Meeting my Irish family

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.

Irish family
This is my Irish family. This was taken when another relative from the United States was visiting a few weeks ago (the woman in orange). Tom O’Rourke is the man in the blue shirt. Bernadette is in the photo at the top next to the woman in the orange shirt.

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.

I will let everyone know how it turns out Continue reading “Meeting my Irish family”

Jet lag, weather and civil rights my first day in Dublin

I listened to these Irish musicians at O'Flaherty's Pub in Temple Bar.
I listened to these Irish musicians at O’Flaherty’s Pub in Temple Bar.

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.

After arriving, Tony the taxi driver picked me up at the airport and it was good to see him again. He dropped me off at the Kilronan house, a guest house near St. Stephens Green. It’s in the Georgian part of Dublin among row houses with colorfully painted doors. It’s a very pretty part of the city. My room is nice, but it’s as big as a closet. Continue reading “Jet lag, weather and civil rights my first day in Dublin”