Tuesday, April 26, 2016


The property (location of their farm) where my Great Grandmother Bridget Chambers was born and spent her childhood is located in the townland of Letter in County Mayo.  According to Griffith's Valuation, "Lietir means spewy hillside.  It is bordered on the north by Derrycruv, on the south by Derrycooraun and Derrygowla and on the west by Kilmaclasser."

Years ago my cousin Betsy got the opportunity to visit the actual property where the Chambers lived and has shared with me photos that she took while she was there.  I had hoped that during my trip to Ireland, that we would be able to see at least the townland of Letter.

 Townland may be misleading.  It is more like a housing development or a few houses with lots of land rather than an actual town.  As such it is rather hard to find.  It is much easier finding it on an online map at home than it is driving down tiny roads with no signs and hoping you don't get lost.  We probably got within 100 yards of it.

So I am keeping it on my "bucket list" with the hope that some day I may actually have the opportunity to see it.  Until then I will just appreciate Betsy's photos of the Chambers land.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


It was important to me that my son and daughter got the opportunity to visit Islandeady (the home town of my great grandmother Bridget Chambers) while on our trip to Ireland.  So on our first full day in County Mayo, we drove to Bilberry Lake -- located near N5 road, halfway between Castlebar and Westport.  We drove down a narrow country road -- thank heavens for signs!  From there we could see the Old Islandeady Cemetery on a hill, across the lake.  I love how lovely and peaceful this lake is, surrounded by green trees, green hills and green grass.

After admiring the view of the lake and taking lots of photos, we drove over to the Old Islandeady Cemetery.  From the parking lot of the cemetery, you can see Croagh Patrick, where according to legend, Saint Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland.  The four of us walked through the cemetery and to the ruins of St. Eiden's Church, located on the shores of Bilberry Lake,

St. Eiden's Church has been in ruins since the penal times and was restored in the 1990's.  Of course we took photos to commemorate my kids' first visit to Islandeady!

We then drove a short distance to St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Islandeady.  This was my first visit to St. Patrick's.  According to legend, St. Patrick preached on the shores of the lake on his way to the holy mountain in 440 AD so hence the name of this church. The roof of this church was originally

thatched but the church building was slated in 1849.  Other improvements and upgrades have been made since then.  This was a very meaningful visit for me since this was the church that my 2nd great grandparents Thomas Chambers and Ann Kilroy Chambers attended Mass on Sundays and where their children, including my great grandmother Bridget Chambers was baptized. It is so exciting to me when I can actually walk in their "footprints".  It makes me a little sad, though, to think that my Dad and Grandpa never got to visit this place.  I think they would have enjoyed the peaceful lake, the old church ruins and just knowing that Bridget grew up not far from here.

Note:  This is my 200th post in this Home of Sherlocks blog and thought it was very fitting that it would be about Islandeady.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


After picking up our son at the Dublin Airport, we headed northwest to County Mayo.  It was a 3 hour drive.  We met the husband of the owner of our rental vacation house in a tiny town called Ballyvarry.  We then followed him to the house -- down the road to Carrowkeel, down another road, past a campground and down another long country road.  We arrived at the rental house and was greeted by the owner Ann Marie who had brought us a homemade cake called "treacle".

We were given a tour of the beautiful house with hardwood floors, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a washer and dryer.  The backyard was large and very green. The view out the front windows was mesmerizing.  During our three day stay at this house, I often stood by the window and gazed at all the beauty of the countryside.

My 2nd great grandparents, Thomas Chambers and Ann Kilroy Chambers raised their family in the townland of Letter (not more than 15 minutes away) in a rural setting, probably much like Carrowkeel.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Visiting the west coast of Ireland would not have been complete without a visit to the Ring of Kerry.  Yes, we did visit the Cliffs of Moher on our last trip to Ireland in 2012.  Our bus tour of the Ring of Kerry would cover 110 miles and take over 6 hours.  Even though this would be a longer tour than we desired, we thought it was preferable to trying to drive it on our own.

Our first stop was at the Kerry Bog Village (photo above).  We saw Irish wolfhounds, peat bogs and Kerry Bog ponies.  We learned how to make Irish coffee and of course needed to sample one (okay, we drank the entire thing).  It was delicious!

Continuing on our tour, we saw the Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head (the most western point of Europe) and the Askill Islands.  We stopped again and watched a demonstration with two border collies displaying their skills at herding sheep.

Our next stop was the shores of Ballinskellig Bay.  We walked along the shore, admiring all of its natural beauty and of course taking lots of photos!

We stopped for lunch at Scariff Inn in Caherdaniel, where we enjoyed amazing views of Derrynane, Kenmare Bya and Bantry Bay.  Continuing on our tour we also saw Dunloe Gap, a spectacular glacial valley.

Our last stop (and my favorite) was at Ladies' View, which has an absolutely gorgeous view.  Supposedly this site was named "Ladies' View" after this area was admired by Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting.

I am in awe of all of the natural beauty in Ireland.  It is so peaceful and so beautiful!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


What should we do on our first full day in Killarney?  We wanted to see some of its natural beauty but not spend all day on a tour.  Killarney National Park is close by and I hear it is beautiful.

Cars are not allowed in Killarney National Park so we took a 1 1/2 hour tour of Killarney National Park in a jaunting car (a 2 wheeled horse drawn vehicle).  Killarney National Park was the first national park established in Ireland.  It is the home of red deer, black Kelly cattle and cypress, linden and holly trees.

We saw St. Mary's Cathedral, Mt Tomis, Loch Leane (the lower lake) and Innisfallen Island.  We stopped and visited the grounds of Ross Castle, which is located on the edge of Loch Leane and is the ancestral home of the O'Donoghue clan.

Later my daughter would tell me that visiting Killarney National Park was on her favorite highlights of her trip to Ireland.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


After meeting our daughter at the Dublin Airport (we were arriving from Amsterdam and she was flying in from California) our plan was to drive to the west coast of Ireland and in particular to Killarney.  It is rather amazing to me that we can drive from the east coast of Ireland to the west coast of Ireland in about 3 hours when it takes days to do that in the United States.

After driving through the counties of Kildare, Laoise, Offaly, Tipperary and Limerick, we stopped for lunch in the town of Adare and had a delightful lunch at Pat Collins' Bar.

After lunch we decided to explore the town of Adare just a bit -- after all it is a heritage city where the Desmond Castle and friaries are located.  We visited the Trinitarian Priory and Trinity Church.

Since it was raining (well it is Ireland) and our daughter was exhausted from her flight, we continued driving to our destination of Killarney and more specifically our vacation home rental.

The Killarney rental house has lots of space with four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a backyard (even a washer and dryer) and was only a 15 minute walk into town.   Our Irish Adventure begins ...

Thursday, March 17, 2016


The corned beef is cooking in the crock pot (corned beef won over Guinness stew this year at our house) and the Guinness chocolate cupcakes are baking in the oven.  When the cupcakes are cooled they will be topped with a Jameson whiskey caramel frosting.

As I am sipping on an Irish coffee, I am thinking about my Irish ancestors and my two trips to Ireland.  Since last St. Patrick's Day, I found out that my Sherlock ancestors actually originated from the Scurlogs who lived in Wales.  In the last month, I also found out that my Chambers ancestors originated from Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland.  I also spent 10 glorious days in Ireland but more about that in a later post.

I have more hope that my Kilroy and Caffrey ancestors have deeper roots in Ireland than the Chambers and Sherlocks do.  Currently I can trace my Kilroy ancestors back to Patrick Kilroy, who was born in 1730.  Of course, I still need to do a lot more research on the Dever, McLoughlin, Caffrey and Denning ancestors.

While I was in Islandeady in County Mayo this past August, we were visiting St. Patrick's Catholic Church.  It was the childhood church of my Great Grandmother Bridget Elizabeth Chambers Sherlock.  My husband took a photo of a picture that was displayed in the church.  It is the photo below.  I just love the little boy and his dog praying!

I would like to share one of my favorite Irish blessings --

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Wishing you all – 

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!  (Happy St. Paddy’s Day!)