Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Sailing Across the Pond

There is an old ugly Irish phrase for people have moved here from another country - 
‘blow ins’. 
I was called one several years ago and my retort was that every person in Ireland is either a blow in or historically related to one. 

The first known group of people who arrived here at the end of the last ice age were the Palaeolithic people, they were followed in turn by the Mesolithic, Neolithic Bronze Age and Iron Age people-the Celts. The Vikings,The Welsh and much later the Welsh-Normans followed by the British and were all of them, ‘blow ins’.
I must mention that there was a great flow of people moving out from this island to other parts of Europe throughout those times too.


DUNBRODY 
A three masted barque.


Dunbrody's figurehead with bowsprit above.


Between the years of 1843 to 1850 great distress fell on Ireland caused by the potato blight which brought about starvation, illness and the death of a million Irish people. 
The migration of another two million departed and left Ireland with a depleted population. 

Dunbrody and her reflected image.


A great proportion of the migrants travelled to the USA from a variety of ports in England and Ireland. They left on ships such as the Dunbrody, a replica of which is moored to a wharf at New Ross in Co Wexford. Here the River Barrow flows through the town on it’s way to join the sea at Waterford and it was to New Ross that we drove on Saturday to view the three masted barque Dunbrody. 







A monument to those who emigrated

The Emigrant Flame






The link below is an Irish emigration database though this is not exactly correct as it covers all of the emigrant sailings to America from English and Irish ports of that period. Detailing the ages, names, occupations, nationalities and the destinations of people who emigrated to the USA are shown here. I found over five hundred people with my last name and a few had historically known first names from my branch of the family so I include the link here for you to do your own research.


You can also find much more information about the Famine times and all about the sea journey from viewing www.dunbrody.com




34 comments:

  1. I'm waiting for some really detailed DNA results and I'm hoping to learn of all the places I blew in from. For a blow-in, you sure do a good job of shining a wondrous light on your home.

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    1. Thank you Mitchell and I hope that your DNA results prove to be satisfactory.

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  2. The Irish really do seem to have had a troubled history don't they and yet all the ones I have met are such lovely people.

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    1. Thank you for commenting Pat. Yes Ireland certainly has had a variety of problems and mostly caused by another nation.

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  3. I went to the site and I think I may have found my great, great grandfather Michael Finn, thank you so much.

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    1. That is really wonderful for you Janet and am so glad that I posted the link :)

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  4. The first time I heard of the term 'blow in' was when working for a boss who originated from Ireland. (Have to admit that was a new one on me). Maybe it is my age, but I am not so interested in whether I come from Spain or Scotland with regard to me DNA. We are all from a single origin as far a science can currently deduce. To my mind, as long as we all recognise we are human beings, that's good enough for me. :)

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  5. Hello Bella, thank you for sharing your thoughts; like yourself my thoughts on my DNA are the same and I know where my forefathers came from and also my maternal sides too. Then of course it is different for a lot of people who do not have any known connection to their line of descent and again there are others in the same situation for whom it has no interest.
    Anatomically modern humans originated in Africa about 250,000 years ago.

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  6. Just down the street from where I live, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a monument to the victims of the Irish famine. It depicts the anguish of a mother as her son emigrates to America. The base reads "Never again should a people starve in a world of plenty". If only that were true.

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    1. Thank you for commenting Shawn; there need not have been starvation in Ireland when the potato crop failed because the glut of grain instead of being shipped to England would have fed the people. Incidentally a similar catastrophe occurred in Scotland in 1860.

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  7. Thank you for that interesting like. I'm amazed to find 561 people with my husband's last name there, and it's not that common of a name, at least here in the States.

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  8. Hi Mel - what a lovely post ... sadly time is running somewhere round me - but I'd love to spend time looking for more ... I think I'm plain English ... but no doubt back in the bowels of time there's a wee mixture in me ... perhaps some Cornish and definitely some north London - but me is now just me! My uncle did our father's family tree for us back in the 70s ... he was an engineer - so had the facilities to have it typed up in a long spread-sheet over the 300+ years ...

    Wonderful ships - the thought of travelling across the Atlantic or even the Irish Sea doesn't bear thinking about - but if needs must ... I'd go! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you for your compliments Hilary... as you say needs must...myself I have never been attracted to go across the pond... other than the Celtic Sea which I have crossed many times.

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  9. According to a documentary TV programme I watched recently if you're not an African then you're descended from a handful of people who crossed the Bab-el-Mandeb strait into Arabia - that's whether you're Chinese, European, Inuit or even Irish.

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    1. Thank you for your input... our origins are closely related.

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  10. Having lived in almost every county in Erie during the years we travelled in a horse drawn wagon, I have spent more time being a 'blow in' than most. I must say it is a great feeling when one finally feels part of the community, however. I am getting itchy feet again x

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    1. Thank you very much for your contribution Patsy and appreciation. I well know what it is too have itchy feet
      too, which is why we go on lots of trips to combat the cabin fever. My personal take when asked about my roots is that home is where I lay my head !

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  11. I came from Liverpool. Everyone in Liverpool was a blow-in of one sort or another.

    Blow-ins from one place are blow-outs from another place.

    I always find it incomprehensible that blow-ins who have already established themselves immediately forget they are blow-ins. However they never forget their 'homeland' and always sing its praises. But offer them the opportunity to return and the offer is rarely taken up.

    Obviously what I have said is a generalisation but if believe it to have a certain basic truth. The sad thing, as has already been said, we are all pretty much descended from the same origins. And if one believes in God then we are all his children.

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    1. Hello Graham, Thank you for your well considered points of view, some of which made me smile... except that I have yet to sing praises of my birth land... there is perhaps a slim chance of that, but I doubt it.
      I shall refrain from stating my thoughts on your last sentence :-)

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  12. Lovely photos Mel and thanks for informing me of this eternal flame, I think it's a beautiful way to reflect on the movement of people. As I read the poem I though of all those people travelling even now in desperate situations to reach better places.

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    1. A great many thanks Suzie for your comments. Yes as you said about todays immigrants and the terrible journeys that they are experiencing. I wanted to bring that to peoples minds via the blog and then I decided that hopefully it might nudge folk into awareness anyway...and again hopefully!

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  13. Great emigration data bases. I have read the phrase: Blow In was given to Irish emigrants to Australia in the Fifties.

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  14. If you go back far enough, everyone everywhere is a blow-in from somewhere else, aren't they? Like you, Mel, I have no desire to cross the pond, but the Irish have always been great travellers and I love it that they have 'blown out' to so many countries across the globe. What a beautiful ship the Dunbrody was/is!

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    1. Yes you are quite right Val and thank you for the comment.

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  15. Jack L said:
    A nice written piece on the ships which carried all those people off to a new life in N. America....although many Irish immigrants certainly made their way to the New England states of America, many Irish imigrants also made Canada their new home. The Atlantic provinces in particular Newfoundland has a distinctly Irish 'feel' to it.

    Must admit as lovely as though sailing ships are, I can imagine the jouney across the Atlantic would have entailed many difficulties, and hardships...and then landing on the foreign shores and to go where??? Must have been very confusing and frightening at times..but then facing the spectre of starvation or your livelihood stolen from you... a new fresh start, in a new land would seem no less a gamble I think!

    Great touch to add the link to the passenger lists on these ships...I guess my great-grandmother and her Father (Francis Cousins) both would have sailed on one of these ships too, I think it was around 1884..according to a family history book. I might take a trip one day to the area they came from, around the vicinty of Lough Neagh.

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    1. Many thanks for your appreciation Jack.

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  16. thanx for sharing Mel, this subject can lead on to a huge debate with so many threads that its probably impossible to discuss here. But, famine is a misnomer, there was not a famine, and you noted that; the ships manifests show the huge amount of food shipped out of Eire at that time, genocide is imho a more suitable word. i do have a question though. Some aid came from the U.S. Did the americans know they shipped potatoes with blight into Eire?

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    1. Thank you for your comment Odinson.
      To your question. I have never heard of Ireland having received blighted potatoes from the U.S. .
      Although, I am very well aware that financial aid was received from The Cherokee and Choctaw tribes at that time. Indeed at tree was planted by some of Cherokee people's descendants on Lloyd Hill near Kells in Co. Meath to mark their gift (planted in the 90's because I was there) and there is also a sculpture from the Choctaw in Cork to mark the occasion of their gift.

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  17. Hi Mel, the US blighted spuds info was in a documentary on rte years ago im sure it was on the gerry ryan show an episode which was dedicated to the 'famine' subject.
    yes the choctaw representatives visited cobh, that was early this year when a monument to their help was unveiled.
    isnt it amazing that they heard about the plight of the irish and did something about it when they had so little themselves

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    1. I will take your words as gospel :-) for we do not have a TV by choice. From what I can make out news of Ireland's plight reached quite a few countries. I heard that a Prince in India wanted to send a couple of thousand sovereigns and was not allowed to send more than Queen Victoria's donation because it would look bad...!

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