In 2013 Miranda contacted Ireland Reaching Out in the hope of finding her ancestors' final resting place in Ireland, the Algar family grave. She had found some critical information about her family history from notations made on an old family bible and this was to be the turning point in her research and provided the basis for other break-through discoveries.
A family Bible provides the basis for the search
Following on from the information gleaned from the Bible, Miranda conducted some online research and was able to obtain further information about her family's place of origin, including possible homestead locations for some of her ancestors. The possibility of seeing where they might have lived was a real motivating factor in planning her subsequent trip to Ireland. Through the Ireland XO message board, the volunteer for St. Peter's in County Louth, Pat, began to correspond with Miranda and was delighted and surprised to find that he lived close to Alice Cairnes' (nee Algar) house, the lands having been developed in the 1970s.
Pat actually passed by Miranda's great aunt's house daily, now redeveloped as the Boyne Valley Hotel and Country Club. As well as this grand house, the Cairnes family were also the owners of a local brewery. After some time visiting other parts of the country, Pat and Miranda arranged to meet in Drogheda where she would stay for five days. Despite his best efforts, Pat was unsuccessful in his search for the family grave. Misfortune continued as Pat found himself in hospital, but undeterred he provided Miranda with information about the town, public transport and places to see.
Finding the family grave
Miranda visited St. Peter's Church of Ireland and met the Rector and some very welcoming local parishioners, who were most helpful. After several fruitless rounds of the graveyard, the sun at last shone, miraculously, on the gravestone of the Algar’s final resting place. Miranda had reached the high point of her search for something tangible of her Irish ancestors, noting too that the grave was watched over by the remarkable cadaver grave marker.
Miranda at the family grave
Miranda also took some time to visit the streets mentioned in her research but was unable to identify the actual houses in Palace Street and in Lawrence Street from the census where the chimney toppled in the great wind of 1838, as reported in the newspapers of the time. A trip to the local museum in Millmount gave rise to the recording of her family’s story by the members of the Old Drogheda Society. Miranda surprised many by revealing she was a shareholder in the now defunct Drogheda to Kells railway and had the shares to prove it! Her stay was completed by a visit to the great aunt's residence, the hotel boasting the family crest in the stained glass window.
A return journey
Miranda returned to Ireland and Pat, in better health on this visit met Miranda at the ferry in Dublin and drove her to Drogheda stopping off at Malahide Castle for lunch. He took her along the back roads to Drogheda where she could see over the Boyne Valley with a view to the north of the Balbriggan area where it is thought the first human settlements in Ireland were formed. During this stay the pair walked the streets and lanes of the town learning about the various historical landmarks. Soon the day dawned to leave and Miranda and Pat bid a fond farewell. They stay in touch as more information surfaces about her ancestors and share stories and Miranda hopes to visit again in the not too distant future.