I took a chance with Sean and Aisling in the pursuit of filling in the gaps in my family history... read more
I took a chance with Sean and Aisling in the pursuit of filling in the gaps in my family history... read more
We loved our experience so much, we are in the process of planning our next trip to visit where my... read more
Five stars aren't enough stars to rate what a tremendous experience this was for me to be able to walk in the house where my ancestors lived. Sean and Ian were a joy to be with on the long journey from Dublin to Cloontakilla in County Mayo where my ancestors lived. Their passion for genealogy and knowledge of Irish history is second to none. This was truly an adventure of a lifetime for me. If you want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors, look no further than My Ireland Family Heritage to help you achieve this goal.
Growing up in the 1950s, our father often spoke of his mother’s home in Ireland. Although he never visited Ireland, he kept her memory alive with stories from the past. In the late 1800s Grandmother Mary Jane Carolan immigrated to New York City when she was a young woman. My sister, Mary, has researched our family genealogy for many years, but we still had many unanswered questions and no living relatives to ask. We decided it was time to visit Ireland and find the family farm.
About 6 weeks before our trip, we found genealogist Sean Quinn’s name & his website, My Ireland Heritage, in Rick Steve’s 2017 Ireland travel book. After some online research, we sent an email to My Ireland Heritage and received an immediate response from Aisling. We completed a questionnaire with some basic information about our ancestors and had a follow up conference call with Sean. His interest and willingness to work with us was very encouraging. After many years of research and discussions, we felt this was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and hoped that Sean would be able to provide the answers we needed. Sean & Aisling stayed in touch with us prior to our trip and kept us informed about the research and reconnaissance being done.
After spending a week touring Ireland, we met Sean at our hotel in Trim, County Meath. Sean was full of enthusiasm and excitement about the results of his research on the Carolan family. As we drove to Nobber, a very small village, Sean pointed out important sites and their historical significance along the way. First we visited Old St. John’s Cemetery in Nobber, which was restored in 2004. Sean immediately directed us to the grave site of our great uncle, Philip Carolan (1874-1901), our grandmother’s brother. Our great grandfather had erected a beautiful large stone cross when Philip died. A 2nd cousin, Charlie Carolan (1906-1984), was also buried at this grave site. It is assumed that other ancestors are buried there as well. Sean provided daffodil bulbs for each of us to bury at the grave. This was an overwhelming experience!
Sean then took us to visit the new Catholic Church, St. John the Baptist, and the Main Street of Nobber. But the best was yet to come. Sean drove out of town into the farm land and on a small country lane Sean stopped at the “ruins” of our grandmother’s ancestral home. Stepping through the doorway of our great grandparents’ home, the home where our grandmother was born, was like going back in time. As we walked through the ruins of the home, Sean pointed out the fireplaces, loft, and living spaces and spoke about the way people lived in the late 1800s. Walking the land and the beautiful fields behind the house was incredible. These are memories that we will never forget.
To document that this was truly our family’s home, we stopped at a neighbor’s home down the road. Sean had met the neighbors as part of his reconnaissance of the area prior to our visit. The neighbors were friends of our 2nd cousin, Charlie, who died in 1984 and who’s grave we visited earlier in the day. They shared stories about Charlie and brought his memory alive. They confirmed that Charlie was the last of our family in Nobber. All of the other relatives, including Charlie’s brother, had gone to America.
With all of our research, we never could have put together the day that Sean gave us in Nobber. He also provided documentation in a beautifully bound book and a painting of the ruins of the family home, which his wife had done. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience thanks to Sean, Aisling, and the My Ireland Heritage team.
Being an avid genealogist, and believing it important to "see" where our ancestors emigrated from and where they lived was very important to both Mike and I while we were visiting Ireland. We extended our trip for one such event. I had researched online and made inquires to "My Ireland Heritage Tours" approximately a year prior to our visit. Over the course of planning, we spoke to Sean over the phone and corresponded numerous times to Aisling and Sean regarding our expectations. We opted for the "Ancestral Townland Experience" and what an experience it turned out to be. Sean and Ian picked us up in Dublin and drove us to County Longford where we were given an extensive visit to the church, cemeteries, and our ancestral homes. We were given daffodil bulbs to plant at one of our common ancestor's grave. We then were permitted to walk around a very old cemetery by ourselves to see what we could discover. Being someone who takes lots of photos,it was never an issue for Sean to stop or turn around so I could snap a few photos. We hit the jackpot when Sean stopped at one of the ancestral homes and we were able to walk into the field to get a view. Mike who was very determined to get up close to his family home asked if we could walk up the path alongside the field, and that is what we did! We hiked through brush, vines and climbed fences to get up close and personal. It was amazing! During Sean's reconnaissance of the area, he was able to track down the only living relative in the town and he agreed to meet with us while we were there. We were very lucky, Sean was able to show us four areas where family had lived. Prior to leaving, Sean also stopped at the railroad station located in the area. This really gave us a picture of what our ancestors had to endure prior to leaving Ireland for America. Just to get to the station would have taken days.The day was everything plus more. Our heads were spinning by the time we were driven back to our hotel in Dublin with all of the sights and historical information. Sean was also very good at pointing out other historical sights while driving through the city of Dublin, he and Ian drove out of the way to show us the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship. We have been back in the states now for several days and we continue to discuss what a wonderful life experience "My Ireland Heritage Tours" provided. This was a visit that will stay in our hearts forever.
I'd like to share a little about a "trip of a lifetime," one taken this August with Seán O Cuinn. His official title is Managing Director, My Ireland Heritage. He's also an outstanding Member of Genealogical & Historical Society of Ireland, someone I first read of in Rick Steve's Ireland. Why? I had been "indulging" in genealogical research since the 1990's and finally understood that it was no longer a DIY passion. I needed a pro. I also wanted to find someone well respected to help me fill in "missing pieces" of our family's past. On TripAdvisor, Sean Quinn had nothing but rave reviews! I suspect the ordinary person would be a little cautious: Sean sounded too good to be true. But, two days with Sean have added one more admirer to his repertoire. He and his exceptional daughter, Aisling, helped produce an amazing experience. His son-in-law Ian, who also had a love of genealogy, drove while Sean shared research findings and plans. Sean's wife, Pauline, who had accompanied him on early visits to various sites, shared her artistic talents as well. At the end of the journey, we were presented one of her lovely, personalized, ancestral site paintings. It is an amazing team.
It is impossible to describe all that took place. I wanted to walk where my ancestors walked. I wanted to have a sense of their lives and learn more about them. Sean helped this happen, and in doing so, I learned so much more about the challenges they faced and so much more about their courage. From the moment Sean and his son-in-law Ian picked my husband and me up in Dublin, Sean's expertise and passion were obvious. In each of the three counties we would visit, he enriched all I learned over years of research. They also kept open minds, helping with that elusive thing called "accuracy." Sean prepares thoroughly in advance; he calls it "reconnaissance." He visits ancestral townlands ahead of time, he finds family links, and he somehow miraculously meets people who prove invaluable. After our visit to Tipperary, Limerick, and West Galway,we drove back to Dublin, filled with the amazing findings of two days of connecting the past with our lives. We unmasked centuries, and linked together ancestral findings that will be looked at by family members in the future. It was more than I ever hoped for. It was overwhelming. It was priceless.
Thanks, Sean, to you and your wonderful family
One month before I began this journey I discovered My Ireland Heritage Tours online. What a life saver. My trip went from a bust to better than I could have imagined. From the beginning Aisling and Sean "got it". I was passionate to find my namesake grandmother Catherine Mary homeland in Roscommon with very little to go on. I also had much more background information for my grandfather in County Down. Sean and Aisling helped sort out a viable trip, and did all the research to make it work, within my budget and abilities.
After extensive research and reconnaissance Sean took me on a day long trip to County Down. I saw my great grandfather's birthplace, my 2 X great grandparents wedding church. But it turned out that that 2 X great grandmother was the sister of Monsignor Patrick Strain, the first Monsignor in New England and the builder of a huge Gothic Church St. Mary's of Lynn, Mass., where I went to high school! Sean found their birth home, and we were able to visit, and even snatch a piece of roof tile!
Sean also did the research and mapped out a self driving tour for me to do in County Roscommon. Armed with the best advice by Sean "Ask for help, you can't do this alone", I knocked on a door and ended up with the local historian, who easily escorted me to the townland of my beloved grandmother, the school she attended in the 1870's, and the church where my great grandparents married. I sat in local kitchens for tea and scones.
I could not be more grateful to Aisling and Sean for my experience, and I highly recommend their services: highest quality with Irish friendliness and hospitality. They could not have done more, I actually cannot think of any possible improvements.
This is a lifelong memory that I will cherish always.
We worked with Sean and Aisling to see if they could help us uncover our family history, mostly lost after our ancestors left Ireland long ago, never to return. We needed help and Sean and Aisling at My Ireland Heritage were the answer. We are delighted with their work!
They searched the records to find our townland and did reconnaissance of the area, knocking on doors and talking to the locals. Then we made our visit to Ireland.
Sean took us to the local church and graveyards and then to our family's townland, to the spot where they last lived before emigrating. These townlands aren't marked and we would never have found the site without Sean.
Sean is charming and a font of knowledge. He obviously enjoys sharing that knowledge. We learned things about ancient Ireland and current topics of interest and Sean and Aisling also provided us with excellent advice about hotels and sites to see in Ireland for the rest of our vacation.
You can find out a good deal online these days about your Irish roots but you won't be able to complete your search and get to your townland without help. Sean and his team at My Ireland Heritage can help you find your roots.