Once upon a time, in eighteenth century Ireland, a man stood helplessly watching his beloved uncle, Father Prendergast, a highly respected Catholic Priest being hanged from the gallows for no greater crime than performing his duty in ministering the Sacrament of Confession at a Rebel Camp to the sick, dying and those preparing for battle. He was not a Soldier, merely a Priest. By hanging him, this man was being made a scapegoat to warn all other Rebels of their fate should they continue to fight for their rights for freedom to practice their Religion and to prosper in their own beloved country. The blood boiled in this man’s veins and he answered the call to arms and he became an active member of the United Irishmen.
The role he played, as a member of the United Irishmen, in the early skirmishes of the 1798 Rebellion landed him in hot water. He was arrested and released several times and following several arrests he was finally transported to Australia. He arrived in Sydney on 11th January, 1800. He died in Australia on 27th January, 1833 and is buried in Windsor N.S.W . He never saw his beloved homeland again.
This man was John Prendergast. My 5 x Grandfather and this is his story. A story I aim to confirm or dispel in my quest to solve the Prendergast family mysteries during my research visit to Ireland this year.
This ambition I share with other Irish Rebel descendants, many of whom I hope my research in Ireland will assist in confirming or dispelling their family myths.
The Prendergast Motto is Vincit veritas which translates to “Truth conquers”.
So sit back, pour yourself a tipple and relax whilst you read my story. I’ll put in the hard yards for you and when I return we will get together and learn more of what I have found during my research journey to Ireland this year.
My application for the Rural Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant of $2500 that I applied for through Arts Queensland in partnership with Whitsunday Regional Council for my Family History Research trip to Ireland has been approved! I couldn’t be more thrilled! Thank you Arts Queensland and Whitsunday Regional Council. I will put your money to good use.
My holiday planning has taken longer than expected. I have had to decide how to best utilize my time. After all, it is a long way to travel to Ireland and at considerable expense. I want to learn as much as possible about my Prendergast family while I am there so that I can add generations to our Prendergast family tree and put “flesh on their bones”. I hope to get to know who our family members are by breaking down the walls that have barred this knowledge for over 200 years. I also hope to help anyone else through my research who has the yearning to discover their Irish roots also.
With the Irish privacy laws changing last year to allow more freedom of information to be released, my job is much easier than my mum Lorna’s was 30 years ago when she put in all the hard work to discover our Prendergast family history.
Also with the advance in technology it is becoming easier to trace family members past and present around the world.
I am so excited about commencing the University College Cork (UCC) Genealogy Summer School on 28th June. This is the Schedule for the Summer School and I will be adding to it daily. The course will be “full on” but worth every minute of it. This course will be followed by the Dublin Archives visit that has been organized by Lorna Moloney and her team of Genealogists which will commence on 6th July and end on the 8th July. I intend to remain at Trinity College in Dublin until the 11th July so that I can firstly pay a visit to St. Nicholas of Myra Church to thank Sarah, their Archivist for sending my 5x Grandfather John Prendergast’s Baptism Certificate. And secondly to visit Glasnevin Cemetery to pay tribute to many of my Prendergast Ancestors buried there.
Then, the big question “How do I fill in my time between the 11th July and the 1st of August when the 1798 Rebellion re-enactment takes place in Enniscorthy”?
After much research I have decided to join a “C.I.E” 9 day guided tour travelling throughout the beautiful Northern Ireland to learn about their history.I have heard that C.I.E. is a very good company to travel with having been operating for 83 years in Ireland and having won many travel industry awards. I am especially looking forward to staying our first night at the magnificent Cabra Castle in Kingscourt pictured below.
On my return to Dublin I will fly to Paris on 19th July and commence a Uniworld boutique 8 day River Cruise sailing to Normandy and returning to Paris to visit Art Galleries and Museums.This tour is dedicated to historians and Art lovers interested in learning about the Normandy landing beaches of World War 2 and also about the Impressionist Artists, their Art and their lives. Then I will fly back to Ireland for the 1798 Rebellion re-enactment in Enniscorthy.