I spent my last two full days in Ireland with my very wonderful second-cousin-twice-removed Ted.
I had never met Ted until just the other day, and up until a couple months ago I didn’t even know he existed. Specifically that is, because I knew I had some Irish relatives. It was all very vague though. Not so any more! Ted and his sweet wife Mary were not only gracious enough to host me for a couple nights, but Ted also gave me a very interesting lesson in our family history. He has put countless hours into studying genealogy, reading old letters, doing field research, and inputting dozens and dozens of names from the family bible into a family tree program on his computer. From this program I was able to see how I was specifically related to him as well as see the names of my multi-great grandparents as well as which was the first to emigrate from Ireland. I now have an actual copy of my family tree in addition to hundreds of names of other people I am somehow related to. Ted also showed me a whole album of full old pictures and two portraits of both my great great great grandmother and my great great great grandfather. It was really cool to see, especially considering I have absolutely no knowledge of any of it.
Before my crash course in genealogy, Ted took me to some of the outlying areas outside of Dublin. This picture was taken at Glendalough, the site of a medieval monastic settlement. The round tower in the background of the photo was used by villagers as a watch tower and as a safehouse when under attack. Besides the few old churches also on site, I loved looking at all the old graves. The oldest legible headstones were from the 1700s, but the site was founded in the 6th century, so obviously there were MUCH older ones that that.
I fly back to the US today, but ending my trip with family (no matter how distant!) was just perfect.