Joans trip

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The following is an extract from Joan Cook's trip to Ireland in August 1999, with her grand-daughter Katie.  Joan is from Massachusetts and found the school web site while trying to trace her ancestors, some of whom were born in Curraghmore.  We met for the first time in August having communicated by  Email...the wonder of the internet!

Thursday, August 19, 1999 - GLENDALOUGH, AVOCA, WATERFORD

After another "full Irish breakfast," we left Dublin and drove south, destination Waterford - at last. Our route took us through some of the most beautiful scenery of our tour. We visited Glendalough, its cemetery, ancient ruins and marvelous views,. From Glendalough, we traveled to Avoca, enjoyed a tour of the weaving company, and had a tasty lunch, saw the setting for the PBS show "Ballykissangel." Such a pretty town. We then viewed "The Meeting of the Waters."

We continued on through Arklow, Gorey, Enniscorthy, Ballywilliam, New Ross, and finally arrived in Waterford! In Waterford, we had a guided- tour of the Waterford Crystal factory, and 1 nearly fainted when the tour guide handed Katie a heavy elaborate vase. I held my breath until it was returned to the tour guide.

While in the Waterford Crystal gift shop, Katie spotted a friend, one of her NYC P. S. 1999 classmates, who was visiting Ireland with her grandmother - small world - and I took a photograph of one of the shortest girls in the class alongside one of the tallest.

We then went to our room at the Tower Hotel, freshened up, and had a quick meal.

Then for the first time we met my wonderful email friends Anne Phelan and Michael Curran, Anne's daughter, Sinead Phelan, Anne's granddaughter Rachel; and Michael Curran's daughter Ciara. This was the day I'd been looking forward to for so long. Michael and Sinead generously drove us all to Curraghmore, where my great-grandparents, grandmother and aunts lived and worked before immigrating to the United States in 1886 and 1887. Fortunately, the gate was open, and we drove down the long scenic driveway enjoying the wildlife along the way to within view of the Curraghmore estate. Wow! What a sight!. I took some photos, and then walked closer to get the best photos - the sun illuminated the estate, and Michael took a terrific photo of the estate with Katie and myself in the foreground.

Katie and Joan at Curraghmore

Then we drove to the centre of Portlaw to view and photograph the grotto that my father had visited in 1969.  Michael gave us a history of the Portlaw area including the tannery and how the streets were laid out.

We then travelled to Principal Michael Curran's school, the Portlaw N.S., which I had visited several times over the Internet. It was, nice to see it in person its neat grounds, classrooms, and small classes with many computers. Katie, Rachel and Ciara enjoyed the use of the playground. I'd like to be able to join Michael's history class - I'm eager to learn more history of the area.

From the school, we then headed for Carrick-on-Suir. On the way we met up with Michael's secretary Martina. After a short visit, we were on our way again and crossed the river to Carrick-on-Suir, where two of my grandmother's sisters' births were recorded. Michael gave me a tour of the village, the Catholic Church, etc. We stopped at a "Fish and Chips" shop and met the friendly ladies- who operate it. The girls, enjoyed chips and cold drinks, sitting on the front steps of "Moore's." Then later Rachel and Katie were dancing on the sidewalk, when all too soon, it was time to leave and say thank you and goodbye to Anne, Sinead and Rachel.

Michael drove sleepy Katie and me back to the Tower Hotel in Waterford, relating more area history along the way. It was the end of a perfect day. I appreciate and I'll never forget the generosity of time and effort of Anne, Michael, and Sinead in fulfilling my goal of visiting Curraghmore. I'm still glowing from the experience.



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