Written by visitor and IrelandXO member Susan Petchell
Our experience with Ireland Reaching Out has been awesome. I contacted you a few months ago giving you info I had on my ancestors in Belfast and Co Kerry, you put me in touch with volunteersTony Kelly in Belfast and Joan Holland in Tralee, who both contacted me to make arrangements to meet whilst I was in Ireland.
An added bonus was that my cousin Jacintha Hussey Eustace saw my post on Ireland Reaching Out and when my daughter Fiona and I arrived in London, I received an email from Jacintha telling me that my 3rd Great Grandmother Elizabeth Hussey Costello was her Great Aunt and that she knew where the old family farmhouse was, the church where they worshipped and where family members were buried. I told Jacintha I was meeting Joan and she gave me permission to give her contact details to Joan.
Joan and Jacintha then arranged to meet up and share information. Pictured below is Susan, Jacinta and Joan at Old Costello Farmhouse
On Saturday 10th June, Joan met us at our hotel and took us out to Ballymacelligott where we met Jacintha, from there we went to the Church where the family worshipped and then to O'Brennan Graveyard, where I was able to take photos of the graves of 4 branches of my family, Costello's, Hussey's, Savages and Roche's and place a symbolic offering of faux Australian Gum Leaves to honour and remember our Irish ancestors from their Australian family. From the graveyard we went to see the old Costello Farmhouse where Jacintha gave me some lovely photos of Costello family that used to live there. Joan and Jacintha had a lovely surprise for us, they took us up the hill to meet another of our cousins Kathleen O'Neill. Kathleen made us very welcome and we spent a lovely afternoon talking about family and looking at photos.
Picture above: Susan with cousins
On the Monday Jacintha came and took us to Ross Castle and Muckross House in Killarney and we spent a wonderful day with her before returning to her home where her husband Edwin had laid a lovely afternoon tea for us.
We had an absolutely wonderful time in Ireland and we came away with some wonderful memories, which we treasure, all enhanced by the lovely volunteers at Ireland Reaching Out. I am still in contact with Jacintha and we email back and forth regularly. The flow on from our visit is that I updated my Ancestry Family Tree with information Joan and Jacintha gave me and an American cousin from the Hussey side of the family saw the information and contacted me asking if I had any further information or contact details for family in Ireland.
So Ireland Reaching Out is definately living up to it's name and reaching out.
Many thanks for your wonderful service.