Trip to Garvagh      April 28 to May 7, 2006                     Last edited July 12, 2006

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Peggy's  Families



May  2006
Copyright © 1999-2006
Wm. W. McNeary II 


On April 27, 2006, Peggy and I drove from Charleston, MO,  to St. Louis, flew to Chicago, then on Aerlingus flew to Dublin - about a 71/2 hour flight.   Bussed to Belfast and enjoyed the scenery on a two and a half hour drive.  Brian Clements picked us up at the Belfast bus station, and we began a wonderful three day stay with Brian and Rosie, First stop was Clements Gifts where Brian and Rosie work. Later, Brian drove us around.  At the Clements, that evening we had a fine meal, and for the first time met cousins Aileen, Marshall and Yvonne and Saturday morning met Andra.  We spent some of the morning at the shop, and then at noon Peggy and I had a nice visit and a meal with Peggy's cousin Roger MacWilliam and wife Irene at their home in Drumbeg.  Sunday Marshall and Yvonne had us in their home for two meals and a tour of several Belfast sights.  Immediately below are mostly Belfast area relatives and places.          (Double Click on Image for more detail)
      Brian meeting us a bus station                                                Brian and Rosie in their shop                      Irene and Roger MacWilliam at home
 Peggy, Aileen, Marshall,Yvonne, Rosie, Brian                                         Belfast Castle                             Stretch VW at Belfast Castle wedding
           Belfast City Hall                                        Stormont                          Hillsboro Castle                              Queen's "Castle" 

Monday May 1, Peggy and I , with cousin Marshall Edwards who agreed to share three days with us, and to drive, took off for Garvagh in a rented car.  On the way we stopped in Coleraine to have tea, a meal, and more tea and a fine visit with Dora, Rosie's mother.  Then on to Garvagh.   First we checked into the Heathfield Farm B&B owned by Heather and Gerald Torrens.  Facility and food was outstanding and Gerald and Heather were great hosts.  A fine place to stay! 
                                      Dora                                               Heathfield Farmhouse B&B                             Gerald & Heather Torrens 

That evening, we visited with George McIlroy, Beth and Diane at their home, where we were treated to an evening meal, and to lunch the next day.  After supper, George took us to cemetaries the old First Garvagh and Main Street Presbyterian church, and then on to the Desertoghill cemetary.  Then to Tirkeeran the home of James Rentoul McNeary, more recently known as the Rankin house. It was built in 1892.  After that we went to the Carhill school where we understand James Rentoul McNeary taught.
   George and Beth                                                           Old 1st Presbyterian Garvagh Marker        Ancient stone at Desertoghill Graveyard
John Wilson and other ancestors at Desertoghill                         Tirkeeran 1892-2006                            Tirkeeran & Fergus Kearney, owner

Tuesday, George had arranged for us to go into First Garvagh, Main Street and Moneydig churches. (More later)   After that we went to the Garvagh Museum which was very impressive. 
     1st Garvagh Presbyterian Church     Main Street  Presbyterian Church        Moneydig Presbyterian Church                       Garvagh Museum

Tuesday afternoon, we went on to visit William Reid at his home in Coleraine. William is a cousin on the Wilson side, an expert genealogist in his spare time.  It was good of him to have us over.
William Reid, Marshall, Peggy, Bill        Aghadowey St Guaire's COI                       Aghadowey P.C.                         Ballylaggan Reformed P C

Wednesday was a rainy day.  In the morning we went to the Aghadowey COI and Presbyterian graveyards, and the Ballylaggan Reformed Presbyterian Church Graveyard. Later in the day Marshall took us up to PortStewart to see the town and to see whereDaniel and Molly McNeary McGrath lived.  Their house is now the Port Stewart Police Station.  We also visited the Ballywillan (I think) cemetary where several McGraths and where Alexander McIlherene are buried.

McGrath Home/Police Station                              McGraths                                            McIlherne                            St. Patricks COI, Ballymena

Thursday we headed back to Belfast, via Ballymena.   We visited the St. Patrick's Churh of Ireland where great grandparents on the other side, Mary Ann Courtney and Thomas Lennox were married.  Mary Ann's father, Richard Courtney came to Ballymena in the early 1860s to become an overseer at Braidwater Spinning, the first flax mill of that type in the area, which was torn down in recent years. 

Below are several other NI pictures in no particular order

     Our Wheels                                    Agivey River @ Garvagh                   MainSt Garv - Matthew on Left         Gorse, commonly  known as
                                                                                                                   James Rentoul McNeary on Right               whin, at Tirkeeran
          Bill, Peggy, Rosie, Brian            Peggy, Rosie, Brian and Marshall       Marshall and George at Carhill               No SNAKES in Ireland
                                                                                                                                                                                      except at Portrush
          Imperial Hotel at Garvagh              Imperial meal for three           Ancient Graveyard and Ballintemple Church      Sheep adjacent to Tirkeeran

Not shown are pictures of our meal at the Brown Trout, where Peggy, Marshall and I, were joined by George and Beth, and also by Kathleen and Ronald Mullan.  I forgot my camera so don't have a picture of Kathleen who  is another Magheramore/Tirkeeran McNeary cousin. 

In summary, our trip to Belfast and to Garvagh was a wonderful experience.  The best part was the people, cousins and new friends. I had lookded forward to this trip as a sort of homecoming, and for me it truly was.  I am forever indebted to everyone who was so thoughtful, and who made us feel at home.

Thursday afternoon we boarded a Belfast train to Dublin.  Walked about five blocks from the Dublin Train Station to the Avondale B&B. The Avondale ws a disappointment - clean but very minimal, but we did get a good breakfast each morning.    On Friday, we took a downtown bus tour which you could get off and on again.  It was good.  We went the whole route, and then got off at Trinity to see the book of Kells.  Then we walked over to O'Neills Pub and had a good lunch.  Walked a ways and got back on the bus, and returned to Parnell square.  We walked some more, stopped for coffee in a restaurant that advertised among other things coffee, but who weren't happy when we said we only came in for coffee.   Then to the Avondale and out of there as quickly as possible,  Then to supper in an Italian restaurant which was quite good.  Then back to the B&B.  Saturday morning, we hustled out to the airport   Dublin was a crowded, busy, international city. 

One of Hundreds of Dublin Cranes         Lunch at O'Neil's Pub                               Parnell Square                               Avondale B&B such as it is
          Historic Dublin Post Office                Trinity College                                  Another view of Trinity                       Dublin International Airport