottages and buildings, recreating the general feel of the 19th century, with a period style village main street.

    SOURCE: Holger Leue 2003, courtesy of Tourism Ireland

    Monday, 18 March 2013


    What a great asset this will be, congratulations to John Grenham and all involved.
    By all means, blow your trumpet John... we will listen with appreciation.

    John Grenham today with a new searchable database for Dublin residents 1908.