Author: BTOPadmin

WW1

Don’t know where to start on your family history?

Follow  this  step-by-step guide from Backtoourpast

Military collections from WW1 and other major conflicts are available

With billions of records online at Findmypast, researching your family tree may at first seem a little daunting. Follow these easy steps to help you get started.

  1. Where To Start
  • Write down what you already know about your ancestors – just the facts, not the rumours!
  • Ask your family, especially the older members.
  • Search the attic. Check old photographs, letters or documents and other heirlooms for clues to the past
  • Sign up for a free subscription on the Findmypast stand at Back To Our Past, with access to millions of Irish records that date back as far as the 1600s.
  1. Build Your Family Tree
  • Start building a family tree at Findmypast. It’s free to use and totally secure.
  • Put the initial information you have acquired into your tree and begin to grow from there.
  • Add any extra information that you find along the way to each family member’s profile.
  1. Birth, Marriage and Death Records
  • When you’ve found an ancestor on Findmypast, use the information in the index to order their birth, marriage or death certificate from the General Register’s Office.
  • Certificates provide lots of extra detail, such as parents’ names, occupations and address.
  1. Censuses and Substitutes

Discover your family in our surviving census records as well as excellent substitutes including the exclusive Landed Estate Court Rentals, and the indispensable Griffiths’ Valuation.

  1. Newspaper Reports
  • Findmypast have scanned millions of pages of historical local Irish newspapers, dating from the 1700s to the early twentieth century.
  • Search for your ancestors within their pages to discover what life was like and add more detail to what you know about your family history.
  • Newspapers reported both local and national news, inquests, obituaries, scandals and criminal trials.
  1. Broaden Your Search
  • Explore Findmypast’s other collections – there are billions of records to search!
  • You could learn about your ancestor’s time in the army, at sea or even in prison.
  • Find living relatives and discover other overseas ancestors with collections available from all around the world.

 

Recent additions to Findmypast

Here are some of the fascinating Irish collections that joined Findmypast in recent months that you can access for free with your complimentary 1 month subscription:

Dublin Workhouses Admission & Discharge Registers 1840-1919

Exclusively online at Findmypast, these rich registers record nearly 80 years the poorest people in Dublin as they seek refuge in the workhouses. Most Dublin families will find a connection amongst these 3 million records.

Ireland National School Registers

Discover your ancestors’ school days in these detailed school registers from all over the country

Irish Newspapers

Titles that have joined the collection recently include Carlow Post, Downpatrick Recorder and The Evening Freeman. There are now over 80 titles and millions of articles to explore in the archive.

Church Of Ireland Parish Record Search Forms

Church of Ireland ancestors? Uncover more details about them in these unique records which were used to prove age when the Old Age Pension was introduced in 1909

 

Irish Army Census 1922

If you had a relative in the newly-formed Free State Army in 1922, explore these records to find out where they were during this military census.

Glas

Glasnevin Museum – 1.5 million stories to tell

The striking, ancient fir trees at Glasnevin, looking  towards the award-winning museum

As winners of Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s choice award in 2013, and listed as one of Dublin’s top 3 attractions, Glasnevin Museum proudly tells the story of modern Ireland through interactive exhibitions and engaging cemetery tours and delivered by personable, well informed guides affording visitors a heightened sense of understanding, and a deeper appreciation of its never forgotten residents.

Known locally as “The Dead Centre of Dublin”- Ireland’s largest Cemetery where the social, political and historical timeline of this great city is carved in stone. Irish icons like Collins, de Valera, Parnell, ‘Big Jim’ Larkin, Countess Markievicz, Brendan Behan and Luke Kelly rest peacefully in this original 1830’s Victorian garden cemetery. Linked via gateway to the Botanic Gardens and voted number 1 attraction in Dublin (2013, Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award), there are over 17,000 plants and 200 acres of beautiful parkland to enjoy. Key to Glasnevin’s success is the popularity of the tour guides whose enthusiasm is compelling. With one and a half million stories buried in Glasnevin there’s no shortage of tales to tell.

Learn about the harsh realities of life in Dublin, eavesdrop on the stories of former gravediggers, touch the casket of Daniel O’Connell, or simply ponder the fascinating lives of those who walked these streets before us.

Construction is underway to rebuild the winding wooden staircase that once ran up the centre the 168ft O’Connell tower monument in Glasnevin cemetery the tallest of its kind in Ireland. Visitors to the top will witness spectacular views of Dublin.
There are over 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. Delving into this rich resource Glasnevin captivates the curious through special events, tours, re-enactments, orations, lectures, festivals, commemorations, exhibitions, poetry readings, bringing legend to life in dramatic fashion.

A visit to Glasnevin is a must for anyone interested in the rich cultural texture of Dublin.

Celebrating history, heritage and culture, join this intriguing journey through Ireland’s past.

 

Did you know?

  • There are over 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin’s Victorian Garden Cemetery
  • The Daniel O’Connell round Tower monument is the tallest of its kind in Ireland
  • A guided tour of the cemetery includes a visit to Daniel O’Connell’s crypt
  • Glasnevin is home to the largest collection of Celtic crosses in the world
  • Glasnevin won the 2013 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award and is consistently listed in the top three of best attractions in Dublin
  • A pedestrian gateway between the world famous National Botanic Gardens and the Cemetery is open making it the second largest green space in Dublin with over 200 acres of mature parkland, and home to the largest collection of protected structures in the State.
  • City Sightseeing Bus tours now provide a hop on hop off bus service from the city centre.
  • Guided tours all year with additional summer times, re-enactments, and special events – see website
  • A genealogy voucher worth €5.00 with every ticket. Search your family tree, all records online.
  • Private and public tours available daily, special interest and educational groups welcome. Catering for ad hoc groups, private & public tours and serving breakfast, lunch & snacks throughout the day.
  • Shop and café – Browse the terrific collection of Irish crafts, jewellery, mementos, historical books, and other interesting gift items in the museum shop.

 

Address: Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas Road, Dublin 11

Tel:   353 1-8826550

Email: akilcoyne@glasnevintrust.ie

Website: www.glasnevinmuseum.ie

Booking: booking@glasnevintrust.ie

 

Open daily with two tours per day plus additional tours at 1 pm June – Sept & flexible times for pre-booked groups

Booking contact: Carolyn Kelly

Sales Manager: Ann Kilcoyne

Average Tour time: 1 hour

Guided Tours: Max 40 – 50, Languages: English, Irish, French, German.

A range of tailor made tours available

Car and coach Parking: On site and street parking available

Public Transport: Bus no’s 40 & 140 from O’Connell St direct to door.

Hop-on-Hop-off Dublin City Sightseeing bus (blue route) from city centre/Guinness Storehouse

-SatNav: Latitude/Longitude : 53.36981,-6.277098

-Opening Times: Open 7 days:

Mon – Fri 10am to 5pm

Sat/Sun/Bank Holiday: 11am to 5pm

Tour times: 11.30, & 2.30 all year with extra 1pm tour, June – Sept)

Re-enactments daily at 2pm, April – Oct.

Tours include visit to Daniel O’Connell’s Crypt.

 

-Admission Rates (Includes guided tour, museum entrance, and €5.00 genealogy voucher)

Adults: €12.00

Children: €8.00

Senior/Students: €8.00

Family (2+2): €25.00
The Tower Café: Serves lunches and snacks throughout the day.

 

Museum Shop: There is a shop located at the entrance to the museum offering a wide range of Irish history books & literature, arts, crafts and gifts.
Parking details: There is on street and private parking within the grounds of the Cemetery

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, flickr, instagram, youtube.

Free Wifi in seated café area.

dna-strand-cover

A Beginners Guide to Using DNA in Family History

Margaret Jordan advises

When you hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’ in family history research, DNA testing can come to the rescue in many cases and it can help to solve mysteries. It can also uncover new mysteries such as non-paternity events (NPE).

It is important to understand the basics before embarking on genetic testing for family history so that you know what it can and cannot do [www.dna-testing-adviser.com]. There are three main types of testing used in family history research: mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal DNA (atDNA) and y-chromosome DNA (yDNA).

We all have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed down by a mother to all her children. However, males do not pass on their mtDNA to their children, so the value of mtDNA testing is in tracing back along a maternal line (your mother, her mother and so on). Unfortunately, mtDNA doesn’t generally follow a surname as women traditionally changed their surname on marriage.

Autosomal DNA (atDNA) can be inherited from any line. Therefore, it can find matches in any branch of your family tree but it works better when two people share a recent ancestor.

Only men have y-chromosome DNA (yDNA) which is passed down from father to son. yDNA mutates very infrequently, and therefore it can be used to trace a biological paternal line. The most significant benefit of using yDNA in genealogical research is that the surname is generally co-inherited with the yDNA.

As yDNA is currently the most useful and universally used DNA tool in family history research I will focus on this.

The diagram shows how yDNA is passed down from father to son.

dna diagram1

There are many reasons for considering yDNA testing. You may be in the New World and trying to trace your paternal ancestry back to your Irish origins or living in Ireland and looking for descendants of relatives who left Ireland in Famine times. You may be trying to establish a connection with a particular family line or you may be researching your surname in general.

DNA testing can be as simple as a mouth swab, done at home and the sample mailed back to the testing company. The first thing is to decide what you hope to achieve and which family surname you want to research. Then you need to select a male with that paternally inherited surname and choose a testing company.

Family Tree DNA [www.familytreedna.com] which is based in Texas, USA is the testing company with which I am most familiar. Each surname study at Family Tree DNA is managed by voluntary administrators who help participants with understanding their results. For example, the O’Shea yDNA Project [www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=OShea], which I have been involved with since it started in 2003, was set up to study the O’Shea Surname using yDNA. Participants generally start with a 37 marker test and upgrade to 67 markers if required. If no suitable Irish surname yDNA project is available for your particular surname at Family Tree DNA, the Ireland yDNA Project [www.familytreedna.com/project-join-request.aspx?group=IrelandHeritage&projecttype=G] acts as an umbrella project for all men with Irish ancestry on their paternal line.

When the decisions have been made and the kit ordered, the mouth swab is done a few hours after eating and the sample returned to the testing company. Then all you have to do is wait patiently. After a few weeks, the yDNA results will be sent to you by email. The results comprise a set of numbers (y-haplotype) relating to the number of short tandem repeats (STRs) on each marker tested, on the y-chromosome. Then the excitement of seeing with whom you match begins. The testing company lists the names of your close matches along with their email addresses. The statistics involved in analysis of yDNA results can provide two people with an estimate to how far back their common ancestor might be. However, yDNA testing cannot tell you what is the exact relationship between two people.

Making contact with people you match across the globe can be exciting. You can compare notes to try to find your common ancestor. People who match each other often share photos and may meet up. This forges links between the Irish Diaspora and those still living in their native homeland. People talk euphemistically about a ‘non-paternity event’ (NPE) when yDNA results are not as expected. On the other hand, some people have questions regarding adoption in their family and yDNA testing can help them find their biological surname.

For the enthusiast, testing SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) can provide further information on the migration of your ancestors, over thousands of years. The National Genographic Project [https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com], started by Spenser Wells in 2005, studies this migration of people from Africa about 60,000 years ago to all areas of the globe.

In conclusion, DNA testing can be exciting and surprising. Finding genetic cousins can open up new lines of communications across continents. Adding the genetic genealogy tool to your family history research armoury adds an exciting dimension and can produce some interesting twists.

[Margaret Jordan is a Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, and is joint co-ordinator of the Ireland yDNA Project.]

Museum

An Post Witness History Museum

One of the inter-active features of the visitor attraction

An Post’s €7 million GPO Witness History visitor attraction commemorates the events of 1916. The attraction is an interactive visitor facility bringing history to life though technology, video, sound and authentic artefacts.

The centrepiece of the visitor attraction is an immersive semi-circular audiovisual space which puts visitors right inside the GPO during the five days in which it was both the military command centre, and the seat of the Provisional Irish Government.

 Features of the attractions include:

The Rising Immersive Audiovisual Space

  • An immersive semicircular audiovisual space puts visitors right inside the GPO during the Rising
  • Digital recreation of Dublin as it was in 1916: Immersive street level experience and ‘God’s Eye’ strategic overview of events
  • Feel the full terror of the devastating British artillery bombardment Family Orientated Educational Activities
  • Hands-on activity area
  • Dressed set of the GPO
  • Print proclamations and bulletins
  • Learn morse code
  • Send messages across a barricaded street via a pulley
  • Sort letters and monitor phonecalls
  • Compose newspaper reports

A Contested Legacy

  • Chart the problematic relationship between the two sides of the divide in the 100 years hence.
  • Selection of the art music and literature inspired by, or created in reaction to, the 1916 Rising.
  • Touch screen allows visitors to debate the relevance of the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation.
  • Visitors encouraged to reflect on their own vision for the next hundred years of the Irish Republic.

Advance tickets booking system

In preparation for the €7 million Centre’s opening in March, a booking system enabling people to book advance tickets is at www.gpowitnesshistory.ie

The booking system allows visitors to secure their tickets well in advance, affording Irish and international tourists alike the opportunity to schedule this immersive and entertaining cultural experience amongst the wide range of delights that Dublin has to offer visitors of all ages and interests.

www.gpowitnesshistory.ie provides details on the visitor centre – one of the Government’s key 2016 commemoration projects – the exhibits, an outline of the role the GPO had to play in the 1916 Rising as well as a broader history of the GPO itself.

SufferCov

Suffer little children..

Children of the Rising, by Joe Duffy, Hachette Ireland, €19.99

Suffer1

The first child to be killed in the Rising, Sean (John) Frances Foster

 

This is a highly readable and well researched account of one aspect of the Rising which has been largely ignore up to now and Joe Duffy is to be congratulated  for highlighting the suffering of not only those children who were killed or wounded but also those who lives were blighted  by the tumultuous  events of Easter week 1916.  It is not a dry, scholarly work, and all the better for that, as it chronologically traces the conflict  from the very beginning, noting that within 24 hours of the Rising  starting 14 children were killed. The first child to die in the Rising, Sean (John) Frances Foster, was shot in his pram on Church Street on Easter Monday. He was one of forty children, aged sixteen and under, who died in the Easter Rising.

 

Nun
A nun distributing bread after the Rising

 

 

 

Children of the Rising is the first ever account of  the young  lives violently lost during the week of the 1916 Rising, and up to now almost never commemorated.

Boys, girls, rich, poor, Catholic, Protestant – no child was guaranteed immunity from the bullet and bomb that week where teeming tenement life existed side by side with immense wealth.

IMG_6579

Ireland’s genealogy project archives

Compiled by Christina Hunt

 

www.igp-web.com/igpaArchives

Altruism is the foundation on which today’s world of genealogy is built. Family history societies around the world were creating databases to share information freely before the Internet was heard of. The volunteer spirit is still alive, and there are great outlets for those wishing to contribute. Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGPA) is a prime example. Christina Hunt, the IGPA manager, tells its story.
With some 40,000 transcribed and searchable headstone photos and many thousands of transcriptions from church registers, court, military, land and will records, obituary columns and other miscellaneous resources, Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGPA) has come a long way in just five years.
The ‘archives’ evolved as a natural supplement to Ireland Genealogy Projects, our long-standing collection of ‘county’ websites, each of which provides in-depth advice on researching family history at the county level. Each county contains links, research addresses and photos, and some have a selection of transcriptions. IGP was led by the late Don Kelly for more than a decade.
Our ‘County’ webmasters and our archives ‘File Managers’ are all volunteers. At the county level I started out as webmaster for Co. Longford and Co. Tipperary. In the past, I put all kinds of transcriptions in my county projects. Since starting the IGP Archives, my main focus has been on the creation of a wellorganised repository. I think of it like a filing cabinet with the Counties as headings, and then the Subjects under each county.
In the IGP Archives, sharing is very much our ethos. Our view is that a lot of people have a lot of information in their possession. We want the IGPA to be a place where people, whether their families remained in Ireland or emigrated, can share publicly what they have with other family historians.
There are the usual categories that you would expect – birth, marriage and death records, cemeteries and newspapers – but we also have subjects that feature more heavily in Irish research such as Census Substitutes and Constabulary records.
All our records are submitted by family historians from around the globe, and apart from photos, they are presented in plain text which saves space and loading time. With technology changing so rapidly, we also hope plain text will be around for a long time. Text files are easier to copy and paste, which is useful when you want to save a record to your computer or into a genealogy programme or an email. We like to think that we are not just sharing, but helping to preserve information collected by avid Irish genealogists.
Spreadsheets have always served as a useful tool for pulling data out of a document such as a set of baptisms or marriages. Genealogists have already been doing this as they research their families. We convert it to plain text in columns, and upload it to the Archives.
For people who want to share, but have not already transcribed their documents, we have Submission Forms by Genrecords <www.genrecords.org/irfiles>. These forms were created by David Crosby for use in the USGenWeb Archives. The forms create a text file for us which speeds up the process.
Headstones are a growing category in IGPA and can be a treasure trove in Ireland, providing names of parents and/or siblings. Considering the lack of records in other areas, they can be a little genealogy set in stone.
While the rest of IGPA is text-based, the headstones section is image-based. We use a free programme called Picassa (a Google product), which can take a whole folder of photos and create a webpage from it, complete with a thumbnail of each photo.

Antiques

One of Ireland’s finest art and antiques collections

The Hunt Museum is home to one of Ireland’s greatest private collections of art and antiquities, all housed in the elegant 18th Century Palladian style Custom House overlooking the majestic River Shannon. This diverse collection of art and antiquities was acquired by John and Gertrude Hunt over their lifetimes and dates from Stone Age to modern times. The purpose built Exhibition gallery, exhibits a diverse range of important temporary exhibitions from public institutions to private collections.  Guided tours of the permanent collection and/or temporary exhibitions are available all year round at no extra cost.

There is a lot more to see and do at The Hunt Museum with exciting year-round programs for adults with diverse interests, needs, and learning styles.  A visit to the Hunt Museum Gift Shop offers an interesting and delightful range of high quality gifts, including jewellery, books, greeting cards, silk scarves and ties, gemstones, ceramics, prints, and historical reproductions.  Whilst the riverside restaurant, which features a terrace overlooking the beautiful Shannon River and Curragower Falls, provides the perfect location for a leisurely lunch or quick refreshment.

 

Opening Times:  Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm; Sunday 2pm-5pm.  Closed New Year’s Day.  Admission free.

The Hunt Museum invites you to explore the rich history of the city. A display of historic maps and paintings that depict the wealth of history in our city will be on view in the gallery. The paintings and map will guide you through time from the 17th century right up to the modern city as we know it.  Admission free

The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Limerick. Tel:  061 312833.  www.huntmuseum.com

Keep up to date with the Hunt Museum’s programme of events on their website www.huntmuseum.com

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Opening Hours: Tours (1.5 hours approx.) run at 10.0am, 12.0pm and 3.30pm Monday to Saturday and Bank holidays.

Admission prices: €13.50 per person, €50 for family ticket (2 adults, 2 children). All tours must be booked in advance. Senior Citizens can avail of a 10% discount or a 5% discount by booking online at www.butlerschocolates.com/book

russborough

Russborough House, a ‘must see’ attraction

With award winning guided house tours, an engaging 3D interactive basement exhibition, gorgeous award winning tea rooms, historic horse and carriage rides, stunning handmade artisan crafts, an old forge, cultural sheepdog demonstrations, an 18th walled garden currently in restoration, award winning West Wing accommodated shortlisted for an RIAI Conservation Award in 2014 and a playground and a maze, Russborough House  is a ‘must see attraction’ that appeals to families and art and culture lovers alike.

 

Sheepdog demos:

Situated just a stones  throw from the city centre, our sheepdog demonstrations at Russborough tell the unique story of rural life in Ireland. Come and learn about the intelligence of the border collies as they follow the command of a whistle in varied pitches to lead the sheep around the fields of Russborough. Over looking the stunning views of the Wicklow mountains, the demonstrations will teach you about the culture and life in Ireland in fun, lighthearted ways. Learn about the various sheep, some that date back to pre-christian times, in Ireland. Our host, Michael Crowe has the unique gift of making you laugh while you learn a little more about rural life. These sheepdog demos are ideal for international guests, hen parties or local families on a fun day out in Ireland!  They are available daily at 11.30am and 3pm and are priced at only €5 per person.

 

Horse and carriage rides.

Walk back in time with us to the beautiful, romantic feeling of wandering through the fields and pathways of this gorgeous parkland on an ancient, historic horse and carriage. You can learn about the history of Russborough as you sit back over lr are hosted by Michael Crowe a local farmer who will make your trip a moment to remember! They are available daily from €20.

 

Dining.

The Tea Rooms at Russborough have a wonderful selection of salads, warm food, quiches and soups to award winning coffees or herbal teas. Enjoy a slice of chocolate gateau as your children wind their way through the maze at Russborough. Or if the sun is shining why not treat yourself to one of the many flavours of ice-cream we have on offer! Come and enjoy the tasty flavours of the tea rooms at Russborough.

 

Arigna

Welcome to the Arigna Mining Experience

Arigna Mining Experience centre was developed to preserve the energy heritage of the Arigna Valley and to ensure that Arigna maintains its link with energy themes: past, present and future.

This Energy Centre provides visitors with a unique insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700’s until closure in 1990.

Underground Experience

During the underground tour, visitors will experience what it was like to work in some of the narrowest coal seams in the western world. The tour which will last 45 minutes brings visitors to the coal face of the mine, where the methods used to extract coal are demonstrated.  Lighting and sound effects in the mine, add to the authenticity of the underground experience.

Exhibition Space

Local geology and the formation of coal deposits are explained in our exhibition area, as is the history of energy production.

The exhibition also explains the concepts and operation of different renewable energy systems. Some of these systems can then be viewed in operation in the Energy Centre Building and on the nearby wind farms.

A history tour presents the origins and history of the Arigna coal mines. It explores its impact on the local community, through a photo gallery & displays. The Renewable Energy Demonstrations can be viewed on site in the Centre.

Arigna Mines, Derreenavoggy, Arigna, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Roscommon.

Tel: 071 9646466.

www.arignaminingexperience.ie

How my research into family history became a novel

Marion Reynolds explains how her family history inspired her to write her novel A Soldier’s Wife

Like many people, I didn’t delve into my family history until I was past middle age. When you are young, the past is another country and you are too involved with education, career, partner and children to have time to think about your ancestors. With middle age, for most of us, comes time to think, especially about the influences that made you who and what you are. You begin to wonder about your parents and their lives before you knew them, your grandparents and the generations before them. If you are like me, you leave it until it is almost too late, when the people who are the links with your family history are dead and gone.

For most of my childhood, I lived in a small two up, two down house on the north side of the city of Dublin. Many of our neighbours had other relatives living on the same street or on one of the neighbouring streets. It was a close community where the children played “Relievio” or held impromptu concerts in the street or spent the summer  days rolling down the hills in  the People’s Gardens of the Phoenix Park. My grandparents were old when I was born; I was the daughter of their youngest child. They seldom talked about their lives when they were young. At times, I caught glimpses into their past: a shred of luminous silk   which I found at the back of the wardrobe, a box of medals which I played with, my grandfather wearing a red poppy when no one else on the street did, a whispered story about burials at sea. A picture in an ornate frame which hung over the sideboard intrigued me: my grandfather looking dashing in uniform, my grandmother elegant in a beautiful lace dress, a blonde baby between the two of them. Who was she, I asked? “That’s my first baby, Nancy, she died when she was a baby, when we were on our way to India”, I was told.

My grandparents died and I grew up. I didn’t really think about their past until a cousin began to investigate my grandfather’s military history with the Connaught Rangers. We discovered that he had also served in Cyprus and North Africa before he met my grandmother. They spent seven years together in India and he served in Flanders during WW1, leaving my grandmother and her children at home for four years.  I began to look at the dates of his military career and realised that he and my grandmother had lived through some of the most momentous events in Irish and European history.  I knew that I wanted to write their story. How to write it was the next question. I could have written it as a memoir but there were too many pieces of the jigsaw missing. I decided to write it as a novel which would give me the freedom to be creative when I didn’t know the real facts.

I had always been a writer, of short stories, articles, reviews and interviews but this would be my first novel. Then I began to think about how to write it. Apart from the fact that  I know little about military matters, I felt that there were enough excellent books about that period of history which gave the male point of view. I decided to write from my grandmother’s point of view, to try to give some insight into the lives of the thousands of Irish women who stayed at home while their husbands went to war. I then began to research my grandmother’s life. I knew that she had grown up on Lord Lucan’s estate in Castlebar, Co Mayo where her father was the lodge keeper. I visited Castlebar and found the ruins of the Lucan home but not the gate lodge which had been demolished. My grandmother’s siblings were all girls which made it more difficult for me to trace their descendants. The local library was very helpful and found a number of newspaper articles which mentioned my relatives. I realised that my grandmother had had a genteel upbringing and worked as a maid/ governess with the chidren of Lord Lucan. I knew that she enjoyed the years in India, the luxury and the servants. How had she adjusted to life in a small house in a poor area of Dublin?

Family lore told me that my grandfather had been in Flanders for all of WW1 with only one trip home. While he was away, the family lived through the momentous events of 1916, the War of Independence and the Civil War. My grandmother had made occasional reference to things like hearing Michael Collins speak. “He was the most handsome man I ever saw” she told me. She also attended the funeral of Arthur Griffith. Though she remained pro-British, her children became nationalists, which must have created tension in the home.

I always loved history and enjoyed verifying the events which impinged on my family. The historical facts in my novel are as accurate as I can make them. Some of my family history has been changed because many of the grandchildren are still alive. I changed the names and genders of my aunts and uncles but the events are real.  When telling my story, I tried to be non-partisan and to reflect the different, legitimate points of view of the different opinions at the time. I hope that I have succeeded.

 

 

A Soldier’s Wife by Marion Reynolds was published on 1st May by Indigo Dreams Publishing at £ 8.99 or €10.99 in Ireland and is available from my website www.marionhreynolds.com or fromindependent bookshops and Amazon.