These old walls

Wednesday, 6 April, 2016
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Jamie Volk from Canada has inherited her grandfathers love for, and curiousity about his Irish Heritage.  Philip Donnelly emigrated from Ireland to Canada 60 years ago and has used his interest in Genealogy to create a way for people to discover and bring to life their Irish family history - all through their phone!

These old walls

Here Jamie tells us her plans to connect with her grandfather's parish of origin

My first visit as a tourist to Ireland was two years ago shortly after my 16th birthday. I was travelling with my Mom and younger brother.  We spent time with relatives in Dublin, and travelled by car through many counties in the provinces of Leinster and Munster. I’m still at school, and I expect to continue my education in Canada, although I will be applying to Trinity College Dublin, which I visited the first time I went to Ireland.

During my next tour– I plan to learn more about my Irish ancestral roots. So, I will be acting on the advice of Ireland Reaching Out to:

  • Discover your place of origin in Ireland
  • Stay connected to your home parish in Ireland
  • Be a part of the international Irish story

Fortunately, “there’s an app for that”.  It is  The ‘ancestral homes’ app was initiated and sponsored by my grandfather, Philip Donnelly, who emigrated from Ireland to Canada nearly 60 years ago. Thanks to this great new app, I will be able to pinpoint exactly what remains of These Old Walls, the home of my great-grandparents in Ireland.

One of my first destinations will be the historic parish of Moybolgue which straddles the border between County Meath and County Cavan and is within a few kilometers of the town of Bailieborough. This is the place of origin of one set of my maternal great-grandparents – within families named Donnelly and Tully. I know that the ruins of the thatched cottage where my great-grandmother, Alice Tully, was born in 1894, still exist at the end of a short and very narrow lane.

With the ‘ancestral homes’ app installed on my mobile phone, I will be able to record the precise GPS coordinates of the site, take photos, record stories about my ancestors’ lives  and the whereabouts of some of their descendants today, link to such genealogical resources as the 1901 and 1911 census, and upload all that data to the ‘ancestral homes’ database using either my phone or my computer and the

Ireland Reaching Out is a great way to bring back to Ireland the many thousands of descendants of Irish ancestors who are strongly motivated to search out the places of origin of their great- (or g-g-g-g)-grandparents. It is interesting to find a headstone in a cemetery marking the burial spots, but it is even more satisfying to actually visit, and record the memories of the homes where ancestors lived, loved, and died.

By making good use of my ‘ancestral homes’ app, I’m sure that I will enrich my experience and education when I visit Ireland again, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. I am confident that Ireland Reaching Out, and its members from every corner of the world, whether young or old, will find this app a helpful friend as they record the memories of These Old Walls: the Homes of their own great-grandparents – wherever they find them – and add another chapter to the international Irish story.