The year my Irish Great Grandfather sailed over


The year my Great-Great-Grandfather immigrated to America from Wikipedia:

Arts and literature

Looking back at the year before he immigrated to Boston from Castlegregory, Kilkenny, Ireland gives background into his story. It is a fine way to look at an ancestors life, learn about what could have made their decisions to move here and come to a deeper understanding of them as they were.

Ireland in 1890 was a mess. The political scandals between Charles Stewart Parnell and a married woman Kitty O’Shea caused a ripple in the country and the UK.  The Catholics were outraged that she was marrying again, and the UK was scandalized because she and Parnell had an affair. The land was owned by others and rented out to tenants.

Horatio Alger’s most definitely changed the mind of many a working-class Irishman in this time. The rags to riches idea,  always work hard and you can make it in America.

I am sure that my ancestor believed that. Plus, his options to make money were slim in the small town of Castlegregory where cheese comes in honeycombs and the largest claim to fame is a ruinous castle from ancient times. He came to make money, and survive a little nicer than he had to in Ireland. There wasn’t any turf to cut, but certainly, a lot of no irish situations must have been made him wonder if he had made the right choice. Then again, the Irish were being punished for being Irish in Ireland as well. So for him, prejudice towards his race was nothing new. He ended up laboring and then working in a factory in Amherst, Massachusetts. He married an Irish girl and had Irish daughters and a son. Factory work and wages with church on Sunday were his cup of tea. His wife like most Irish women was a domestic, and his daughters too.

The bravest venture out. The unknown adventurer travels by the seat of his or her pants placing their lives in the hands of a divine protector and assured that they are doing what is right regardless of all other things. While my Irish ancestors were not taken in shackles to the new world, they were treated to shackles through manipulation, degradation, and class shaming. The tenacity of the Irish to get through their day, and stick with their families regardless of the pressures of feeding children, and housing them is heroic. The little things are often overlooked but are so important when it comes to discovering who your ancestors were and are.

Homes that my ancestor might have lived in…


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