Le Petit Hotel & the Irish connection Monday, Sep 27 2010 

 

The green fields of Ireland

 

The Irish sun shone today Friday…& after a phone call to Portrush…Inspector Whitfield (retired) had enough clues to set the gps to Cullybackey…and go looking….

The “luck of the Irish” must have been with me ….and after a stopping off at a few country houses…the trail was getting decidedly hotter….some people sort of knew of the Sands family – ( my g. grandmother’s  family). Some had never heard of them..but the ‘net was tightening as I drove down a narrow country lane towards some houses…knocked on a door…and after a cup of tea with the nice lady…I found myself looking out through her kitchen window at a neighbouring farm house….part of which probably was more than 200 years old. ..the most likely place where my grandmother aged about 2 yrs together with her parents and some close friends would have packed their few belongings and headed off to catch a boat ( The clipper Waikato) to New Zealand….for a totally new beginning…thousands of miles away, and so it would have been..
I  thought of how far we all have come in a relatively short space of 100 +  years and the life we enjoy as I stepped inside the remaining original thick stone walls…looked at the huge stone hearth tiles..& the old fireplace with swinging wrought iron frame still with some kettle & pot hooks…one can only begin to imagine just how tough life was especially for the women folk of this era. Like so many other Northern Ireland emigrees,  the Sands family would have packed up & left with precious little apart from their clothes & a few personal possessions that they could manage between them all.

I  will return home to NZ and Le Petit Hotel ….with a somewhat better appreciation of just what my ancestors’ lives were like in Ireland……..tough…unbelieveably tough, and not to mention the Irish weather.

Advertisements

Cullybackey: the connection with Le Petit Hotel Saturday, Sep 25 2010 

Clipper Waikato

Waikato berthed at Port Chalmers, South Island, NZ

My grand mother Annie Kernohan ( nee Sands) emigrated to New Zealand as a very young child with her mother Agnes Sands and other family members. They sailed directly to the port of Lyttelton in the South Island of New Zealand taking just under 100 days, and then travelled to Timaru by train. The family set up home on a small parcel of land just south of Timaru.

They left Ballymena & the Cullybackey townlands in the late 1800’s at a time when poverty was particularly rife and there was very little hope of improvement, in search of a better life with more opportunities.

My visit to N.Ireland, my first, is to obtain a glimpse of the countryside, and make some new contacts that might prove useful as my brother & I delve into our mother’s family ancestral records.

Belfast Tuesday, Aug 24 2010 

Postings under this category will commence on or about the 22nd Sept 2010, from Belfast/Northern Ireland.

The primary reason for this visit is to gather a little more information about my Irish ancestors ( Sands & Kernohans) who emigrated out to New Zealand in the late 1800’s,  leaving behind family & friends,  and settled not far from Pareora, South Canterbury. I will be visiting Ballymena, Cullybackey, Ahoghill & Carrickfergus.