Hello Kevin, and thank you for writing! Perhaps we are Thornton "cousins" because I'm told that this surname is quite rare in Ireland. My great-great grandmother Bridget Thornton would have likely been born in the early 1840's (so a different generation than your Belinda). But perhaps there is a clue here.
I can find no trace of the fate of my Bridget Thornton ... no date of death or place of burial. I connected with another Ford(e) family in Easkey decades ago and we had a working theory that my Bridget died in childbirth giving life to my great-grandfather, Patrick (born 1866), leaving John Ford to re-marry a woman named Bridget White who is documented on the Easkey- Forde family tree. But it was strange that there seemed to be no record of her death.
Then a few years ago, we compared the DNA from my father, Eugene Ford in the USA, with the patriach of the Forde's in Easkey (another Eugene by coincidence) and found there was NO CONNECTION! So my brick wall remains very tall as I wonder which other Ford family my great-grandfather Patrick was born from and which one JOHN Ford?? I would love to compare DNA with any of the Thorntons still living in the area, as well as other Ford's outside of Easkey. Hoping someone will see my posting on this site and be willing to participate in a genetic comparison. I'm in desperate need of a new clue!
Also hoping that someone recongizes my great-grandparents' names and knows the oral history that will finally solve my mystery! I have been searching for this answer for nearly 40 years now!
By the way, I had never heard of Belinda as a nickname for Bridget -- perhaps my brick wall is due to a nickname that I don't recognize. Thanks for sharing this!
How fortunate that you were able to travel to County Sligo and meet relatives! How long ago were you there?