Tracing My Irish Roots Through the Movies

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John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man (1942)

When I was a child my family regularly celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17th. My parents and grandparents encouraged me to wear green and my mother would often make my brother and I a meal that consisted of corned beef and cabbage or my personal favorite, Irish stew with dumplings. But whenever I’d ask family members about our Irish ancestors I was usually ignored or met with a wry smile and a joke about our criminal connections. The truth is that most of my Irish ancestors were apparently kicked out of the British Isles in the early 1800s and ended up in Australia, which was a penal colony at the time. As a youngster I didn’t exactly understand what it meant to the larger world to be related to convicts but I was made to feel somewhat embarrassed and ashamed due to my family’s reluctance to discuss our personal history. Now that most of my immediate family has passed on I’ve taken it upon myself to delve into our past and uncover our Irish roots. It’s been an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience but I’ve had to rely on my own powers of investigation along with lots of paper documents and books to give me a better understanding of who I am and how I got here. I’ve also turned to one of my favorite obsessions for insight, the wonderful world of movies.

I know what you’re thinking. How can movies, which are regularly accused of distorting history in favor of cinematic glory, possibly help me learn more about my Irish ancestors? I can‘t argue with that fact but I don’t turn to the movies for facts. I have my own set of facts about my great, great, great Irish grandfather Peter Kelly although they’re limited to the information I found on his prison records:jackwildartfuldodger

Actual Transcription of Prison Record:

Born: March 1825, Dublin Ireland
Baptized: June 1825 at St Paul’s Arran Quay
Religion: Catholic
Education: None (Note: cannot read or write)
Parents: Unknown
Age: 13
Trade: Errand boy
Tried: Oct. 9th 1839 in Dublin
Offense: Robbing a cart
Sentence: 7 years on Australian penal colony
Former convictions:
- 1837 (age 11), Crime: Stealing Potatoes, Sentence: 6 months at Kilmainham Gaol
- 1838 (age 12), Crime: Stealing Blankets From Dwelling House, Sentence: 6 months at Kilmainham Gaol
- 1839 (age 13), Crime: Felony Of Basket & Other Articles, Sentence: 6 months at Kilmainham Gaol
Departed Dublin on Convict ship “Augusta Jessie” in November of 1839
Arrived in Australia on Feb. 25, 1840 (age 14 – celebrated his birthday on convict ship)
On his sentencing documents Peter Kelly is described as having: Fair skin, freckles, light red hair, hazel eyes and the initials PK on his lower right arm (a tattoo or skin carving).

After getting over the initial shock and horror that washed over me when I discovered the terrible circumstances that my Irish grandfather faced in his youth I was determined to understand more about who he was, what he went through and how he survived as an apparent orphan on the streets of Dublin in the early 1800s. I read through a dozen history books that detailed the harsh conditions he faced and the descriptions of the crowded slums that made up the Arran Quay area in Dublin as well the tortures that awaited children sent to Kilmainham Gaol (jail). The images that formed in my head haunted me but these fact filled documents were often dull dreary reads full of important information but lacking in empathy and understanding. They didn’t give me the emotional satisfaction that I craved so I found myself turning to movies for sustenance.

barrylyndon
thedead
ryansdaughter
Top: Barry Lyndon (1975), Middle: The Dead (1987)
Bottom: Ryan’s Daughter (1970)

I had fantasized that my Irish forefathers were similar to the characters found in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent historical epic BARRY LYNDON (1975), which tells the compelling story of a handsome Irish rogue named Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neil) who gains a title and a fortune only to eventually lose it all. I also read a lot of James Joyce in my teens and I presumed my Irish ancestors must have been somewhat like the elegant literary figures found in John Huston’s adaptation of THE DEAD (1987). My working class roots eventually led me to rule out those assumptions so I began to envision a life for my Irish predecessors in the idyllic countryside surrounded by lush green fields and ragged coastlines that can be found in films like John Ford’s THE QUIET MAN (1942), David Lean’s RYAN’S DAUGHTER (1970) and Jim Sheridan’s THE FIELD (1990). Of course none of these Irish-themed films had much in common with  my grandfather’s life. By all accounts Peter Kelly’s childhood resembled the dark and dreary existence of the Artful Dodger found in David Lean’s OLIVER TWIST (1948) and Carol Reed’s musical OLIVER! (1968). Both films were based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale of an orphaned British boy who survives the harsh conditions found in workhouses, struggles to maintain some soul crushing jobs and eventually ends up living with a bunch of petty criminals who steal for a living. Dickens began publishing Oliver Twist in 1837, the same year my 11-year-old grandfather was arrested and charged with his first crime. The last chapter of Dickens’ heartbreaking tale was published in 1839, the year my grandfather was charged with his final crime and shipped off to Australia on a convict ship at age 13. It’s noteworthy that Dickens’ suggested that the compulsive and resourceful Artful Dodger eventually ended up on an Australian penal colony as well. Although Dickens’ set Oliver Twist in London his description of what’s often referred to as ‘The Great London Waif Crisis’ was actually a condemnation of the industrial revolution that led to an increase in child labor. Many orphans in London as well as Dublin were forced into workhouses or eventually succumbed to a life of crime. While I’d never refer to OLIVER TWIST or OLIVER! as Irish-themed films, by telling Dickens’ tale both movies shed some light on the harsh conditions that children faced across Britain during the early 1800s.

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mcollins

nameofthefather

Top: The Italian Job (1969), Middle: Michael Collins (1996)
Bottom: In the Name of the Father (1993)

My grandfather spent nearly 2 years of his young life in Dublin’s infamous Kilmainham Gaol and many prison movies and jail scenes have been filmed there. I revisited a few of my favorite movies shot in Kilmainham Gaol including THE ITALIAN JOB (1969), THE MACKINTOSH MAN (1972) and SITTING TARGET (1972) with new eyes. But these films and many others usually only make use of the prison’s somewhat picturesque East Wing which was built in 1864, long after my grandfather had been imprisoned there. During Peter Kelly’s time Kilmainham was much more primitive and crowded. Guards carried whips, which they regularly used on children and there was no electricity or running water. The place was a filthy, disease ridden house of horrors where many went to die. A few films such as Don Sharp’s THE FACE OF FU MANCHU (1965), Neil Jordan’s MICHAEL COLLINS (1996) and most recently Rupert Wyatt’s THE ESCAPIST (2008) actually make use of the older and more dungeon-like West Wing of the prison where my grandfather was kept. I haven’t come across any films made about the conditions at Kilmainham before the Victorian age but movies such as Arthur Dreifuss’ THE QUARE FELLOW (1962) and Jim Sheridan’s IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993) at least give me some slight indication of the isolation, hopelessness and utter despair that awaited anyone who was sent there. According to historians, in my grandfather’s time some children committed crimes in the hope that it would land them in Kilmainhaim where they’d at least get fed and have a leaky roof over their head. The workhouse-like environment, squalid surroundings and regular beatings were apparently less threatening to some orphans than the terrors that awaited them on the streets of Dublin. Surprisingly, the early Dublin that my grandfather experienced has rarely, if ever, been reenacted on film. Bshakehandsdevilposterut MICHAEL COLLINS, which takes place some 60 years after Peter Kelly was forced to leave Ireland, at least gave me some indication of what the city was like during his lifetime. The film offers a brief look at some historic buildings my grandfather probably saw with his own eyes while roaming Dublin’s streets in search of his next meal such as Four Courts, Dublin Castle and Trinity College.

Movies can’t possibly offer viewers an accurate picture of what life was like in the early 1800s but they can give us a window into a world that may otherwise be completely invisible. Watching all these films again, and some for the first time, allowed me to see a glimpse of the Ireland that my grandfather experienced before he was sent to Australia. And the emotional tales these films often told contain universal truths that have ultimately become part of my own story. I’m proud that I’ve inherited my grandfather’s freckles and some of his survival skills.

On Sunday, March 17th TCM is celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day by showing a batch of Irish-themed films including THE QUIET MAN. I plan to tune in and catch up with a few movies that I haven’t had a chance to see yet such as SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL (1959) and I hope you will too. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are or what holidays you celebrate because anyone can enjoy a good film and a lot of good films were shot in Ireland. You can find a full listing of TCM’s Saint Patrick’s Day schedule here.

44 Responses Tracing My Irish Roots Through the Movies
Posted By kingrat : March 14, 2013 4:09 pm

What a great piece, Kimberly. I don’t know anything about my Irish ancestors, who came over before the potato famine, but it’s a safe bet they were dirt poor.

SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL is a fine film, with great cinematography by Erwin Hillier. I hope you enjoy it. For a look at the Irish in Australia, try Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in THE SUNDOWNERS, another first-rate film.

Posted By kingrat : March 14, 2013 4:09 pm

What a great piece, Kimberly. I don’t know anything about my Irish ancestors, who came over before the potato famine, but it’s a safe bet they were dirt poor.

SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL is a fine film, with great cinematography by Erwin Hillier. I hope you enjoy it. For a look at the Irish in Australia, try Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in THE SUNDOWNERS, another first-rate film.

Posted By changeling69 : March 14, 2013 4:12 pm

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish people here….as the going says, “we’re all a little Irish”!!:):)

Posted By changeling69 : March 14, 2013 4:12 pm

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish people here….as the going says, “we’re all a little Irish”!!:):)

Posted By changeling69 : March 14, 2013 4:14 pm

Oooops, errata corige….”as the saying goes……………….” had too much to drink…..hic:)!!!

Posted By changeling69 : March 14, 2013 4:14 pm

Oooops, errata corige….”as the saying goes……………….” had too much to drink…..hic:)!!!

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 14, 2013 5:31 pm

Kingrat -Thank you! I wasn’t sure if this post would interest anyone but maybe it will encourage a few people to look into their own history. I’m looking forward to seeing SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL and I have seen THE SUNDOWNERS but it was decades ago so I need to revisit it with new eyes so thanks for the recommendation.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 14, 2013 5:31 pm

Kingrat -Thank you! I wasn’t sure if this post would interest anyone but maybe it will encourage a few people to look into their own history. I’m looking forward to seeing SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL and I have seen THE SUNDOWNERS but it was decades ago so I need to revisit it with new eyes so thanks for the recommendation.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 14, 2013 5:32 pm

changeling69 – Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you & yours!

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 14, 2013 5:32 pm

changeling69 – Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you & yours!

Posted By Doug : March 14, 2013 8:05 pm

Thank you, Kimberly, for this fine post-it’s great that you are looking into your Irish roots. Pete Kelly-if the Irish folk had known how beautiful Australia turned out to be, they would have stowed away on the ships.
One more recent movie that shows off Ireland nicely:”The MatchMaker” 1997 starring Janeane Garafalo. I may pull that down and watch it tonight.
Though it’s not so much about Ireland as it is a character study, I found “Disco Pigs” from 2001 to be a good Irish film.
I have some Irish in me, but am such a mutt thanks to my family being kicked out of every country in Northern Europe(just an assumption, but I think I’m right).
Kimberly, in your research have you found mention of the ‘hedge schools’ yet? That story would make a good movie.

Posted By Doug : March 14, 2013 8:05 pm

Thank you, Kimberly, for this fine post-it’s great that you are looking into your Irish roots. Pete Kelly-if the Irish folk had known how beautiful Australia turned out to be, they would have stowed away on the ships.
One more recent movie that shows off Ireland nicely:”The MatchMaker” 1997 starring Janeane Garafalo. I may pull that down and watch it tonight.
Though it’s not so much about Ireland as it is a character study, I found “Disco Pigs” from 2001 to be a good Irish film.
I have some Irish in me, but am such a mutt thanks to my family being kicked out of every country in Northern Europe(just an assumption, but I think I’m right).
Kimberly, in your research have you found mention of the ‘hedge schools’ yet? That story would make a good movie.

Posted By changeling69 : March 15, 2013 5:49 am

I need to see SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL myself again. Saw it as a child while staying at my elder sis’s house and she loved to stay up late to watch old movies and creature features on TV in the early 70s. I remember James Cagney’s acting having impressed me a lot:).

Posted By changeling69 : March 15, 2013 5:49 am

I need to see SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL myself again. Saw it as a child while staying at my elder sis’s house and she loved to stay up late to watch old movies and creature features on TV in the early 70s. I remember James Cagney’s acting having impressed me a lot:).

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 15, 2013 3:13 pm

Planned to tune in to The Quiet Man on Sunday night, and Shake Hands with the Devil-haven’t heard of it before. Will check it out. I enjoyed your post, Kimberly, and was wondering if you were able to find out what happened to your ancestor after he got to Australia? One more movie suggestion, almost all Irish movie and a more recent one, Leap Year, starring Amy Adams. A sweet movie, kind of charming in spots.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 15, 2013 3:13 pm

Planned to tune in to The Quiet Man on Sunday night, and Shake Hands with the Devil-haven’t heard of it before. Will check it out. I enjoyed your post, Kimberly, and was wondering if you were able to find out what happened to your ancestor after he got to Australia? One more movie suggestion, almost all Irish movie and a more recent one, Leap Year, starring Amy Adams. A sweet movie, kind of charming in spots.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 15, 2013 3:36 pm

Doug – Thanks! I’m afraid Australia wasn’t very beautiful in my grandfather’s day but after decades of slave/convict labor it developed into a livable place. I haven’t seen THE MATCHMAKER or DISCO PIGS so I appreciate the suggestions. A read a little about hedge schools but didn’t research them much. They seemed to be a way that rural families with a little money to spare could get their Catholic children educated without having to send them to anti-Catholic government schools.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 15, 2013 3:36 pm

Doug – Thanks! I’m afraid Australia wasn’t very beautiful in my grandfather’s day but after decades of slave/convict labor it developed into a livable place. I haven’t seen THE MATCHMAKER or DISCO PIGS so I appreciate the suggestions. A read a little about hedge schools but didn’t research them much. They seemed to be a way that rural families with a little money to spare could get their Catholic children educated without having to send them to anti-Catholic government schools.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 15, 2013 3:39 pm

changeling69 – SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL looks really interesting & I can’t wait to see Cagney in Ireland. I’m hoping there’s lots of good location shots of Dublin.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 15, 2013 3:39 pm

changeling69 – SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL looks really interesting & I can’t wait to see Cagney in Ireland. I’m hoping there’s lots of good location shots of Dublin.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 15, 2013 4:00 pm

jennifromrollamo – My grandfather served (and miraculously survived) his 6 years of imprisonment and when he was released he met & married a British girl who had come to Australia to work as a maid. They had 3 children (one of them was my great great grandmother) and for 5 years he worked as a minor trying to find his fortune panning for gold. Unfortunately he died in 1851 (he was just 26) during one of Australia’s heat waves. Apparently he suffered sun stroke while he was mining. There’s a newspaper article from the time that describes how the other minors felt so sorry for my grandfather’s family that they set up a community fund to help my grandmother care for her children. With their generosity my family was able to survive & thrive.

And thanks for recommending LEAP YEAR. I haven’t seen that and I like Amy Adams a lot so I’ll give it a look.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 15, 2013 4:00 pm

jennifromrollamo – My grandfather served (and miraculously survived) his 6 years of imprisonment and when he was released he met & married a British girl who had come to Australia to work as a maid. They had 3 children (one of them was my great great grandmother) and for 5 years he worked as a minor trying to find his fortune panning for gold. Unfortunately he died in 1851 (he was just 26) during one of Australia’s heat waves. Apparently he suffered sun stroke while he was mining. There’s a newspaper article from the time that describes how the other minors felt so sorry for my grandfather’s family that they set up a community fund to help my grandmother care for her children. With their generosity my family was able to survive & thrive.

And thanks for recommending LEAP YEAR. I haven’t seen that and I like Amy Adams a lot so I’ll give it a look.

Posted By robbushblog : March 17, 2013 1:41 pm

Some of my ancestors came over from Ireland about 300 years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about them. My sister has done much of our family research and hasn’t found out very much about them. I wonder if those relatives had any criminal past.

I just finished watching The Quiet Man on Blu-ray and will be watching Darby O’Gill and the Little People soon. Those two movies are traditions for me.

Posted By robbushblog : March 17, 2013 1:41 pm

Some of my ancestors came over from Ireland about 300 years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about them. My sister has done much of our family research and hasn’t found out very much about them. I wonder if those relatives had any criminal past.

I just finished watching The Quiet Man on Blu-ray and will be watching Darby O’Gill and the Little People soon. Those two movies are traditions for me.

Posted By Doug : March 17, 2013 5:09 pm

robbushblog-the Blu ray of the Quiet Man-in one scene with Barry, John and Maureen riding on the wagon their shadows show up on the scrim behind them. My friends and I laughed. A great show. I can’t recall ever seeing Darby O’Gill, but I should.
My surname is British, first name maybe Scottish, but Heinz 57 has nothing on my genealogy. I would love to take a year to explore Ireland, Scotland, maybe the Baltic states, Norway and Denmark. They can keep their France and England.

Posted By Doug : March 17, 2013 5:09 pm

robbushblog-the Blu ray of the Quiet Man-in one scene with Barry, John and Maureen riding on the wagon their shadows show up on the scrim behind them. My friends and I laughed. A great show. I can’t recall ever seeing Darby O’Gill, but I should.
My surname is British, first name maybe Scottish, but Heinz 57 has nothing on my genealogy. I would love to take a year to explore Ireland, Scotland, maybe the Baltic states, Norway and Denmark. They can keep their France and England.

Posted By Larry Brennan : March 18, 2013 4:50 am

Greetings from Ennis County Clare.

Your posting has given me some great ideas how to stretch Genealogy.

Larry

Posted By Larry Brennan : March 18, 2013 4:50 am

Greetings from Ennis County Clare.

Your posting has given me some great ideas how to stretch Genealogy.

Larry

Posted By robbushblog : March 18, 2013 9:56 am

Doug- I will have to take a look at that scene again. The on- location scenes are so beautiful that it makes some of the studio shots that much more obvious, but that’s okay.

Posted By robbushblog : March 18, 2013 9:56 am

Doug- I will have to take a look at that scene again. The on- location scenes are so beautiful that it makes some of the studio shots that much more obvious, but that’s okay.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 21, 2013 4:55 pm

Rob & Doug – I watched the QUIET MAN again on Saint Patrick’s Day and it was a treat. Hadn’t seen it in many years but it contains one of my favorite John Wayne performances (also think it’s one of Ford’s best films) and it’s such a great looking movie.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 21, 2013 4:55 pm

Rob & Doug – I watched the QUIET MAN again on Saint Patrick’s Day and it was a treat. Hadn’t seen it in many years but it contains one of my favorite John Wayne performances (also think it’s one of Ford’s best films) and it’s such a great looking movie.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 21, 2013 4:59 pm

Larry – Greetings & thanks for stopping by! I’m glad my post gave you some new ideas on how to explore your own genealogy.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 21, 2013 4:59 pm

Larry – Greetings & thanks for stopping by! I’m glad my post gave you some new ideas on how to explore your own genealogy.

Posted By swac44 : March 25, 2013 10:08 am

My paternal grandfather’s family hailed from the auld sod, coming to North America from County Cork in the early 1800s. From what I can gather, they were farmers primarily, but came for jobs as labourers building the Erie Canal in upstate New York and the Welland Canal in Southern Ontario, which is where they eventually settled (my grandfather was born not too far from Welland, in St. Catharines, around 1890). I don’t know much about my family prior to their arrival on this side of the pond, but I thought about them while watching The Field, although that film takes place nearly a century later, but farming methods don’t seem to have changed much in that time.

While visiting Ireland in the early ’90s, I visited Connemara, in the west, where The Field was filmed, and also some of the locations for The Quiet Man, which is still celebrated with a note of pride over there (they don’t seem to mind the broad Irish stereotypes), along with John F. Kennedy and Neil Armstrong, you can buy tea towels with their faces on them.

Which reminds me of a couple of my favourite Irish titles, set on the gorgeous west coast, John Sayles’ The Secret of Roan Inish and the documentary Man of Arran, both filmed on Galway Bay’s picturesque Arran Isles, which are remote, but stunning, with a feeling of ancient magic emanating from the stones. I’ve never been any place quite like it.

Posted By swac44 : March 25, 2013 10:08 am

My paternal grandfather’s family hailed from the auld sod, coming to North America from County Cork in the early 1800s. From what I can gather, they were farmers primarily, but came for jobs as labourers building the Erie Canal in upstate New York and the Welland Canal in Southern Ontario, which is where they eventually settled (my grandfather was born not too far from Welland, in St. Catharines, around 1890). I don’t know much about my family prior to their arrival on this side of the pond, but I thought about them while watching The Field, although that film takes place nearly a century later, but farming methods don’t seem to have changed much in that time.

While visiting Ireland in the early ’90s, I visited Connemara, in the west, where The Field was filmed, and also some of the locations for The Quiet Man, which is still celebrated with a note of pride over there (they don’t seem to mind the broad Irish stereotypes), along with John F. Kennedy and Neil Armstrong, you can buy tea towels with their faces on them.

Which reminds me of a couple of my favourite Irish titles, set on the gorgeous west coast, John Sayles’ The Secret of Roan Inish and the documentary Man of Arran, both filmed on Galway Bay’s picturesque Arran Isles, which are remote, but stunning, with a feeling of ancient magic emanating from the stones. I’ve never been any place quite like it.

Posted By swac44 : March 25, 2013 10:17 am

Turns out Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Isles, has been used a number of times whenever a filmmaker needs to shoot a scene on a dramatic Irish clifftop, even when it doesn’t make sense geographically. The cliffs below Dun Aengus (an ancient Celtic fortress built in the Iron Age) show up in Leap Year and The Matchmaker, despite being nowhere near where those scenes are supposed to be taking place, but we all know by now that movie geography is a very flexible thing.

Posted By swac44 : March 25, 2013 10:17 am

Turns out Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Isles, has been used a number of times whenever a filmmaker needs to shoot a scene on a dramatic Irish clifftop, even when it doesn’t make sense geographically. The cliffs below Dun Aengus (an ancient Celtic fortress built in the Iron Age) show up in Leap Year and The Matchmaker, despite being nowhere near where those scenes are supposed to be taking place, but we all know by now that movie geography is a very flexible thing.

Posted By swac44 : March 25, 2013 10:21 am

BTW, Kimberly, I’d be curious to know where your great, great, great, grandfather wound up in Australia. I visited a few old sites there dating back to the penal colony days, from Botany Bay in Sydney to the old Fremantle prison on the West Coast. It’d be funny to think I might have walked where he did.

Posted By swac44 : March 25, 2013 10:21 am

BTW, Kimberly, I’d be curious to know where your great, great, great, grandfather wound up in Australia. I visited a few old sites there dating back to the penal colony days, from Botany Bay in Sydney to the old Fremantle prison on the West Coast. It’d be funny to think I might have walked where he did.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 26, 2013 2:15 pm

swac – Thanks for the great comments & film suggestions! I’d like to travel to Ireland & Australia someday so hopefully I’ll be able to see some of the sites myself. I still have family in Australia and my husband actually has duel US/Australian citizenship because his family relocated there (from war torn Latvia) after WW2 before they finally moved to the US in ’50s. As for where my great, great, great grandfather ended up, he was sent to the penal colony in the New South Wales area of Australia.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 26, 2013 2:15 pm

swac – Thanks for the great comments & film suggestions! I’d like to travel to Ireland & Australia someday so hopefully I’ll be able to see some of the sites myself. I still have family in Australia and my husband actually has duel US/Australian citizenship because his family relocated there (from war torn Latvia) after WW2 before they finally moved to the US in ’50s. As for where my great, great, great grandfather ended up, he was sent to the penal colony in the New South Wales area of Australia.

Posted By swac44 : March 27, 2013 8:45 am

Hmm…well, Botany Bay was ground zero for disembarking prisoners, and we stayed in Oatley which overlooks the bay, so there’s a good chance I walked where he walked. There are lots of sites where they commemorate that part of their heritage (and Irish-Australian outlaw Ned Kelly is celebrated as a national anti-hero). Hopefully you get there someday soon!

Posted By swac44 : March 27, 2013 8:45 am

Hmm…well, Botany Bay was ground zero for disembarking prisoners, and we stayed in Oatley which overlooks the bay, so there’s a good chance I walked where he walked. There are lots of sites where they commemorate that part of their heritage (and Irish-Australian outlaw Ned Kelly is celebrated as a national anti-hero). Hopefully you get there someday soon!

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