Tuesday, March 6, 2007


On July 14, 1860, twins James & Margaret Donnellan were born in Molesky, County Clare Ireland to Peter and Bridget (nee Frawley) Donnellan. Both James and Margaret would later emigrate to America where Margaret would meet and marry Michael Reidy.

Bobby picks out a stone from the ancestral Donnellan home as a keepsake.

Molesky is just down the road from Mullagh where our cousins Tim & Theresa Donnellan live and even closer to the home of cousins Helen & Denis McGrath (Tim's sister & brother-in-law) and as a result, it's an easy visit to a site of ancestral homeland.

Molly enjoys the view from her dry perch in the car.

The house fell out of the Donnellan family when Martin Donnellan (Margaret & James younger brother) was killed in an accident riding a horse in 1915. His two sons, Patrick and Peter were too young to take over the farm and were sent off to live with other family members. Patrick emigrated to America at some point and stayed with relatives Mary Donlan (aunt) and Agnes Reidy (cousin).

I'm not sure what became of Martin Donnellan's wife, but she may have died before Martin. Her name, incidentally, was Bridget Reidy from Ballinagun, County Clare.

Katie clings to Bobby as she faces her irrational fear of ghosts while standing inside the Donnellan house in Molesky.

Since Martin's death and his sons departure, the home was abandoned and has been ever so gradually deteriorating thanks, in part, to relatives paying a visit and keeping a piece of family history. We've managed to visit it on each trip and it has changed very little in the nine years since the first time, however the electric fence was new since this past summer. That and the extremely soggy ground conviced Molly to gain a new appreciation of viewing piles of stone from the car, but gave Bobby some ideas on how to possibly liven up the day a little.

"I found the leak!"

After stomping around the birthplace of our Great-Grandmother and failing to get electrocuted, we decided to pay a visit to our cousin Helen and her husband Denis McGrath. They live on the road between Quilty and Molesky overlooking a beautiful set of waterfalls. They named their home "Niagra" in honor of the falls which Denis says is a bit of a joke. You can't have too long of a conversation with Denis without hearing a fabulous joke and you typically can't have a short enough conversation to miss one.

A "composite" view of the falls next to Helen & Denis's house. They are really closer than they look in this picture.

Our visit with Helen & Denis was cut short by the realization that dusk was rapidly approaching and, if we were to see all the things we wanted to see over in the Reidy side of the county, we would have to get a move on. This fact turned out to expose a downside to sleeping in as well as add to the list of reasons to stay longer next time.

KMB with Denis & Helen McGrath.

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