Today I’m embarking on a trip to Ireland and I’m very excited because I will be meeting my O’Rourke relatives, my Irish family, for the first time.
About this time last year, I was looking at new DNA matches on the FamilyTree DNA site when I came across a Mr. Tom O’Rourke. FTDNA estimated that Tom was a fourth cousin of mine. Figuring he was a man living in the United States, I got in contact with the administrator of Tom’s account who told me Tom was living in Ballintur, near Killowen, the same townland in Ireland where my great grandfather was born.
I was able to contact Tom’s daughter, Bernadette O’Rourke (now Bernadette Cousins), and we have been corresponding for a year. Bernadette lives on the property that is adjacent to my ancestor’s home. We’ve arranged a visit next week and I’m very excited to meet all of them.
Yes, they are distant relatives, but just to have a connection with a family that still lives where my great grandfather was born is very exciting to me. I have been searching for an O’Rourke relative for a number of years. Last time I visited Ireland, I visited a third cousin, Kieran Waters. Kieran lives in Newry, Northern Ireland, a few miles west of where my great grandfather was born. I will be meeting with Kieran as well and am looking forward to seeing him again.
If only it could rain like this in California in January. I was ill-prepared for the weather when I stepped out of the Dublin airport late yesterday morning. The rain was coming down in buckets and the cold penetrated my skin underneath my light sweater. I was only wearing a t-shirt under the sweater and my umbrella was packed away in my suitcase. What a difference between the warm, sunny weather I left in Ukiah. The the biggest shock of all was the air temperature — 45 degrees. It literally felt like a cold January rainstorm in Northern California, when it used to rain in California. I expected the rain, but not the cold. I had checked the Dublin weather before I left and it had been in the low sixties.
My flight was uneventful except that they somehow did not have me on the list to receive a vegetarian meal. Luckily, they had an extra one. I sat next to a French lady traveling to her home in Paris who barely spoke the entire trip. I managed to get a few hours sleep which is pretty good for me as I always have trouble sleeping on planes. I still have jet lag today as I only slept about four hours my first night in Dublin.