Tracing your roots!
So everyone wants a bit of the Irish, well, we’ve just learned that world famous actor Mr Tom Cruise recently traced his Irish roots back to Anglo-Norman times. Cruise, who was aware that he had family links to County Roscommon, recently found out that his great-great-great grandfather Patrick Russell Cruise, who had gone to America, returned to Westmeath when he learnt that his tenants had been evicted. After he restored them, the town of Clonmellon honoured Cruise with a public dinner.
Thanks to the website: http://www.thegatheringireland.com, here are a few tips to get you started on tracing your Irish ancestors. Who knows what you’ll discover!
1. We all know about the many genealogy websites that can help you with your family tree, but expert genealogist Megan Smolenyak tells us that the best place to start is offline. “A lot of us are sitting on tons of information and of course, your older relatives are living libraries. They have stuff locked up in their brains that you want to make sure you capture,” she advises.
2. After digging around in real life, you can go digital and check out public archives online. The National Archives of Ireland (www.nationalarchives.ie) holds the 1901 and 1911 censuses as well as estate records, parish records and marriage licenses. The Archives also offer an in-person Genealogy Service to help first-time researchers.
3. If you’re tracing your Irish roots, a visit to The National Library of Ireland (www.nli.ie) can help too. The Library holds Catholic Parish Registers, newspapers and heraldry records, which can all be useful in building your family tree. If you need a bit of help, the Library also provides a free Genealogy Advisory Service, which is aimed at people beginning their research.
4. Don’t forget about non-governmental resources. A while back we talked to Eibhilin Roche of the Guinness Archive, which is open to the public and available at www.Guinness-Storehouse.com. “The archive is such a valuable source of family information,” she says. “Especially when it comes to family history, there are so many doors and so many avenues that can open up.” The company’s personnel records can include documents like birth certificates, employment applications, army regiment details and more.
5. If you need a hand from people who are passionate about Irish ancestry, try Ireland Reaching Out, an organisation that focuses on reverse genealogy research, meaning people in Ireland sift through records and find the descendants of people from their communities. Additionally, Ireland XO, as it’s known, helps you connect with your ancestral homes through its many Week of Welcomes.
6. Another organisation that you should check out is the Glasnevin Museum (www.glasnevinmuseum.com), which chronicles the history of Ireland through the 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery since its establishment in 1832. The museum is hosting a number of special Family Week gatherings throughout the year for people of specific family names, such as Kennedy, O’Connor and Byrne.
6. Irish genealogist Helen Kelly also suggests taking a look at Griffith’s Valuation, an extensive record of Irish property published between 1847 and 1864. Kelly says that although most of our ancestors didn’t own their land, these records, which cover the entire island, provide details on tenants as well. “Most members of the diaspora are likely to find someone in Griffith's Valuation and that’ll help them to determine whether there are ancestors still there in the area,” Kelly explains. Griffith's Valuation is available online atwww.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation.
7. Finally, if you get stuck in your research, Megan Smolenyak suggests sitting back and letting your ancestors come to you, so to speak. She explains: “You’d be surprised how many times when you really have done everything you possibly can think of that all of a sudden an email will fall out of the sky from some posting you did six months ago that you’d forgotten about; some little clue will happen; a new record set will be released; or you’ll be using a new newspaper site and trip across an article on your ancestor or something.”
In Ireland preparation for Easter usually starts on the first day of Lent, forty days before . From the first day of Lent Irish people would usually also “give up” something they cherish such as a favourite food, alcohol, cigarettes or and even television.
On Good Friday many people would attend confessions asking for forgiveness, have their hair cut, nails trimmed and would also shop for new clothes to be worn to Easter mass.
Easter Sunday is an occasion for Christians to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred after his crucifixion according to Christian belief. Many people in Ireland spend the day with family and friends.
Young lambs, spring flowers, eggs and birds are generally symbols of Easter in Ireland. As in many other countries, Easter eggs made of chocolate or candy are popular. Traditionally, people will wear new clothes on Easter Sunday. It is not uncommon for young girls to wear green hair ribbons, a yellow dress, and white shoes. Others may pin little crosses made of green, yellow and white ribbons on their right sleeves. These colours and new clothes signify purity and a new start to life.
Public life is generally quiet on Easter Sunday. As on all Sundays, banks, post offices and many businesses and organizations are closed. Stores and pubs may be open or closed, even if they are usually open on Sundays. Public transport usually runs to a normal Sunday timetable and congestion is unlikely.
The May Bank Holiday sees the start of Summer, and Drogheda kicks off the festival season with artists converging on the town for a fun-filled, thought-provoking and heart-skipping weekend. The 2013 Drogheda Arts Festival will take place in the town of Drogheda and surrounding areas from Friday May 3rd to Monday May 6th. It will feature an array of exciting events including visual art, theatre, dance, traditional music, comedy, street spectacle, classical music, circus and lots more. Book your accommodation at Newgrange Lodge today and make us the base for you to enjoy this exciting festival weekend!
So Newgrange, what is it?
Constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), Newgrange is infact older than Stonehengein England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt! It is believed to have been built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley.
Interestingly, archaeologists have classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognised to be much more than a passage tomb. And that it is! Ancient Temple is perhaps a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance.
So what does it actually look like? Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, many of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labour invested in construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialised groups responsible for different aspects of construction. (Remember there was no machinery or cranes back then!!)
Newgrange is part of a complex of monuments built along a bend of the River Boyne known collectively as Brú na Bóinne. The other two principal monuments are Knowth (the largest) and Dowth, but throughout the region there are as many as 35 smaller mounds.
If you are considering visiting these amazing ancient sites, be sure to make Newgrange Lodge your base, we offer a range of double, twin, triple, family and multi-bedded rooms in modern, comfortable surroundings.
St Patricks Day! What does this day symbolize for you? For many years the tradition on St Patricks Day was for spiritual renewal and offering of prayers for missionaries worldwide. People came together and celebrated St Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. Now in the 21st century traditions and beliefs seemed to have changed and the gap between generations is apparent when it comes to celebrating St Patricks Day and what was once traditionally a religious day is now a day of celebration and festivities.
St Patricks Day March 17th is recognized all around the world and its interesting to see how different cultures celebrate this religious holiday. For the thousands of people who have immigrated to pastures new celebrating St Particks Day allows them to connect with fellow migrants and it unites people who's paths may not have crossed otherwise.
What will you be doing this St Patricks Day? Will you be celebrating overseas, Will you be attending the local parade or will you be celebrating it's intended meaning. Here at Newgrange Lodge we will be busy preparing for the coming season ahead. We welcome both national and international travelers and if you are looking for somewhere to stay then why not consider Newgrange Lodge here in the heart of The Boyne Valley.
Share your thoughts with us on St Patricks Day and let us know what you will be doing to celebrate.