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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Long Time, No Blog: The Irish Gathering

Today I'm going to start with my Irish.  Twenty years ago when my mother died I thought, right, time to figure out who these people were and much good it did do me. That's sarcasm for I still can't tell you for absolute certain where the emigrated from or how they ended up in Syracuse but I do know a great deal more.  More on that later.  The one thing I am certain of is they were Roman Catholics and they were poor.  I have long since been conflicted by my boggy roots and my Anglophilia. 

Enter my Anglo-Irish husband (not how he ever describes himself BTW) and no longer could I gleefully sing almost any given Wolfe Tone song.  The lyrics were too charged--almost forgotten to me now.  But once in a while R and I will play a little game of whose Irish is bigger.  He claims an Irish-born grandfather who I in turn call an imposter since my people were on the land hundreds of years before his took it.  This in turn begs the question, how long does someone need to be in a country before they can claim nativity?  In the US, it is almost immediate though we do say first or second-generation American to deferentiate between newness of transplants.  But R claims his blood is more Irish than mine.  I claim you're not Irish if you're not Celt.  We're both ridiculous and we're both American.

As part of an economic recovery plan, Ireland declared 2013 as year of "The Gathering".  Ireland wants her people to invite their scattered relatives home for gatherings.  That's why a few weeks ago there was a family reunion at Castle Townshend--R's family's historic home in Ireland.   Yes, you heard me.

In desperation to make the most of my chance to research my Sharkeys while in Ireland, I pushed hard and two weeks before our departure I finally had a breakthrough.  I think I found my peeps in Castlrea, Roscommon.  We took a lovely trip around Ireland including Casltrea before we settled into the castle down in Cork.  During our drive we both found new appreciation for each others' Irish roots. Richard swotted up on his family history--which is a good thing too since he helped his father make their genealogy website and it was time he read the content. Was Richard ever relieved to learn his relative Col. Richard Townshend was not handed his land for his loyalty to England but rather he bought it all himself.

 Naturally, both of our Irish are worth descending from and Elle gets the best of both worlds.

photo by John Townsend

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