Monday, 19 August 2013


Every now and then, some item will catch your eye... in this case, it was an item on the front page of The Clare Champion which caught the eye of a friend of mine... she sent it on to me, knowing that this is just why I started my blog, 

" IRISH GRAVES - they who sleep in foreign lands"

My grandmother, Bridget Therese Dillon, emigrated to Australia in 1923, married in 1924, had four children, and passed away in 1942... she was just 41 years old... She was never to return to her beloved Co Clare, to the village of Clonbooley, Connolly... and in those years, there was very little communication...just the occasional letters which could take months to arrive. How did her family feel, when Biddy never came home? She lay in a foreign land, her grave unseen by her loved ones in Ireland. It was partially because of Biddy's story, that I started my "Irish Graves..." blog... her gravestone photo is shown, Bridget Swadling, in the New South Wales page, Dorrigo.... you can find the indexes in the left hand column.

I was so pleased to read the front page of the The Clare Champion and see the story below... 

DECEASED Cooraclare and Cree emigrants, who are buried abroad, will be remembered on Sunday when a commemorative monument is unveiled outside St Senan's Church.

Part Leader-funded research, carried out by the Cooraclare Cree Historical Society, has found that hundreds of Cooraclare people are buried around the world.
Committee chairman Tommy Clune has a deep personal interest in the project, as four of his siblings are buried abroad. Indeed, it was while at his brother Peter's funeral in Southampton that he happened upon the remembrance concept.
"I was over at the brother's funeral and that's when this idea struck me. That was about five years ago. I was coming away from the grave and I said to myself 'I might never again see this grave'. I thought about it after and I said there must be an awful lot of people in this situation," Tommy told The Clare Champion.
Another brother, Patrick, is buried in Northampton; his sister Theresa is buried in Birmingham, while a second sister, Bridie, was laid to rest in New York.
"We would never get a chance to see my sister Bridie's grave in America. There's no way in the world we'd ever be able to visit it in New York. She's dead about 10 years. She lived there for nearly 50 years," Tommy reflected.
One of 11 children, Tommy is a returned emigrant himself. He lived in Birmingham for eight years.
"All of our family emigrated, the whole 11 of us. It's sad when you have no real contact with members of your family ever again. If you went into it deeply enough, you'd find that every household in the parish might have somebody who emigrated and died abroad. You could go back a long way," he said.
Tommy and his brother, Donal, who lives in the UK, are the only surviving members of the 11 siblings.
Parishioners in Cooraclare and Cree were very interested in remembering the community's emigrant dead.
"We put it in the newsletter for the last six or seven weeks and we got a great response. We're expecting a lot more but we have over 200 names at the moment. We're getting phone calls around the clock. People think it's a lovely idea. It will give them a chance to reflect on their loved ones. We've set up registers in Cooraclare and Cree. We'll put the names of all of the deceased emigrants we get on the registers," Tommy explained.
"A lot of them emigrated post-Famine. A lot went during the Famine too but we haven't been able to find any records of that. In the 1800s and 1900s, a lot of people emigrated from the parish. That's the kind of information we're getting," he added.
For the rest of the story, please go to...

A little about Cooraclare and it's history can be found here...

Cooraclare (Kilmacduane)
Cooraclare / Cree,   a community with a population of 1500, is ten kilometres from Kilrush on the Kilrush to Miltown Malbay Road.  Also known as  Kilmacduane,  it became a parish in its own right in 1848 when it was separated from Kilmihil.
The word' Cooraclare' may be translated as cubhar an chlair or cuar an chlair. The Irish word clar means a board, but was also applied to a river crossing made of boards or planks. Taking the word cubhar as a curve or bend, then Cooraclare would mean the bend where the planks span the river. Another explanation is that Cooraclare means the froth on the planks: froth caused by rushing water.
Kilmacduane means the church of the son of Duain, often translated as Downes.
Cree, at times spelled Creegh, comes from the Irish word crioch which means end or boundary. Cree east is the boundaries of three baronies.
Near Cree is Our Lady's Well at Dromelihy, one of the most venerated holy wells in West Clare. A novena of Masses is celebrated at the Blessed Well beginning on the 15th of August each year. Traditionally pilgrims walk around the Well reciting the Rosary.
Sport, traditional music and dancing are among the great interests of the people of this community.  Elizabeth Crotty and Seamus MacMathuna , both well known in ceili music circles , came from the parish. The Rose of Clare Festival takes place in the parish the first weekend in August.

and here, on Wikipedia...

There is a Facebook page for Cooraclare...

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