With countless internet searches and google mapping , I thought I could do my own genealogy. I knew my ancestors were from County Limerick and I had the names of the towns where they were born. How hard could it be? That is, until I had a chance conversation with a woman who wanted to fulfill her elderly mother's dream of visiting her ancestral lands in Ireland. They arrived in Ireland and spent countless hours researching with little success. The family name was spelled wrong, or changed, and they had great difficulty navigating the town roads. Unfortunately they returned home very disappointed and her mother passed away not having lived her dream. It never occurred to them to hire someone to help them succeed.
It was that conversation and a recommendation from a Rick Steves' (RS) travel guide book that encouraged me to hire Sean Quinn of "My Ireland Heritage Tours" in County Meath. He is a recognized expert in genealogy research, so I contacted him and we spent months preparing for my visit. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Thank you RS for the great recommendation to work with Sean Quinn!
Sean's is a family business and Sean and his great Team are deeply committed to your goals and are just as enthusiastic as you...if not more! Sean's passion is incredible and his knowledge endless, but it's his spirit that will capture you! There will be no shortage of laughs and wonderful stories along the way. Sean's reconnaissance work is just as compelling as the end product. He actually physically visits the locations that pertain to your heritage and truly does the leg work on your behalf before you set foot in Ireland. The countless miles, interviews and research are just part of what he calls his passion. Once he is satisfied that the information is correct, he contacts you with a plan. I was just blown away by the amount of work he puts into this. You just have to respect that kind of integrity!
Sean discovered a distant relative, John, still living in the same town where my ancestors once lived. I was warmly invited into John's home and his wife greeted us with tea and scones and hours of lively conversation. What a treasure. John joined us as I visited my ancestor's birth towns, the church where they married and our family grave sites. It was surreal to look around and know the landscape looked similar to when they lived there. The best was yet to come. I was then taken to what remains of the actual home that my ancestors lived in before emigrating in 1846. I was stunned and delighted at the same time as I walked the grounds of my ancestor's property. I had no way of ever locating this without Sean's perseverance, diligence, attention to details and his keen sense of adventure! It was heavily forested and would have been impossible to find or know about this on my own. The home was overgrown with trees and shrubs but the walls and rooms stood intact. My visit ended with all of us standing within the walls that my family built and lived in. Cousin John explained that the slate roof (now resting on the ground) indicated that some family members had already emigrated and most likely sent money back as it was not common to find such a grand roof in Ireland at that time.. He found two perfectly intact slates (3 feet in length) and told me they will make a nice keepsake. They now grace my home.
My adventure and the extraordinary time with Sean became the highlight of September 2016.
I cannot show enough gratitude to Sean and his team for the gift they gave me....you can't put a price on that..this was all truly life changing for me, and I savor the warm memories and keepsakes which are a reminder of my own heritage.
I toured with Sean for a historical visit to other parts of Ireland, filled with history which Sean brought to life for me. His passion and knowledge of his country brings Ireland to life!