The link between Emyvale, Monaghan, and Prince Edward Island, Canada, first began
in the 1950's when a Professor in The University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown,
Prof. Brendan O'Grady, began to trace his wife's family tree and was drawn to Emyvale,
Monaghan, where the Delany family lived as his wife was of that family line. He had
the assistance of Seamus McCluskey who was able to give him the Delany Family history
and show him the burial grounds for the Delany family and some of their crafted stonework.
This began the link and Prof. O'Grady did further research on the link and published
the definitive history of Irish immigration to Prince Edward Island and the rest,
as they say, is history.
Two years ago a group of interested people with members of
Monaghan County Council got together to organise an event to celebrate Canada Day
(July 1st) in Monaghan. As part of that event a son of Prof. O'Grady, Thomas, himself
a noted scholar, was invited by the committee to give the Keynote Address and he
accept the invitation and he and his wife participated in the Canada Day weekend
and thrilled the audience with his presentation entitled - 'The Backward Look - from
Monaghan to Monaghan Road PEI'.
Thomas O’Grady was born and grew up on Prince Edward Island. He was educated at
the University of PEI, University College Dublin, and the University of Notre Dame.
He is currently Professor of English, Director of Irish Studies, and a member of
the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He lives
in Massachusetts with his wife and three daughters. He has had many books of poetry
and many short fiction stories published and his articles, essays and reviews on
literary and cultural matters have been published widely in scholarly journals and
general-interest magazines in many countries.
He and I spent some time together during the weekend and established a warm friendship
and we kept in contact after his return. Last week I received an amazing email from
him telling me that he had two young men helping with renovations to his house and
when he asked them where they were from they told him - Emyvale, Monaghan. Their
names are Darragh and Emmet Trainor/Treanor. He asked them about knowing Seamus McCluskey,
which they did, and yours truly was also recognised. He describes the boys as - 'very
nice guys and great ambassadors for Emyvale'. What a surprise - it is definitely
a 'very small world' and he says that after speaking to them he really wants to return
to Monaghan for another visit. His father, Brendan, is now 93 and well and we send
our best wishes to him and Seamus McCluskey sends his best wishes too. Thomas sends
good wishes to all the friends he made in Monaghan and remembers his visits here
with great happiness. We would also like to send good wishes to Darragh and Emmet
and tell them that we are delighted that they are doing so well.