On Tuesday, May 30th Patrick McKenna and Megan Martin arrived in Monaghan from Canada.
They are originally from Prince Edward Island, where their families still live but
they are working and living in Alberta. Patrick's father, Brian, has been a visitor
to Monaghan on a couple of occasions and when he heard Patrick was coming to Ireland
he told him to be sure to spend some time in Monaghan, which he duly did. He made
contact with Cllr. Sean Conlon and hey visited some hostelries in Monaghan town.
I was asked to meet them and when I heard they would like to visit some of the places
which had connections with PEI and with the McKenna name I offered to take them on
Tour of North Monaghan on Wednesday. We spent half the day and they were very impressed
and delighted to have come to Monaghan. Our picture shows them with Cllr Sean Conlon
and Kathleen McKenna, proprietor of Sherry's Dublin Street. Naturally a McKenna wanted
a drink in McKennas.
On Monday June 12th I had arranged a Tour for four people from Emyvale, PEI. They
were Gerard and Shelley Woods and Patricia and John Stewart. Gerard and Patricia
knew that an ancestor of theirs, Henry Woods, emigrated from the Donagh area to PEI
in 1839 and they were hoping to connect with their roots here. I was introduced to
them on Sunday evening and did a bit of homework and so was able to take them to
Donagh Old Graveyard where there are four graves belonging to Woods. Some of these
had Christian names similar to the Woods family in PEI and it was somewhat likely
that one of these, or more, were belonging to their ancestors. There are a few lines
that would need to be clarified before anything could be said for definite but it
looks very likely that they have found their roots. They will do more research when
they return to PEI. We will also try to connect the deceased members in Donagh Old
Graveyard with one of the several Woods family in North Monaghan but the fact that
it is known the emigrant came from Donagh might narrow it down. While in the graveyard
I covered the McKenna family history, though briefly, and the Donagh Cross. We then
attended the Summer Party in the Blackwater Centre and they enjoyed a very tasty
dinner and had great fun as they joined in the dancing afterwards. The first stop
on Monday morning was to M-Tec Building for the Canada Day Launch by Monaghan County
Council. I am a member of the organising committee and was covering it for this site
but decided to take the visitors along and they were given a wonderful reception
by the Mayor and Councillors. On Sunday they had travelled around the area and had
visited Castle Leslie and were very impressed. They visited other places on Monday
evening and then departed on Tuesday morning. They used the Teach Bán as their B
& B and were delighted with the accommodation, friendliness of the owners and quality
of the food. I really enjoyed my time with them as they seemed to feel at home among
the people of North Monaghan and they marvelled at the similarities between Emyvale
Ireland and Emyvale PEI. They want to come back again, which is a great sign.
When the visitors above went home they celebrated Canada Day there with parties and
sailing in the harbour.
The view above and the one to the right here show Charlottetown Harbour, which is
in Prince Edward Island and is the harbour into which so many Irish men, women and
children sailed on their way to a new world and a new life. These are the first sights
they would get of their future homes and after a perilous journey across the Atlantic
one can hardly imagine their relief, but also their trepidation and apprehension
of what lies ahead. There was also a great sadness for some as they would have lost
a family member to illness during the journey and also the sadness that they knew
they would never again in this life see the people they left behind in Ireland. Thanks
to Gerard Woods for the photos.