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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Genealogy treasure "show and tell": Deadline Jan. 3, 2010

The upcoming 17th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture will be a Genealogy treasure "show and tell". Here are the details:

Genealogists are treasure hunters of a different kind. Instead of searching for riches, we dig for information. Instead of prizing gold, we value documents - the visual proof of the life stories of families that have passed before us.

Share with us the image of and the story behind a document (or documents) that have been valuable to you during your search for an Irish branch of your family. How and where did you find these documents? What are their significance to your research and/or why are they special to you? Here's your chance to show off some of your genealogical "loot" at our online "show and tell".

Deadline for submissions to the Genealogy treasure "show and tell" edition of the carnival is Sunday, January 3, 2010. This edition will be published at Small-leaved Shamrock on Thursday, January 7, 2010 .

Genealogists - get ready to show us your stuff at the upcoming show and tell carnival!

For past editions or other information about the carnival, visit the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A candle in the window on Christmas Eve (Advent Calendar: Christmas Eve)

Christmas Eve is a magical time. The waiting of Advent is over and the celebration of the Savior's birth is about to begin.

One beautiful way that the Irish have traditionally kept this holy night is with the lighting of a candle in the window. The warm light from its glow acts as a welcome to all so that no one should be without shelter.

Offering hospitality to others by way of a lighted candle is a tradition as old as ancient Ireland. In more recent centuries during times of persecution in Ireland, the candle offered a welcome to priests that the home was a safe haven and that Mass could be offered there. On Christmas Eve, the candle also symbolizes the willingness of the household to welcome the Holy Family, so that the Infant Jesus and his family would not again be turned away. One Irish belief held that Joseph, Mary and Jesus still wandered the world, seeking a place of refuge from Herod.

The words of The Kerry Carol, written by Sigerson Clifford, admonish us to be sure to provide a welcome for the Holy Family on this special night before Christmas. Below are verses two and seven. I've placed the full version of the song here.

Verse 2
Ná múch an coinneal ard bán,
Ach fág é lásta go geal.
Go mbeidh siad cinnte ar aon
go bhfuil fáilte is fiche roimh cách
Sa teach ar an Oiche Nollag naofa seo!


Don't blow the tall white candle out
But leave it burning bright,
So that they'll know they're welcome here
This holy Christmas night!


Verse 7
Ná cur ar an ndoras ach an laiste anocht!
Agus coimead na gríosaigh beó -
Agus guí go mbeidh siad fén ar ndíon anocht
Agus an domhan 'na chodladh go suan.

Leave the door upon the latch,
And set the fire to keep,
And pray they'll rest with us tonight
When all the world's asleep.



Tim Dennehy, who has recorded The Kerry Carol, has also written a song of his own to be sung in welcome of the Holy Family on Christmas Eve.

Tim has taken a traditional Irish prayer of welcome and added additional verses and a refrain. His song, An Nollaig Theas, begins as follows:

Dia do bheatha 'dir asal is damh gan riar
Dia do bheatha id' leanbh, id Fhlaith gan chiach
Dia do bheatha ód' Fhlaithis go teach na bpian
Dia do bheathasa 'Íosa.

Dún do shúil a Rí an tSolais, dún do shúile ríoga
Dún do shúil a Shaoi an tSonais, dún do shúile síoda.



Translated to English, the words are:

God's greeting to you untended 'tween ox and ass
God's greeting to you Child and Prince serene
God's greeting to you from heaven to the hour of pain
God's greeting to you dear Jesus.

Close your eyes oh King of light, close your regal eyes
Close your eyes oh fount of happiness, close your silken eyes.



You can find the rest of the lyrics to the song on Tim Dennehy's website Sceilig.com.

If you choose to light a candle in your window this Christmas Eve and would like to follow Irish tradition, remember that it requires that the candle be left burning throughout the night. Oh, and it must only be blown out by one having the name of Mary! Or was that the youngest child in the family? Actually it might have been the youngest child who would, of course, be named Mary.

No matter. As long as you get the candle in the window I think any Irishman or woman would be feel welcomed at your home on Christmas Eve, not to mention Mary, Joseph and the Infant Jesus.

Image courtesy of DoChara.com.

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 24: Christmas Eve. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Can't forget Killarney... (Advent Calendar: Christmas Music)

Speaking of Christmas carols, I can't help but mention one of my favorites. It also evokes a traditional Irish Christmas like the songs I wrote about earlier, but it is certainly a more modern song.

The carol I'm referring to is Christmas in Killarney by John Redmond, James Cavanaugh and Frank Weldon. Bobby Vinton's version of the song conjures up memories for me of my childhood living room: me resting on the floor below the Christmas tree with Christmas in Killarney playing on the stereo system's record player. It might have been the very song that inspired me to learn how to use the record player and place the needle at just the right place so that I could repeat my favorite song, although I remember enjoying all the songs on Bobby Vinton's Christmas album.

Only now listening to it again do I realize all the references to Irish culture in the song: the holly leaves, the ivy green, the mistletoe, the jigs and reels...

Click here for Jim Corbett and Chris Caswell's version of the song, sung with a nice Irish brogue.

Here are the words (a more complete set of lyrics than the ones used in the audio version linked above):

Christmas In Killarney

Verse:
The holly green, the ivy green
The prettiest picture you've ever seen
Is Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home
It's nice, you know, to kiss your beau
While cuddling under the mistletoe
And Santa Claus you know, of course
Is one of the boys from home

Bridge:
The door is always open
The neighbors pay a call
And Father John before he's gone
Will bless the house and all
Our Hearts are light, our spirits bright
We'll celebrate our joy tonight
Is Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home

Repeat Verse

Bridge:
We'll decorate the Christmas tree
When all the family's here
Around a roaring fire
We will raise a cup of cheer
There's gifts to bring,
And songs to sing
And laughs to make the rafters ring
Is Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home

Repeat Verse

Bridge:
We'll take the horse and sleigh all
Across the fields of snow
Listening to the jingle bells
Everywhere we go
How grand it feels to click your heels
And dance away to the jigs and reels
It's Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home

Repeat Verse

Is Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 21: Christmas Music. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007. In the mood for more Christmas carols? Check out footnote Maven's "heavenly host" at A Choir of GeneaAngels. The angel to footnote Maven's right in the center of the choir is standing in for me.

Sing of Christmas! (Advent Calendar: Christmas Music)

The Irish have long been known for their love of music, their talent for writing poetry, and their devotion to faith. All of these come together beautifully in traditional Irish Christmas carols.

You may not be as familiar with The Wexford Carol and others as with some of the more frequently-played modern-day carols and other traditional favorites. But the richness of the words and the Irish charm of the music may call you to make these carols an important part of your family's Christmas celebration.

The Wexford Carol is one of the oldest Irish carols and may date back to the 12th century. You can find the audio version of the music here or here. These are the words:

The Wexford Carol

Good people all, this Christmas-time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.

With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas day;
In Bethlehem upon that morn
There was a blessed Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.

But mark how all things came to pass;
From every door repelled alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but an humble ox's stall.

There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star,
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay,

And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah was,
They humbly cast them at his feet,
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God's angels did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.

"Prepare and go", the angels said.
'To Bethlehem, be not afraid,
For there you'll find this happy morn,
A princely babe, sweet Jesus born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God's angel had foretold,
They did our savior Christ behold.

Within a manger he was laid,
And by his side the virgin maid,
Attending on the Lord of life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

A newer but also well-loved Irish song, The Kerry Christmas Carol (An Ciarrí Carúl Nollag), was first published in 1955 in a book of poetry entitled Ballads of a Bogman. Written by Sigerson Clifford, it focuses on a traditional Irish Christmas Eve custom. Each household welcomes the Holy Family to their home by lighting a candle and placing it in a window. According to Jack & Vivian Hennessey's Irish Page about the Kerry carol, "There was a pious belief that Joseph and Mary and the Child still wandered the roads of the world, looking for a place to rest from the persecution of Herod. That they should show a preference for the roads of rural Ireland was accepted as a given."

The only online audio version of The Kerry Christmas Carol that I could find is this little snippet from Tim Dennehy's Between The Mountains And The Sea. Here are the words to the song in Irish-Gaelic followed by the English translation (thanks to the Irish Page):

An Ciarrí Carúl Nollag
The Kerry Christmas Carol

Verse 1
Scuab an t-urlár agus glan an teallach,
's coimead na grísaigh beo,
Ar eagla go dtiocfhaidh siad anocht,
Agus an domhan 'na chodladh go suan!

Brush the floor and clean the hearth,

And set the fire to keep,
For they might visit us tonight
When all the world's asleep!

Verse 2
Ná múch an coinneal ard bán,
Ach fág é lásta go geal.
Go mbeidh siad cinnte ar aon
go bhfuil fáilte is fiche roimh cách
Sa teach ar an Oiche Nollag naofa seo!

Don't blow the tall white candle out
But leave it burning bright,
So that they'll know they're welcome here
This holy Christmas night!

Verse 3
Léig amach ar an mbord, arán is feoil,
Agus braonín bainne don leanbh.
Agus beidh beannacht ar an dtine
Agus ar an té a bhruith an t-arán
Agus ar an lamh a dhéin an t-obair dian.

Leave out the bread and meat for them,
And sweet milk for the Child,
And they will bless the fire, that baked
And, too, the hands that toiled.

Verse 4
Beidh Naomh Iósaef túirseach,
Tar éis an turas fada.
Agus aghaidh Mhuire fann, bánghnéitheach
Agus beidh néal codlata aca.
Sar a n-imthígheann siad arís.

For Joseph will be travel-tired,
And Mary pale and wan,
And they can sleep a little while
Before they journey on.

Verse 5
Beidh túirse na mbóthar fada ortha
Agus seans aca a scíth a ligint,
Ó's iomai an míle fada uaigneach
Atá roimh an dtriur aca
Uaidh seo go dtí Beithil.

They will be weary of the roads,
And rest will comfort them,
For it must be many a lonely mile
From here to Bethlehem.

Verse 6
Ó is fada an bóthar 'tá le taisteal aca,
Agus é idir garbh is mín
Agus Cnoch Chalvaire mar ceann scríbe aca,
Agus chroise adhmad indan.

O long the road they have to go,
The bad mile with the good,
Till the journey ends on Calvary
Beneath a cross of wood.

Verse 7
Ná cur ar an ndoras ach an laiste anocht!
Agus coimead na gríosaigh beó -
Agus guí go mbeidh siad fén ar ndíon anocht
Agus an domhan 'na chodladh go suan.

Leave the door upon the latch,
And set the fire to keep,
And pray they'll rest with us tonight
When all the world's asleep.

Another favorite Irish carol is Once In Royal David's City written in 1848 by Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander. You can find an audio version of it at this page. Here are the words:

Once in Royal David's City

Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior Holy.

And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly Maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.

Jesus is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

For more on Irish Christmas carols read Bridget Haggerty's An Irish Christmas - Ding Dong, Merrily on High...

You might also enjoy these Gaelic versions of popular Christmas carols (including Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer) courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey.

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 21: Christmas Music. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007. In the mood for more Christmas carols? Check out footnote Maven's "heavenly host" at A Choir of GeneaAngels. The angel to footnote Maven's right in the center of the choir is standing in for me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

St. Clair, PA and a Merry Christmas to all! (Advent Calendar: Religious Services)

Historian Anthony F.C. Wallace has provided a wonderful gift for a family historian researching the past in a small 19th-century Pennsylvania coal town: he spent years researching and writing about the town of St. Clair, its industries and its people. The result is his book St. Clair: A Nineteenth-Century Coal Town's Experience With a Disaster-Prone Industry.

The book provides an amazing and thorough glimpse into the world of the people of Schuylkill County, its coal mines and the big business that controlled them, and a slew of other aspects of life in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania in the 19th-century.

This region provided hope for many new immigrants, people of varying ethnic backgrounds and religions, who looked to the coal industry in Schuylkill County for their living and their future. Irish, Welsh, English, German, and people of other ethnicities. Catholics and Protestants. All came to live their lives within the world of the coal mines and the industries that sprung up around them.

But as Wallace indicates in his book, "The churches...were supposed in Christian doctrine to be places where all social classes mingled in common devotion, but they were also bastions of ethnicity." I found interesting, however, his description of times when the ethnic and religious barriers came down for a time. "There were... occasions when some blending of congregations occurred. The most regular of these was at Christmastime, when all of St. Clair was invited on Christmas evening to attend the annual concert organized by the Sunday School at the Methodist Episcopal church." According to Wallace, "Attending services at another denomination's place of worship was a common Christmas practice in some other parts of Pennsylvania as well, permitting even Catholics and Protestants some admission of their mutual Christianity."

Knowing that this age and place was one where Irish Catholics had their own church and German Catholics had another (with similar situations for the Protestants), this is a nice bit of history to encounter.

Wishing a wonderful Christmas season to all of you, no matter what ethnic or religious background is yours. Merry Christmas to all!

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 20: Religious Services. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nollaig Shona dhíbh! (Advent Calendar: Grab Bag)

With Christmas just a week or so away there is still time to learn how to offer Christmas greetings in Gaelic.

Unlike Christmas shopping, it doesn't cost much to spread the kind of Christmas cheer that a "Nollaig Shona dhíbh!" can bring to your friends and family. And if they don't understand you at first, wishing them Christmas greetings in Gaelic can be the start of some good conversation on the topic of Irish heritage and the holiday season.
Here's a little lesson in Gaelic greetings for you (with generous thanks to the Irish Culture & Customs webpage Bunús na Gaeilge - Basic Irish Language):

Christmas is Nollaig, pronounced "null-ahg".

If you want to wish a happy Christmas to another person, you can say: Nollaig Shona dhuit, pronounced "null-ig hun-ah gwich".

A similar Christmas greeting to more than one person would be: Nollaig Shona dhíbh, pronounced "null-ig hun-ah yeev".

If (surprise of surprises!) someone wishes you Nollaig Shona dhuit, an appropriate way to say, "And to you..." would be: Go mba hé duit, pronounced, "guh mah hay gwich".

Bhfuil an siopadóireacht le h-aghaidh bronnantanais na Nollaig críochnaithe agat go fóill? (That was "Have you finished all your shopping for Christmas presents yet?" pronounced "Will shup-ah-dhoh-ir-ukth leh heye brun-than-ish nah null-ig cree-ukh-knee-heh ah-guth guh foh-il?") If not, the time is now.

If you have finished all your shopping and perhaps other Christmas preparations, then you might want to take some time to work on your Gaelic. Here are a few good resources to get you started:
When Christmas day is over and all the gifts have been unwrapped, ná déan dearmaid litreacha buíochais a scríobh as bhfúir mbrontannais. (That's Gaelic for: "Don't forget to write thank-you letters for your presents" pronounced "naw djayn djar-muidh lith-ree-uckha bwee-khish ah shcreev ahs woo-ir mrun-thahn-ish".) If your Gaelic studies have been successful, maybe you can throw in some new words and phrases in Irish Gaelic in each thank-you note.

Who knows, maybe it will increase your chances of seeing a little more luck of the Irish in the new year ahead.

Don't forget to check the Irish Culture & Customs webpage for a nice lexicon of Irish Gaelic holiday words and greetings.

Image courtesy of O'Brien's Irish Cottage.

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 17: Grab Bag. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Poor man's holiday goodies (Advent Calendar: Fruitcake)

I don't know too much about the holiday feasts that were held by my Irish Pennsylvania side of the family. They had come early from Ireland to America (pre-famine) around 1820. I have always wondered just how many of their Irish traditions they clung to after so many years.

One family member who spent many Thanksgiving dinners with the Cowheys in Mount Carbon as a child has fond memories about those holidays. I asked her what types of foods she remembered, wondering whether or not they served traditional Irish fare or food with a more Pennsylvania flavor. Her answer: "Depression-era food".

Makes sense. The family had lived through tough times. Money was tight and the Cowhey family always had many, many mouths to feed. The most memorable items on the menu were two recipes I had never heard of: Poor Man's Fruitcake and Tomato Soup Cake.

Poor Man's Fruitcake lives up to its name: made with fruit but not so expensive as regular fruitcake. There's a nice recipe and description of it courtesy of Sally Jameson and her Pennsylvania grandmother on this Southern Maryland webpage. (Scroll down to the 5th recipe.)

Tomato Soup Cake may sound strange, but according to Food Network chef Emeril Lagasse, it is a favorite of spice cake lovers. See his 3-generation-old recipe for Tomato Soup Cake.

Sometimes it is the simplest things that bring the most pleasure, especially during the Christmas season. But who would have thought it would be a can of tomato soup for dessert?

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 14: Fruitcake. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas greetings circa 1870 (Advent Calendar: Grab Bag)


Click on the article to the left to step back in time to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania during the holiday season in the year 1870.

Published on December 22, 1870 in the Shenandoah Evening Herald, the article is a nostalgic look back into Christmas of yesteryear. It also provides an eye-opening realization that some things haven't changed

The editors of the paper wish their readers "...a right merry Christmas unalloyed by the troubles and cares of every day life...". They mention that, "Unfortunately, in too many instances Christmas is but made a season of jollity and festivity, without a thought of the occasion that originated its observance. Properly it is a time of great joy, but the event that it commemorates should not be forgotten in its celebration."
What would the Shenandoah Evening Herald's editors think of our world and its Christmas celebrations today?

The vintage postcard image above (circa early 1900's) is courtesy of twogatos.com. Visit the website to view more beautiful postcards.

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 9: Grab Bag. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"We put our shoes on the hearth, hoping St. Nicholas would come" (Advent Calendar: Santa Claus)

Many children around the world for many generations looked forward to December 6 with great anticipation. That was the day they expected a generous visitor to their homes. It wasn't Christmas Eve that he would arrive, but a few weeks earlier - on his very own feast day: the feast of Saint Nicholas.

You can find a charming story about the Saint Nicholas day memories of one little girl (now all grown up) at An Irish Christmas - Waiting for St. Nicholas. Bridget Haggerty tells us how Saint Nicholas eve was the day that began the fun and festivities of the holiday season: "when we put our shoes on the hearth, hoping St. Nicholas would come."

She tells of her mother's annual tradition of telling her children about the story of Saint Nicholas and his good deeds. The next morning it was a dash from the bed to the fireplace to discover what their shoes might be filled with.

If you're reading this on December 5, tonight's the night. Maybe you should polish your shoes and set them out. You never know what goodies they might be filled with in the morning. If Saint Nicholas does rounds in your neighborhood, that is.

If not, as the Irish say, "May yours be the first house in the parish to welcome St. Nicholas.”

Irish Father Christmas image courtesy of All Posters.

This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 6: Santa Claus. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!

The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The story of the Irish from the heart of Pennsylvania

Irish-American coal miners, railroad engineers, brakemen and firemen: these were the men in my family in the 19th and 20th centuries whose hard work made Pennsylvania and the nation what it is today. Their lives and the times in which they lived must not be forgotten.

I am thrilled to be able to help announce the world premiere of The Irish: Two Nations - One Heart, a three-part documentary series created by PBS station WVIA in Pittston, Pennsylvania. The newest installment of The Extraordinary Journey series which is working to document the rich history of various cultural heritages within Pennsylvania, The Irish is "a unique documentary that for the first time comprehensively chronicles this remarkable regional story." As the WVIA website states, "It is our history, and it serves as an indispensable tool to understand the dramatic past of northeastern Pennsylvania’s vibrant Irish culture and its future in both Pennsylvania and America."



As the introduction to the series states so well, "The industrial revolution in 19th century America produced social and political tumult that forever changed the world. Nowhere would those conflicts resonate more dramatically than in northeastern Pennsylvania, whose immense anthracite coal reserves and rich woodlands fueled America’s ascent as the world’s preeminent superpower. The tide of Irish immigrants that washed ashore clinging to despair and anguish over their own embattled Ireland found no safe harbor. Instead, these people would become girdled by some of the most dramatic social conflicts in American history."

This documentary series works to tell the story of those Irish immigrants, providing "compelling testimony of an extraordinary journey that continues to this day. It explores this region's rich Irish heritage and the obstacles it had to overcome to help build this state and nation."

Although at this time the series is only being broadcast within Pennsylvania, I look forward to seeing it make its way to other states and viewers. It looks to be a well-researched, meaningful look at the complex history of the Irish people in Pennsylvania.

If you are in northeastern Pennsylvania, you can view the premiere of the three-part WVIA original documentary film The Irish: Two Nations - One Heart on Tuesday, December 1 at 8 p.m., followed by part two on Wednesday, December 2 and part three on Thursday, December 3 at 8 p.m. on WVIA-TV. Encore presentations of the documentary will broadcast in its entirety on Saturday, December 5 at 2:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 at 12 p.m. on WVIA-TV. I am hoping that this series will also make it way quickly to other PBS stations across the nation.

Note: If you cannot view the film trailer above, you can also view it here or here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"As I light this flame...": the season of Advent

“As I light this flame I lay myself before Thee.”
~ Celtic prayer from the Book of Kells

The time of Advent is an invitation to introspection - a time to look at our hearts and prepare for the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child as so many in previous generations have done for two-thousand years. It is a time of preparation of our souls and of our homes during the coming joyful season of Christmas.

As you prepare for Christmas this year, you might enjoy reading about some of the Irish Christmas traditions that I highlighted previously during Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. In the nine articles here at Small-leaved Shamrock and seven articles at A light that shines again, I hope you'll find inspiration during your Christmas preparations in the wonderful traditions of the Irish people as they have historically celebrated this glorious season.

Happy Advent!

You might also enjoy reading Bridget Haggerty's An Advent Memory and a little lesson on Irish Gaelic for the Advent and Christmas season, both on the Irish Culture & Customs website

Image of the Celtic Advent wreath courtesy of Catholic Supply of St. Louis.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cóbh: The last goodbye to Ireland

This article originally originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock on January 26, 2008. I've reposted it here in honor of Geography Awareness Week.

I am one of 12% of Americans who are reported to have Irish blood in their genes. (I'm sure this number would be higher if more Americans looked a few generations back into their genealogy.) In fact, Irish heritage may come in 2nd only to German heritage in sheer numbers when you look at the genealogy of modern day Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey.

Considering how much the Irish were tied to their homeland, it is incredible to realize the numbers of people that emigrated, most leaving the green land of Eire never to return again.

Many of them said their last goodbyes to their home country at the port city of Queenstown in County Cork (now called Cóbh, pronounced cove). Queenstown was the predominant emigration port for the Irish. According to the Cóbh Heritage Centre, “From 1848 to 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland – over 2.5 million departed from Cóbh, making it the single most important port of emigration.”

The website gives a brief summary of the causes of this enormous departure from Ireland:

“This exodus from Ireland was largely as a result of poverty, crop failures, the land system and a lack of opportunity. Irish emigration reached unprecedented proportions during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease… Escape was seen by many as the only chance of survival: between 1845 and 1851 over 1,500,000 people emigrated from Ireland. This was more than had left the country in the previous half century.”

One of the many Irish citizens who left from Queenstown became well-known for her journey, not so much because of who she was or where she came from, but because of where and when she ended her journey. Annie Moore, traveling with her two younger brothers, is now well-known as the first immigrant processed at the newly opened Ellis Island on January 1st, 1892. Her journey is memorialized in statues both at Cóbh's Heritage Centre and at New York’s Ellis Island. To many the statues represent not only the memory of this young lady's emigration from Ireland but the millions of Irish who left their home country and journeyed to America.

For more information about the two million-strong emigrant exodus that said their last goodbyes at Queenstown, see the Cóbh Heritage Centre’s website entitled Cóbh: The Queentown Story.

Image of the Cóbh waterfront thanks to J. Pollock.

Statue of Annie Moore and her brothers thanks to the Look Around Ireland website.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture!

Please join me in celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture!

Born here at Small-leaved Shamrock on November 6, 2007, we are sixteen editions strong and looking forward to the upcoming 17th edition. A special thank-you to all of our 64 contributors thus far, particularly you regulars that frequent the carnival. (You know who you are!)

We have touched on many topics since we began two years ago.

From Irish genealogical research (and more Irish genealogical research) and our ancestral homes in Ireland to the concept of Irish identity ~

From Irish places (and Irish vacations) to Irish surnames ~

From Irish culture and tradition (even superstitions) to the Irish language ~

From recommended books (and more books) to our own stories (and more of our own stories) of Ireland and the Irish ~

We've covered many topics and had lots of fun along the way. (Make a visit to our 1st and 2nd St. Patrick's Day parade editions to join in some of the fun!)

As we celebrate this 2nd anniversary of this carnival celebrating the culture and heritage of the Emerald Isle, we hope you'll take some time to read over our previous editions and also plan to join us with your own submission for an upcoming edition.

If you have ideas for topics that you'd like to see covered here at the carnival, or are interested in hosting an edition, please let us know.

Thanks again for reading. Be sure to stop by the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture blog where you can find links to all past editions, info about the upcoming edition, links to all of our past contributors' blogs and more.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Irish portraits: An "album" of stories

Welcome to the 16th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. This is a special week for the carnival as we celebrate both our 16th edition and our second anniversary on the web. A special thanks to all of our readers, our commenters, and especially our talented contributors (Irish or not) who have supported the carnival throughout the past two years!

In this Irish Portraits edition, we've chosen to focus on Irish men and women and their personal stories. Some stories include photographs; others paint only a verbal picture of part of a person's life.

Records with names, dates and other data are essential to the search for family history, yet perhaps the most rewarding aspect of this search is the discovery of the stories behind these names and dates. Some sad, some triumphant, some representative of many others of their time, some seemingly made for the movies, the stories in this edition take us on a tour of various places and centuries through the lives of those that have passed before us.

We hope you'll enjoy this "album" of "story portraits" that we've put together for you in this edition of the carnival. Happy reading!

The search for family history can sometimes be tedious as we try to make sense of data and documents from days gone by. Then there are those discoveries that shock our emotions and draw us back into time as we feel the sorrow and pain of those that have gone before us. The life of my ancestor Margaret Foley Cowhey is one such story. In Death comes in threes: The sorrows of Margaret Foley Cowhey, 1891-1895, I've shared the stories of the tragic losses of three of Margaret's loved ones in a short span of three and a half years. Although saddened, I am thankful to know the details of this heartbreaking portion of my family's history. Visit my article here at Small-leaved Shamrock to read the story and view the various documents that gave me clues into this part of my great-great-grandmother's life.

Martin Kelly, the great-great-great-grandfather of Melody LaSalle, was an enterprising man. Read the story of his life first in County Roscommon, Ireland, then in Boston, Massachusetts, and then at his final home city of San Francisco, California. From horse trader to owner of several boarding houses on Mission Road outside of San Francisco, Melody shares the story of her ancestor's "nomadic" life, including his sad demise, in Martin Kelly, My Family's First Business Owner? posted at The Research Journal.

The troubles in Ireland in the early 20th-century caused Robert Farrell of Ulster and each of his brothers to make the decision to emigrate from Ireland. All but Robert, however, headed for Australia and New Zealand. He began his new life as a Canadian farmer in Saskachewan. Visit A Portrait of my Irish Grandfather – Robert Farrell (1896-1965) by Alana Farrell posted at A Twig In My Tree for more about her grandfather's reasons for leaving Ireland and the story of the rest of his life in Canada.

Many of us researching family members have found that one discovery can open up many more questions that we hadn't known to ask before. Terri O'Connell has had that experience as she has learned about the life of her grandfather Dennis O'Connell of New York, USA and Alberta, Canada. View his photograph, read what she knows about his life, and learn the questions she still has yet to answer at My Irish Ancestor posted on her blog entitled Finding Our Ancestors.

Inspired by the lifelong creativity of her mother, Marian Joyce Neil, Earline Bradt shares a few of the many crafts and projects that she worked on throughout her life (many of which Earline dabbled in along with her). In Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture #16 - My Creator posted at Ancestral Notes, Earline tries to "paint a portrait of [her] mother" and her creative talents. Visit Earline's story to learn her father's reaction to Marian's creative whimsy when she decided to faux paint the family's dining room chairs.

Sharing about her Little/Lytle ancestors, Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski lets us in on a "little secret": this family may not be Irish after all. As Cindy states, "It has been interesting, not to mention challenging, untangling family legend and lore from facts." Read her article Carnival of Irish Heritage Irish Portraits: Little/Lytle posted at In My Life to learn about the family members within this branch of her family and to view two family portraits.

In the spirit of the recently passed Halloween holiday, Sean Lamb of Finding the Flock shares with us the story of the haunted house in his family. Sean gives readers a chronology of the life of Alexander Meharry, who emigrated from County Cavan, Ireland to Ohio in the late 18th-century. The story of his life is not quite as exciting as what happened to him after his passing. Visit Sean's blog to learn why Alexander Meharry's story brings new meaning to the phrase "skeletons in the closet".

James Hayley/Haley was an Irishman who arrived in America very early: 1675 to be exact. Within her Hayley genealogy blog, Ruth H. has chosen to share what she knows about his life for our Irish portraits edition, including the items listed within his will and estate. It's an interesting read including everything from "one cart and wheels", one-hundred-and-forty-six "head of hogs", two spinning wheels, one looking glass and more. Visit Ruth's Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, 16th Edition submission to read more.

Ruth also had another story to share with us for this edition of the carnival. In Mattie Reed ---- granddaughter of Robert Reed (Sr.) of Donegal, northern Ireland, and Mary (Polly) (Pomeroy) Reed she tells the exciting story of her ancestor who survived an Indian attack by outrunning the young warrior in pursuit of her during the year 1778. Visit Ruth's blog Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me to read about Mattie's close call and learn what became of the Indian brave who failed to capture her.
Finally, professional genealogist Donna Moughty shares the story of her search for her husband's Irish roots in her article Moughty and Lynn of Westmeath posted at Donna's Genealogy Blog. Donna shares a portrait of a cousin of her father-in-law's whom she met on a recent trip to Ireland. According to Donna, "The resemblance between my father-in-law, Bernard Moughty and Jack Moughty of County Longford is uncanny." Visit her blog to learn the story of the Moughty clan of Westmeath.

I hope you have enjoyed paging through our "album" of stories about Irish folk hailing from various times and places. Please plan to join us for the upcoming 17th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. The topic will be Genealogy treasure "show and tell". For details visit Upcoming 17th edition: Genealogy treasure "show and tell" on the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture blog. Deadline for this upcoming edition is January 3, 2010. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Death comes in threes: The sorrows of Margaret Foley Cowhey, 1891-1895

Margaret Foley Cowhey was surely no stranger to the trials of motherhood. She and her husband had ten children. Before she gave birth to those children, she had become mother to at least four children from her husband's previous marriage.

Nothing, however, could have prepared this young woman, already such a seasoned mother at age 36, for the sorrows that faced her in three and half years during the early 1890s.

Margaret and her husband William Cowhey faced the loss of their youngest child Lena, age nine months, on October 7, 1891. The Pottsville Republican told the story the next day:


It states:
Lena, the infant daughter of William and Margaret Cowhey, of Mt. Carbon, died yesterday. The family have the sympathy of their neighbors at East Mt. Carbon. The interment will take place Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock.
*

Only a year later, William himself, a train engineer for the Reading Railroad, died tragically in a train engine boiler explosion that made headlines even in the New York Times:

Here is the text of the article:
FIVE KILLED BY AN EXPLOSION.
ENGINE ON THE READING RAILROAD TORN TO PIECES.
POTTSVILLE, Penn., Nov. 14.---On the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad at 2 o'clock this morning, at Conner's Crossing, a short distance north of Schuylkill Haven, the boiler of Mogul Engine No. 563 exploded, killing five men and probably fatally injuring another.

The killed are:
HENRY C. ALLISON, engineer, residing at Palo Alto; leaves wife.
WILLIAM MACKEY, fireman, Port Carbon; leaves wife and one child.
WILLIAM COWHEY, an engineer, on way home to Mount Carbon; leaves wife and ten children.
WILLIAM KENDRICK, conductor, of Port Carbon; leaves wife and four children.
WILLIAM MOYER, Cowhey's fireman, Palo Alto; single.
Michael Dobbins of Mount Carbon, a brakeman of Engineer Cowhey's crew, was badly scalded, and will probably die.

Engine No. 563 was north bound with a heavy train of empty cars. William Cowhey with his crew had brought up a train of empties, and, after running them into the Cressona yards, boarded Engine No. 563 at the Mine Hill Crossing with the intention of reaching their homes in that way, and as is customary took possession of the cab. Dobbins, who escaped instant death, was sitting on the tender.

The men had been on the engine barely two minutes when, without any warning, the terrible explosion occurred. The boiler and firebox were blown off the tracks, and the tracks were so badly damaged that traffic was considerably delayed. The north and south bound midnight Buffalo trains were compelled to run via the Little Schuylkill branch from Tamaqua to Port Clinton.

It is learned that the train had come to a standstill because of the lowness of steam and the blower had been on. It was during this process that the boiler exploded.

Company officials thoroughly examined into the cause of the accident, and this was made plain this afternoon when they loaded up the crown sheet and sent it to Palo Alto. On the crown sheet is unmistakable evidence that the explosion was caused by low water, as the iron is badly burned a deep blue color and the marks show just how high the water was. All railroad men after seeing this acknowledged that there was no other cause.
The New York Times, New York, NY 15 Nov 1892
(View the original article full size at The New York Times online archives.)

 *

William's untimely death left his 37-year-old wife Margaret a widow and the sole caretaker for eight children, according to Margaret's application for pension as widow of a Civil War veteran. The Record Proof of Births of Surviving Children of Soldier Under Sixteen Years of Age in William Cowhey's pension file (this document can be seen below - click to enlarge) includes the list of Margaret's living children from age fourteen down to eight months along with their birth and Baptism dates. (There were also two older children not covered by the pension.)


The children listed are Mary, Elizabeth, Thomas, Ambrose, Clara, Charles, Blanche and Isabella. The youngest was little Isabella, nicknamed Bella, whose death would bring great sorrow to her mother only two and a half years following William's death. 

*

I was shocked when I read the death register listing Bella's death that was sent to me at my request by the Schuylkill County Office of the Register of Wills. According to a handwritten family tree sent to me by a family member, I already had the estimated date of her death. When I read the information by Bella's name on the death register it took me a few moments to make sense of what I was reading.

Young Bella Cowhey had died on April 25, 1895 at the age of three years and two months. Cause of death according to the records: Burned. Duration of illness: Three days.

Not only had Margaret's youngest daughter suffered such a tragic and painful death, but her suffering and that of her family had been drawn out for three days - possibly the longest days of her poor mother's life. Below are copies of the death register. The information about Bella's death is highlighted in yellow and transcribed below. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)


Date of death: Apr 25, 1895
Place of death: N.E. Mannheim
Cause of death: Burned
Duration of illness: 3 days
Place of interment: No. 3 Cemetery
Date: Apr 27, 1895
Name of father: Wm Cowhey
Name of mother: Margaret Cowhey

Date of record: June 10, 1895
Name of deceased: Isabella Cowhey

Color: White
Sex: Female
Age: 3 yrs 3 mo
Place of birth: N.E. Mannheim

The document does not indicate additional details surrounding her death, besides Bella's place of burial. I can only imagine the circumstances that might have led to it. With so many children to care for and no longer a breadwinner in the family since her husband's death, Margaret must have been stretched incredibly thin as she struggled for the survival of her family.

Was one of her other children "on duty" at the time and tasked with watching young Bella? If so, how they must have been scarred for life as they relived the moment over the years. Regardless of how she was injured, the family suffered much, particularly Margaret, who had so recently grieved for her baby daughter Lena and for her husband William, and was struggling to provide for her family.

During the search for family history, there are those discoveries that provide a little bit of information, yet require much additional research to be made meaningful to the researcher. Then there are those documents or discoveries that shock our emotions and draw us back into time as we feel the sorrow and pain of those that have gone before us.

As a mother myself, I'm inspired by the story of my great-great-grandmother Margaret's life. Her sufferings help me to be thankful for the often overlooked blessings that each day holds, and inspire me to find strength for my own trials which pale in comparison to those that she suffered a little over one-hundred years ago.

Sources:
Lena Cowhey obituary, “Deaths and Funerals,” Pottsville Daily Republican, October 8, 1891, p. 4, col. 2.


“Five Killed by an Explosion: Engine on the Reading Railroad Torn to Pieces,” The New York Times, New York, New York, November 14, 1892, <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9E05E3DE1638E233A25756C1A9679D94639ED7CF&oref=slogin> or <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E05E3DE1638E233A25756C1A9679D94639ED7CF>, accessed March 5, 2008.


William Cowhey, (Pvt., Co. I., 16th Pa. Inf. Civil War), pension no. 700,145, certificates no. 565,914 and 376,459 Case Files of Approved Pension Applications, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Pennsylvania. Schuylkill County. Record of Deaths, 1895. "Isabella Cowhey". Schuylkill County Office of the Register of Wills, Pottsville.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wisdom of the past: The rite of "churching" new mothers

It was with great interest that I read the article in Rachel Murphy's Irish Family History blog about the rite of churching. "Churching" refers to the visit to the church and corresponding priestly blessing conferred upon a married woman after the birth of her child. It seems that this was a religious tradition carried on in past centuries. A beautiful idea, yet unfortunately it may have collected some superstitious beliefs along the way.

I revisited this article recently after the birth of my baby. It read:

‘Churching’ refers to a blessing that mothers were given following recovery from childbirth. After remaining at home for 4-6 weeks after giving birth, the woman would go to church where she would thank God for the safe delivery of her child and receive a blessing from the priest. Only married women were eligible for the blessing. They were to be appropriately dressed, and would carry a lighted candle. The priest would then mark the woman with the sign of the cross in holy water.

What struck me when I read this now, after some time has passed following the birth of my new baby, were the words 4-6 weeks. Remain at home for four to six weeks? What a joy that would have been! By the time my baby had reached that age, I had (with baby along, of course) attended the wedding of one family member and was getting ready to take a trip for another family member's wedding, made my way through the hospital several times with one of my other children who had a broken leg, celebrated my little one's Baptism (complete with party afterwards), hosted a birthday party for another child, and begun many of the routine errand-running that life requires.

How I would have liked to have a church-sanctioned reason to stay home for four to six weeks! I have often wondered how mothers have navigated through motherhood throughout the centuries. Life did not slow down for this mother of several children living in today's world. It seems that new motherhood may have been a little bit different for mothers of new babies in previous generations. Our modern disposable diapers and other conveniences (like car seats, strollers and baby carriers) make it too easy to be mobile too soon.

Several times after the birth of my little one I have wished that the world would stop for a few weeks so that I could enjoy my new baby without all the distractions of the rest of life. Too late I've discovered the excuse I should have used: the long-ago tradition of churching. It would have allowed me to tell friends and family, "Sorry, but I can't leave the house yet. It's not yet time for me to be 'churched'. I'm staying home with my baby."

Painting: Berthe Morisot's The Cradle, 1872.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Join us in creating an "album" of stories

The deadline for the upcoming 16th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, entitled Irish Portraits, is coming up on Sunday, November 1. Hope you'll join us in creating an "album" of stories about individuals with Irish heritage, photo or no photo. Here are the details:

Share with us a story about an Irishman or Irishwoman within your family tree. If you have a photograph of the ancestor, share it along with the story of their life (or a small and interesting portion of their life story). If you don't have a family member to write about, choose someone with Irish heritage and share their story.

Deadline for submissions to the Irish Portraits edition of the carnival is Sunday, November 1, 2009. This edition will be published at Small-leaved Shamrock on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 .

Looking forward to reading your stories!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Got a "weird and wonderful" Irish story in your family?

Here's a last minute project for you writers out there...

Eneclann is running a competition and has requested entrants to submit a short "weird and wonderful" Irish story that has been passed down through the generations. If you are interested in participating, check out the Folklore contest webpage and submit your entry by tomorrow, October 15.

Nothing like a swiftly approaching deadline to get the creative juices flowing, don't you think?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taking "baby steps" back into the blogosphere...

While I've been busy living in "babyland" and trying to keep up with the rest of life, the genealogy blogging world has been busy. I haven't quite been able to get fully back into the blogosphere yet, but I've made a few visits here and there.

On a visit this morning I learned that Small-leaved Shamrock had been chosen as one of the nominees in the running for Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 genealogy blogs. What a surprise to receive this honor! Thanks very much to those that nominated this humble little blog hiding out in my little corner of the web. Thanks also to my faithful readers who are patiently waiting for the full return of this Mommy back into the genealogy world.

If you are a fan of Small-leaved Shamrock, the proud birthplace of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, please take the time to vote for this blog in Family Tree Magazine's "Heritage" category (category number five). There are many more blogs of interest within the nominees, although I have many more favorites that didn't make the list. Stop by and cast votes for your personal favorites before the deadline passes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A few new books on good "ould Ireland"

Welcome to the very short and sweet 15th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture: the results of the 2nd annual Small-leaved Shamrock Summer Reading Challenge. As you may know by now, I've had very little time for reading and blogging this summer. In fact I've been spending more time gazing into my baby's eyes to see if he they develop into the "Irish eyes" of the family or not.

It seems that our readers have had their own difficulties finding time for the reading of good books on "ould Ireland". Whether because everyone has been busy as I have, or just because of the lack of reminders from me, we've had quite a few less submissions than last year's challenge. Here is this year's "short list" of recommended books of Irish reading for you to place on your nightstand for when you get around to picking up a good book.

Caroline Pointer shares with us the story of her 2nd great-grandmother who immigrated to New Orleans from Ireland in I'd Bet My Tin Cup on her Family Stories blog. Her search for the truth about the life of Annie O'Brien (supposedly a "strong-willed lady" who "had a penchant for Irish whiskey") led her to reading the book In Search of Ireland's Heroes...The Story of the Irish from the English Invasion to the Present Day written by Carmel McCaffrey. Visit Caroline's enjoyable article to find out what led her to this book and the insight it gave her into her ancestor's life.

McCaffrey seems to be a popular author. Jessica Oswalt of Jessica's Genejournal also shared one of her books with us for the carnival within her post An Early Irish History Book. She mentions In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins Of The Irish From Neolithic Times To The Coming Of The English by Carmel McCaffrey and Leo Eaton, which is the companion book to the PBS series of the same name (and the precursor to the book that Caroline recommends). These look like great resources on Irish history for all of us interested in Ireland.

What do you think of when you close your eyes and picture something related to Ireland? Evelyn Yvonne Theriault tells us about her image of Ireland and how it has changed since reading a book this summer on the history of the Emerald Isle. Visit How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill posted at A Canadian Family for her look at the book that broadened her horizons. As Evelyn says, "There's more to the Irish than shamrocks and leprauchauns!" This isn't the first time this book has been mentioned within our carnival. Visit Donna Pointkouski's review of the same book which was included in last year's Small-leaved Shamrock summer reading line-up.

"As genealogists and family historians, we all have reference books, but these are usually not the ones we choose to read for enjoyment. Historical novels, however, offer not only the enjoyment of reading, but help to understand the time period and location where the novel takes place," wrote Donna Moughty of Donna's Genealogy Blog. Her article Books, Ireland and Genealogy suggests several good historical novels on Ireland for readers to gain a better understanding of the past and how it has impacted the ways of the Irish people throughout the centuries.


Thanks for joining us for this, the 2nd Irish literature edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture (also known as the 15th carnival edition). I hope that you've found some new books to place on top of your reading pile. For more good reading, be sure to visit last year's 1st edition entitled Looking into the heart of Ireland.

You might also enjoy reading other "back issues" of our Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. Visit the left-hand sidebar of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture blog for the links to various issues.

Please plan to join us for the upcoming 16th edition of the carnival: Irish Portraits. See the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture blog for the details.

Antique map of Ireland courtesy of Kroll Map Company. Book image courtesy of Karen's Whimsy.

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