ARCHIVE VISIT TO DUBLIN
5 July, 2015
I will be seeing Patricia again as she is also coming to Dublin for the Archives visit and arrives tomorrow. We have become dear friends in this last week. I will miss them both when I return to Australia.
I had planned to catch the 11am train but I had been misinformed. The trains run less frequently on a Sunday so I took the 12.20pm from Cork and arrived in Dublin at 2.40pm. I chatted with a lovely lady called Anna-Maree who was visiting Dublin for the afternoon. The time just flew.
When I arrived at Heuston Railway Anna-Maree helped me with my baggage and I hailed a taxi quickly as it was starting to drizzle. I headed straight for Trinity College where I am boarding for the week.
By the time I arrived The sun was shining and I was able to appreciate the beauty of this University in all it’s glory. This place is huge! I had the Porter DRIVE me in a mini van to my room along with my luggage and then lug it up a flight of stairs for me (no lifts here).
I promptly got lost getting OUT of the University so I decided I had better take an orientation tour. Now I have my bearings! I learned a few things too.
That the Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and is the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The 9th century book is a richly decorated copy of the 4 Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. This book is held in the Old Library.
About all the famous people who have attended Trinity. I learned that the reason the trees grow so large is not just because of the rain and the protection of buildings but also because they are planted in the college green where the historical cemetery used to be.
And that Grafton Street Dublin is a busy street at dinner time and that it is nye on impossible to cross. Lucky there was a nice restaurant on this side of the street!
Tomorrow will be a very exciting day for me because I will find out if John Prendergast drew up a will and I will get to read it if is held in the Registery of Deeds. I hope that by reading it I can put flesh on the bones of my ancestor and learn something about his family.
6 July, 2015
It was pouring rain when I got up and I initially thought “I am going to be wet all day!” But the Irish take the rain into account and build beautiful big buildings with lots of shelter so apart from the mile long walk from my room to the Archway at the front of Trinity college where my trusty raincoat and umbrella did get wet, I stayed dry all day.
My Expert Genealogist, John Nangle met me at the Trinity Archway at 10.30am and transfered me to the Registery of Deeds office. Once there we were met by Vincent who explained for my benefit the number code on each entry in the quaintly nick-named Tomb Stones or book of Deeds.
What a difference it made on a Bespoke visit. Where it would take me days to collect and colate this information, within 1/2 hour we had found the first Prendergast Deed and by lunch time we had found 3! I am going to keep you in suspense until later in the week before revealing the contents of each because, before I make any grand declarations, I want to cross reference them with other information.
This afternoon I visited the National Archives where I began to read the Rebellion papers state of the county papers, calendars, prisoner petitions and the card indexes 1790-1805 which covers the area I am researching. Because the NAI close at 5pm my research was cut short, so now that I know what I am looking for I will re-visit them in my own time later this week.
This evening we visited the National Library and I was able to get my readers card in readiness for my visit on Wednesday following the function to launch the Catholic Parish Registers at 1pm.
7 July, 2015
Lorna Moloney, Director of Irish. Ancestree accompanied us to the Long Room of The Old Library at Trinity college this morning. The old building was built between 1712 and 1732 to the design of Thomas Burgh.
The main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room, is nearly 65 Metres in length, and houses around 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. it is a truly beautiful timber building with that glorious smell of old books!
I had been chasing the manuscript for Pender’s Census and have been told it is now held in the National Archives. I will visit later in the week as although it is on line, nothing beats seeing the authentic manuscript.
This afternoon we visited the Gro to learn more about indexing and authenticating documents. A very necessary element of Genealogy.
Still on the hunt for documents related to John Prendergast, I visited the beautiful National Library, an elaboratly decorated round building, to investigate Wills that have passed through probate. Although there were about 20 Prendergast in the book of titled, noble and gentry written by Sir Vickers, I have yet to find out whether John Prendergast made and memorialized his will.
This evening we dined in luxurious style at the very posh Shellbourne Hotel.
The meal was beautifully “plated up” and delicious. We were seated with our wonderful Eileen M. O Duill CG, Sean O Duill and Sean Murphy, all brilliant expert Genealogists in their fields of expertise.
Tomorrow is a “red letter day”.The launch of the Parish Registers is due to occur at 1pm The Prime minister of Ireland along with many other dignitaries will officiate. And I will be there too! I am so excited.
8 July, 2015
For what has to be the highlight of my trip so far, the chance to meet and shake the hand of the Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny MD, takes some beating.
The scene was set at the National Library of Ireland this afternoon for the launch of the Catholic parish Registers. A soft blue light aluminated the entrance foyer with white balloons tastfully hung. There were about 200 invited guests, the cream of the Genealogy world. Archivists, Historians, Genealogists and many other celebrities in this field were all invited guests. And me. I mingled with the guests whilst enjoying freshly cut sandwiches and delicious Irish cakes. A cup of Tea was very welcome.
Once the Prime Minister arrived and following his Interviews for Television and Radio along with photo shoot, in the anti-room, he was escorted into the foyer proper and was introduced and spoke Passionately about the wonderful new developments. He proudly launched the Catholic registers website and talked of it’s benefit to Ireland and the rest of the world. He thanked the Catholic church for minding the records so carefully and explained that after the Four Courts burning in 1922 wnen most of the records were destroyed, that had it not been for the Catholic church, most of Irish Records would have been lost.
The NLI head thanked all the staff.
As Prime Minister Kenny joined the crowd to mingle amongst us, I was surprised when he approached me to say hello. I took the opportunity to make a little speech and to present him with a Qantas Kangaroo Lapel Pin. I said “On behalf of all Australians with Irish Ancestors I would like to thank you for your support and congratulate you on the launch of the Irish Catholic Parish Registers. I would like to present you with this Qantas Kangaroo pin Which is an icon of Australia that I hope you will wear with pride”. He asked me what I was doing in Ireland and I told him about my genealogy research. I mentioned that my 5x Grandfather John Prendergast was baptised in Dublin. I told him how kind St. Nicholas of Myra Archivist Sarah had been to us when my dad was so gravely ill. and that she ensured that John Prendergast’s Baptism certificate had been sent to us just before Dad had died. He accepted the Qantas Kangaroo pin, gave me a hug and shook my hand. He assured me that he would wear the pin with pride. He then went on to mingle, hug and shake hands with nearly everone present.
Before we went to the NLI, Lorna and Patricia and I had enjoyed morning tea at Buswell’s Hotel, a beautiful venue for tea. We had visited the National Museum where I was given an email address to enquire about the provenance of the Irish Christening Mug. I was told by Maeve that at the Museum of Ireland only Archaelogists work and not Silver valuers. I will contact the Decorative Arts Museum and include a photo to seek their advise. I have heard nothing yet from the British Museum.
9 July, 2015
This morning I awoke to beautiful blue skies and a crisp but sunny day. I felt that this was fortunate as I knew I was in for a very emotional day.
Along with many hilarious sayings, the Irish also have an expression for emotional Women. Women who cry when they are happy and cry when they are sad. They say “She was born with her bladder too close to her eyes” Today I was that woman.
I had planned to visit St. Nicholas of Myra church at Francis Street, Dublin to say “Thank you” to the archivist Sarah. After all, she ensured that we had Dad’s 4x Grandfather ‘s Baptism certificate. It arrived just days before Dad died. I planned to later travel to Glasnevin Cemetery to pay my respects to Prendergast family members.
After breakfast at “Buttery” Restaurant, the reasonably priced Student dining Hall, I followed Sarah’s instructions and enjoyed a lovely stroll to St. Nicholas of Myra Church. I passed Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral and ventured into the Liberties known for being the area in Dublin where all the Weavers worked.
When I approached St. Nicholas Church I immediately thought how sad that it is set back and not on a main road. However, under penal law, Catholic churches in Ireland were not allowed to be built in main areas and only barely tolerated in the side lanes.
In the courtyard of the church there is a lovely statue of St. Nicholas with a child scooped up in his arms. You might remember that St. Nicholas is Santa Clause.
On entering the church Sarah was waiting for me. She rushed over with a lovely warm smile and a big hug and asked after Mum. I in turn passed on Mum’s warm wishes.
Sarah left me to take a look around the church on my own. And I was grateful that she did. Luckily there was just one old lady seated in the pews (and hopefully deaf) because the flood gates opened! I don’t know whether it was the beauty of this lovely church, the soft music playing in the background or the sense that my Dad was walking beside me and holding my hand. It could have been the fact that dating back to at least 1704 we have family members who worshipped here, were Baptised here, Married here and Buried here. This is our Irish Catholic family church.
When Sarah returned she proudly showed me the magnificent room that holds the Baptismal Font where John Prendergast was baptised in 1767, his father Patrick Prendergast in 1743 and his father Richard Prendergast in 1704.
I met father Martin Dolan who said a special Mass at 10am and later I lit a candle for Dad. It was such a special day for me and hard to leave.
Feeling a bit lost, I wandered down Francis Street and discoverd that it is filled with the most beautiful Antique shops.
On the chance that I could gleen some information on the Irish Christening Mug that seems to have all the experts stumped, I walked into one Antique shop and was referred to the Fine Arts dealer 5 doors up. When I showed the photo of the Mug that I explained was no longer in my family, the first thing he said to me in a very solemn tone was “This should never have left Ireland. It is a museum quality piece and should be on show for all to see” He then went on to repeat what the expert from Antiques Roadshow said and also add that the dog and the Griffin on the handles were symbolic of protection. I feebly apologised and left. I could tell he was fuming!
I walked in to Dublin Castle to enquire about incarceration records for the Rebels of the 1798 Rebellion. I found out that Australian bound Rebel convicts were held at Mount Joy prison quite a way from here. I decided it was time for lunch and enjoyed a delicious “Plat du Jour” (dish of the day) at a lovely French Bistro nearby called Chez Max and was able to practise my French Language. I will need it in just 9 days time when I visit France.
It has long bothered me that we have no records of Catherine my 5x Grandmother, John Prendergast’s wife who disappears from the records when baby John is born in 1800. I would love to get to know what happened to her. She is a valuable member of our family.
In the afternoon I decided the easiest way to visit Glasnevin Cemetery was by the hop on-hop off bus that took me straight to the door. When I arrived I was referred to the resident Genealogist Lin who consulted with me, cross referrenced all the information on her data base and came up with a very possible match to our missing Catherine.
There is no birth date which may well mean that her body was returned from Australia to be re-interred, she is recorded as being buried the same day as she supposedly died with no added notation. The family home given as her address is within St. Nicholas of Myra Parish. The date is within the correct time frame and as Lin stated, she came from a wealthy family as their Tomb is quite large and it includes several members as well as what appears to be staff and servants. Several of the Prendergast family members she is interred with bear the family Christian names. This will require further investigation.
I purchased a copy of the records from Lin and then walked around the cemetery until I reached plot number K64. This took some doing as nothing is in a straight line and even then there was so much Lichen on the Head stone it made it hard to read. And, no, for those who have been following my blog, I did not have a large enough mirror with me to read it!
I did notice two similarities to John Prendergast’s family vault in Windsor Australia and this tomb.1. It included several Prendergast family members and 2. It seems to be away from other graves and directly under a tree. I took heaps of photos so perhaps some-one reading this and looking at the photos might be able to transcribe the headstone. If you can please make a comment.
10 July, 2015
Today has been a wind down day after all the emotion of yesterday. It is also my last day in Dublin for this leg of the trip. I do return at a later date but I won’t confuse you with the details.
This morning was actually very humid so it was a good time to go shopping in Grafton Street and venture into some very elite airconditioned stores. I just had to have a little bit of retail therapy!
This afternoon, as pre-arranged, I travelled to the Registery of Deeds by taxi to collect the Registered Deeds of a property deal. I was advised by the Trinity Security Guard against walking to the Registery of Deeds as it is not a safe neighbourhood.
Much to my annoyance when I got there I discovered that the Deed has been posted to Australia! I had hoped to reveal it’s contents to you but that will have to wait until I see it. I also wasted about $25 on Taxi fares.
Well dear family and friends, this will be my last blog from Trinity as I am off travelling on a coach tour around Northern Ireland commencing tomorrow. The following week I will be luxuriating on a River cruise from Paris to the Normandy beaches in Northern France.
When I return to Ireland it will to be to visit Enniscorthy for the 1798 Rebellion re-enactment. So stay logged in for all the details.