iwiKiwi

A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Category: Places (Page 2 of 5)

Brosnan Clan Gathering, Castleisland, Co Kerry

This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series The Brosnahans of Temuka

The East Kerry Roots Festival & Brosnan Clan Gathering was held in Castleisland, Co Kerry, over four days last weekend.  I am still trying to recover!

It was a fabulous event, well-organised and offering a whole range of walks, talks and everything in between.  By a stroke of pure luck, I ended up in the same bed & breakfast establishment as a (previously unmet) third cousin and his wife from New Zealand, as well as two lovely women travelling on their own like me.

There didn’t seem to be any time to rest at all over the four days – the festival programme was jam-packed with events and you didn’t want to miss out on anything.  For me the highlights were:

  • hearing one of my favourite poems read in the original Irish at the poetry reading session
  • Seán Brosnahan’s illuminating talk on Irish emigration to New Zealand in the 19th century
  • learning to play the bodhrán, bones and spoons
  • story-telling and songs at the rambling house in Farranfore on Friday night
  • the polka and sean nós dancing workshop
Maura's Rambling House, Farranfore

Maura’s Rambling House, Farranfore

And, of course, not forgetting  the bus trips to traditional villages and graveyards in the area, Saturday night’s festival banquet, Mass on Sunday morning at Currow, and the bog walk in Kilcummin.  Top of the list has to be meeting so many wonderful people, both local and from further afield.  There were over 20 Brosnahans from New Zealand alone!  (Pokarekare Ana was sung many times over the course of the weekend.)

There were opportunities to chat to local genealogy experts, but I spent most of my time enjoying the cultural activities and exploring the area my ancestors left a century and a half ago.

Music workshop at O'Riada's, Ballymacelligot

Music workshop at O’Riada’s, Ballymacelligott

Unfortunately I had to leave on Sunday afternoon to catch my flight home from Cork, so missed out on the farewell concert, but I heard it was fantastic!

My only suggestion would be to have a larger pub/venue for the some of the evening events.  For instance, the Poet’s Inn is a lovely wee pub in Castleisland, but couldn’t fit us all in on the Thursday evening.

My special thanks has to go to Joan, one of the festival organisers, who was so helpful before the weekend, putting me in touch with a relation from the area.  I think this is what made the gathering so special – we were all made to feel very welcome, even before we’d set foot in Ireland, by the locals and organisers alike.  Thanks also to Maggie, our terrific guide on many of the tours.

Bog walk, Kilcummin

Bog walk, Kilcummin

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Brosna, Co Kerry, Ireland ~ Wordless Wednesday

This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series The Brosnahans of Temuka
Brosna, ancestral home of the Brosnahans?

Brosna, ancestral home of the Brosnahans?

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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In celebration of Marriage ~ Wedding Wednesday

A post to commemorate the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill in New Zealand today, which ensures that all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity will have the opportunity to marry if they so choose (and in doing so, will create some interesting scenarios for us family historians!).

The wedding of William Hally and Margaret Gaffaney, 20 November 1900.  This photo was taken in front of Belper House, the home of Margaret's parents, Michael and Margaret.

The wedding of William Hally and Margaret Gaffaney, 20 November 1900. This photo was taken in front of Belper House, the home of Margaret’s parents, Michael and Margaret, in Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ.  (Larger version 1.4Mb)

Wedding Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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Journey to Ypres, Belgium

I tagged a visit to Ypres onto a weekend trip to see friends in Belgium. Having never been, I was keen to see the area where my cousin Peter (first, thrice removed) had fought during World War I and find out a bit about life on the Western Front.

After leaving Brussels at midday on Easter Sunday, our first stop was at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.  It was here I was hoping to learn more about the New Zealand Division’s role in the area, and in that respect I was a little disappointed.  To be fair, our journey through the exhibits was at the speed of a four year old’s attention span, so I couldn’t stop and linger,  but I didn’t see a huge amount about the Kiwi involvement.  I guess, (as my husband pointed out), the New Zealanders were a very small number compared to other nationalities, even though the battles here at Passchendaele included the “blackest day” in NZ history.

Replica of a command post in the tunnels - Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

Replica of a command post in the tunnels – Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

On the lower floor of the museum is a replica dugout and tunnel system with (a bit scary for the kids) sound effects – I found this section fascinating (and please excuse the dodgy photography).

Bunks in the tunnels - Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

Bunks in the tunnels – Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

The small bookshop was a surprise – a great array of books available on a New Zealand theme and I had to stop myself from grabbing the lot!  I restrained myself to just one:  Massacre at Passchendaele: The New Zealand Story by Glyn Harper.   The other thing I bought was a Zonnebeke trench map (28 N.E. 1, Edition 7. A Scale 1: 10,000), in the hopes that it would be useful as a guide while reading historical accounts of the battles in the area. Plus, I love maps.

Outside the museum it looks like some construction work is underway, and I wonder if it is part of the outside trench replica that I’d read about, which will be completed for the 2014 commemorations.  If you’re bringing kids, it might be an idea to pick up food/snacks on your way, as the onsite eating options are limited and a bit pricey. Our kids, fueled by a breakfast of chocolate Easter eggs, turned up their noses at the gloriously green gloop offered at the bar (a very tasty chervil soup, though it sounded like the waitress called it “gerbil soup” which worried me initially – I had to check that it was  “vegetarian”) and consoled themselves with freshly baked bread.

Before we headed to Ypres, we managed to find the New Zealand memorial at ‘s Gravenstafel, just outside Zonnebeke, which commemorated the Kiwi involvement in the Battle of Broodseinde on October 4th, 1917.

New Zealand Memorial, 's Gravenstafel, Zonnebeke

New Zealand Memorial, ‘s Gravenstafel, Zonnebeke

This Monument marks the site of
Gravenstafel which on October the 4th
1917 was captured by the New Zealand
Division as part of a General Advance
towards Passchendaele

“From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth”

My daughter placed a small remembrance cross at the foot of the memorial.

There were many other places I wanted to stop at, including Tyne Cot cemetery, but unfortunately rumbling young tummies forced us on to Ypres.

Our hotel for the night was located on Grote Markt in the centre of town,  and after filling up on dinner and waffles (not necessarily in that order), we walked to the Menin Gate for 8pm to hear the Last Post.  Completed in 1927, the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and who have no known graves.  Nearly 55,000 names are inscribed on the memorial, and if a soldier’s remains are found and identifed, his name is removed.  Except during the German occupation of the town in World War II, the Last Post has been played every night at the Menin Gate since 1928, as an expression of gratitude by the people of Ypres to all those who gave their lives for Belgium’s freedom.

It was a cold but beautiful clear night, and the trumpet sound filled the air and lingered over us.  Gets me every time I hear it.  (I had to turn around and ‘shhh’ at a man talking through it  – even my kids were quiet, so not sure why he needed to be yapping on!)   A special wreath-laying took place afterwards, accompanied by bagpipes.  I didn’t recognise the first piece that was played, but the second was ‘Amazing Grace’. Again, very moving.

Last Post at Menin Gate, Ypres - March 2013

Last Post at Menin Gate, Ypres – March 2013

The next morning my 8 year old son and I took off to see In Flanders Fields museum, a few minutes walk from the hotel.  It’s an amazing place, telling many personal stories in an audiovisual way that both of us enjoyed. (I don’t think my 6 and 4 year olds would have liked it as much, however.) We climbed the bell tower  and braved the freezing wind to take in the views over Ypres and beyond.  There are further developments at the museum planned in time for next year’s commemorations.

View over Grote Markt towards Menin Gate, from bell tower, Ypres

View over Grote Markt towards Menin Gate, from bell tower, Ypres

Before we left Ypres, I visited Menin Gate again to view some of the names there of the missing, but didn’t find any New Zealanders.  Later, I found out that the names of the NZ missing are listed elsewhere. Doh!  (The New Zealand Remembrance & Battlefield Tours website has a great list of Kiwi-related memorials and cemeteries.)

There are so many sites to visit and we had so little time, but our quick look has made me excited to read up more and then visit again. Soon!

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Menin Gate, Ieper/Ypres, Belgium ~ Wordless Wednesday

 

Menin Gate, Ieper/Ypres - April 2013

Menin Gate, Ieper/Ypres – April 2013

Menin Gate, Ieper/Ypres - April 2013

Menin Gate, Ieper/Ypres – April 2013

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, England ~ Wordless Wednesday

 

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham - June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham – June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham - June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham – June 2012

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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St Mark’s church, Remuera, Auckland, NZ ~ Wordless Wednesday

St Mark's, Remuera, Auckland, NZ

St Mark's, Remuera, Auckland, NZ

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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Arohanui, Christchurch

On February 22nd 2011 at 12.51pm (NZDT), an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit Christchurch, New Zealand, causing the deaths of 185 people.

These postcards are from the album of my grandmother, Agnes Majella (Burke) Gaffaney, who was born, raised and buried in Christchurch.

Roman Catholic Cathedral, Christchurch, NZ 7582

Roman Catholic Cathedral, Christchurch, NZ 7582

Cathedral Square, Christchurch, NZ 7869

Cathedral Square, Christchurch, NZ 7869

Worcester Street, from Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 7875

Worcester Street, from Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 7875

Worcester Street, from Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 7875

Worcester Street, from Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 7875

Aerial View, Christchurch, NZ 7125 "National Publicity Studios Photo"

Aerial View, Christchurch, NZ 7125 “National Publicity Studios Photo”

 

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Mill Road, Waimate

Margaret, Dominic and Peter Gaffaney, Mill Road, Waimate

Margaret, Dominic and Peter Gaffaney, Mill Road, Waimate

My great grandparents Peter Dominic and Margaret (O’Rourke) Gaffaney, along with their son Michael Dominic, moved to Waimate in 1919, where they lived at this house they named “Clonmel”  in Mill Road.

Gaffaney home, Mill Road, Waimate

Gaffaney home, Mill Road, Waimate

I didn’t know which number in Mill Road the house was, and couldn’t find it using Google Maps, so when my parents and I visited Waimate last month, it was a matter of cruising (very slowly) up and down the road.

Mill Road house, Waimate ~ January 2012

Mill Road house, Waimate ~ January 2012

We found it!  It was difficult to spot initially because of all the trees in front of the house, but the distinctive woodwork over the verandah gave it away.

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St Patrick’s church, Waimate, South Canterbury, NZ

St Patrick's church, Waimate (photo probably taken 1920s)

St Patrick's church, Waimate (photo probably taken 1920s)

St Patrick's church, Waimate ~ January 2012

St Patrick's church, Waimate ~ January 2012

St Patrick’s church in Waimate was opened on October 24th, 1909, replacing the original church that had been built in 1876 of local heart timber.  It was renovated in 1954. ( The original church was moved to Washdyke in 1934, where it remains today.)1

  1. Waimate District Council, “Waimate Churches“, (http://www.waimatedc.govt.nz/Waimate/Community/waimatechurches.htm : accessed 19 Feb 2012).
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