I woke very early as I was excited to be coming back to Dublin. We had visited this city some ten years before, and since then I had done extensive research into it’s history.
On our last visit I had felt at home in this city, and we had walked many of its streets and visited a number of the sites, including the National Archives and Library, and had even viewed the National treasure, ‘The Book of Kells’.
The highlight of our previous visit had been to meet with ‘cousins’ on my paternal line. My paternal grandfather, William Growcock, emigrated from Ireland in 1891 and I had tracked down many of his relatives, including those who had remained in Ireland. We had corresponded for nearly thirty years before we were able to meet face-to-face ten years ago. These days e-mail, Facebook and Skype are a great ways to keep in touch.
When we decided to visit Britain and Europe this year, and found the cruise ship was visiting Dublin for the day, we made plans with these cousins again.
The Marco Polo docked at the quayside early. The weather was warm and sunny.
After breakfast we were able to go ashore and board the free ‘shuttle’ bus service made available to cruise passengers. The bus dropped us off in Kildare Street, near the National Library.
A number of Unlockthepast cruise participants went to the National Library to attend a presentation by Carmel McBride, the research manager of ‘Enclann’ a professional research company based in Ireland. This had been kindly organized by one of our cruise lecturers. Carmel’s talk was an introduction to the library and their records for those who wanted to do research while there.
I certainly would have booked on this tour, if I had not be meeting with my cousins.
We decided to use the same landmark as of our last meeting, the ‘Spire.’
The Spire, is a large stainless steel, pin-like monument of more than 120 metres tall located in O’Connell Street, opposite the General Post Office, the scene of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Until 1966, Nelson’s Pillar had stood here, but was destroyed following the bombing by former IRA members. It was replaced by the Anna Livia monument, which stood there for a number of years before it was moved and replaced by the Spire in 2002. It can been seen all over Dublin.
We had arrived there shortly before the appointed time, but it was not long before I saw the party of four, coming towards us. After we had exchanged greetings, we found a quiet little tea-room where we ordered morning tea, of freshly baked scones with blueberries and cream and a welcome pot of tea. Shortly afterwards we were joined by another cousin from a more distant branch of the family.
What a wonderful few hours we had, exchanging information, family documents and photos. Just one of those days you wish would never end, but of course it has to.We were reluctantly finally ‘dropped off’ back in Kildare Street, to catch the shuttle bus back to the ship.
There I went to join Helen Smith in the Research Help Zone. Helen has family from Kent and has much experience in research there. Although I have many years of experience there also, I have not been successful in locating some 17th Century Wills , and thought she may have been able to suggest some avenues. We discussed several possibilities, but finally came to the conclusion, that for some reason, there may not have been any ‘Wills’ in the first place, however, I should not completely give up the quest, because there are sometimes those wonderful serendipitous miracles that ‘drop in your lap’ from ‘out of the blue’.
In the evening there were two lectures offered, unfortunately both on at the same time, with ‘Genealogy on the go with the ipads and tablets by Lisa Cooke and ‘How to make your on-line searching more effective’, by Mike Murray. I went to listen to Lisa Cooke as I have both a mini-ipad and an android tablet, which I am beginning to use for organizing my research in the field. I have to admit I am often ‘technology challenged’ with all these new gadgets, but I have grandchildren, who can help me when I’m stuck.
After dinner I spent the ‘free time’ going through photos the cousins had shared. I had not seen these family photos before, including photos of my grandfather’s younger brother and his wife, and one of three of their sisters.
It had been a long and busy day in Dublin, but it could not have been better