Saturday, June 1

Roundstone, County Galway

Roundstone, is the only townland that I can positively identify as a place that my paternal Irish forbears lived. Family tradition has it that the Keogh's originally came from County Tipperary and that in Ireland they used the Mc prefix. But from family death certificates I learned that some of the family was born in County Galway and that one of their daughters was married in Roundstone. The english did 2 surveys of Ireland recording everyone who owned land and their tenants. They also mapped all the properties. These are the only records that are still in existence and provide a way of finding your family. The Keogh's were not in Roundstone in 1848, fo the first valuation but Bridget McKeogh is listed in the 1855 valuation. My speculation is that they were evicted from their lands after their famine and sent to the west of Ireland either to perish or immigrate by their British landlords. So I had a plot of land to find and of course in today's world it is much easier now that we have digitized the world. It was an easy matter of taking the ordinance survey maps and layering them with Google Earth. So we found the plot that she was listed with probably much as it was in 1855, with 2 lots with houses on either side and hers a vacant rocky and today covered with Gorse.

I actually had to untie a gate to get on the property and then tie it up when we left.

Then on to the cemetery. Bridget's husband Denis never came to the States, so I was hoping to find a tombstone marking his grave and one of his son-in-laws as well. The cemetery is on Gurten Bay, one of the nicest beaches we have been to, but we could not find any markers that predated 1890. I asked one of the men who was working on a grave about the lack of early dates and he told me that in the early days boulders were placed on the graves to mark them. We of course have no one to point to a particular stone and say that is where Denis is.

Certainly couldn't find a cemetery with a better view, looking either back to the mountains or out to the sea. We were also advised that we could try the Insheer Island cemetery so we headed that way. It is on an island, actually across the street from our B&B. Easy drive over and across the bridge and then the small 2 lane road went to one. Up and down and around the bends praying that another car wasn't trying to head our way. We found the cemetery 3/4's of the way around the island but it was the same story- lots of boulders on the ground. leaving the cemetery the road deteriorated  to such an extent that we turned around and headed back off the island passing a pony.

I am happy with what I have found so far and this will conclude for a couple of days my search for family. Next week on our way to Cashel Rock we will stop in Tipperary briefly to see if we can pin the keogh's down a bit better. So now ellen & I are off touring and heading for Kinvera, Milltown Mabay, before heading to Dingle.

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