Home to Dear Old Erin
Tell a friend:
Please don't use the "Send Page" feature of your computer to
send this entire page in an e-mail message, document or pdf
format.  This distorts the layout and separates the page from its
source.  If you'd like to share it, please just send the link.
The link to this page is:
I've found it easier to trace the history of all of my Scottish and English ancestors
combined (as well as my one lone Swiss ancestor) than my paternal grandmother's
Irish family.  The only thing I know beyond doubt about my Cain 2-g-grandparents is that
they immigrated from Ireland to America before the birth of my g-grandfather, John.
The Cain family's history in Ireland remains a mystery to me.  I think that's one of
the reasons I treasure the memory of the things my grandmother told me about
her father, who had shared some of his parents' stories about their homeland.
He always wanted so badly to visit Ireland one day, but he never made it.  During his
final illness, he told my grandmother that he was about to see "dear old Erin" at last.
She thought he was delirious until he smiled - the twinkle still in his eye - and said
that his mother had assured him that Heaven would closely resemble Ireland.
My grandmother never spoke of her father's "death," instead she talked about the day
he "went home to Erin."  Whenever she said it, her soft blue eyes would
hold a twinkle...much, I suspect, like the Irish twinkle in her father's eye.
And, when you think of it, couldn't you say that a thatched-roof cottage on the Irish
coast - with sheep grazing in the pasture, dogs resting by the hearth and leprechauns
playing in the garden - might just qualify as a little bit of Heaven?   --  Nancy
~   The photos on this page are all from Ireland.   ~
Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.  -- Oscar Wilde
In an exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gaily, that came at my call...
And the peace of mind that's the dearest of all.   
-- Henry Bishop
Above, a famine cottage in County Kerry, Ireland, once home to victims of the
great famine of the 1840's.  There are many such cottages to be found across
Ireland.  Some have been restored, some have been turned into museums and
some sit empty, lonely keepers of the sad and haunting secrets of the past.
The photo of the famine cottage reminds me of a poem by J. R. R. Tolkein:
"The air was neither night nor day, but faintly dark with softest light,
When first there glimmered into sight the Cottage of Lost Play;
Those old shores and gardens fair, where all things are that ever were,
We know not, you and me.  We know not, you and me."
More than a million people in Ireland died as a result of the famine; more than
500,000 families were evicted from their cottages because they were unable to pay
rent; and, between 1845-1855, two million people were forced to leave their home-
land and immigrate to other countries.  I wonder if my Cains were among them?
You who walk with troubled thoughts,
Come, enter here, and rest;
May the sweet serenity of growing things,
And the heavenly peace they bring,
Be mirrored in your soul.  
-- Doxis Palmer
All the loveliest things there be come simply, or so it seems to me.
-- Edna St. Vincent Millay
A man is rich in direct proportion to the number of things
he can do without.
-- Henry David Thoreau
I never said I actually saw a leprechaun.  But, then, again, I never said I didn't.
-- Quinn O'Connor