Return to Coollattin for a week of fun, learning and connection with your forebears
The Homeward Trek 2016...............a truly memorable and emotional event
When we set out on Saturday, 20 August, to bring our guests on a week long voyage of discovery few could have envisaged the emotion filled bonds of comradery that would be forged amongst us during the ensuing days. Dark clouds, humid conditions and constant heavy downpours of rain did their utmost to dampen our spirits as we, for the first time, broke bread together in the yard at Minmore Mews. For those who had travelled all of those miles to be with us the chicken skewers and the beef burgers must have tasted like manna from heaven. The 'Lawrence connection' of Dave, Kris, Al and Linda looked, and must have felt, perplexed. They had arrived safely here in spite of storms at sea, a delayed cross channel ferry, a missed train connection and a bus that refused to stop at their destination. The journey made by their ancestors, John and Martha in 1848 must have appeared like a trip to the corner store in comparison to what these folk had endured nearly 170 years later. Most of the others had travelled via a more relaxed route. Dianne and Sean and spent a day (a very wet day!) and night in Gorey. Anita and Peter had spent time in Sligo, worked at the all Ireland Fleadh Ceol in Ennis before touching down at Minmore. Jim and Mary had arrived early and had the pleasure of staying for a couple of days with John and Mary at Minmore before the commencement of the Trek. Anne Kraushaar had ridded herself of jet lag by staying with us in Carnew for a few days prior to the event. Alana's relatives, Jose and Margaret Dowse, had taken her under their wing, for the days before and after the Trek. Elizabeth Krajewski from her accommodation in Trinity College had viewed the sights of our capital city. Jennifer Till also stayed in Dublin before travelling to Minmore. Jennifer Made herself at home amidst the Fitzwilliam Papers in our national library. Sunday was a relaxed day. A visit to the historic Carnew Castle was followed by walking tour of the town. The day ended with a finger food and a sing song in Kenny's Corner House. Monday and Tuesday saw an total immersion in Irish history, from the Stone Age to the present day. This was accomplished through visits to the Ross Tapestry Museum, the Dunbrody replica famine ship, the National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig, the 1798 Centre and Castle in Enniscorthy and Wicklow Gaol. On Wednesday we were treated to a tour of the Coolkenna area by local archaeologist and historian, Colum O'Rourke. This included guided tours of the Rathgall hill fort and St Finian's church at Aghowle. Thursday was a memorable day indeed. It was on this day that the participants were brought on a bus tour of Coollattin Estate - the land of their forefathers. We had a big surprise for the Lawrences when we brought our group up a long laneway in the townland of Slieveroe. We eventually arrived at the ruins of their ancestral home which was vacated by John and Martha and their nine children in 1848. Below is a newspaper report on this moving event. This article was written by a long lost cousin, journalist Brendan Lawrence.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF A CANADIAN FAMILY
To view a video of the poignant 'goose bump' moment when the Lawrences were re united with both their long lost ancestral home and their new found cousins CLICK HERE
A Memorable Finale!
It was fitting that the grand celebratory event marking the finale of our week should held in historic Coollattin House, the epicentre of the once all powerful Coollattin Estate. It was also fitting that our Canadian and American visitors were greeted on arrival by Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam, Lady Mary, Lady Alice, butler Finn, groomsman Behan, cook Browne as well as all of the ancillary staff at the big house. A cheese and wine reception in the Library was followed by a tour of the house, a big screen depiction of the the Coollattin Clearances and a concert which showcased the very best of Wicklow talent. The evening concluded with a barbecue on the front lawn. As the Canadian national flag was raised, Anne Kraushaar gave an uplifting rendition of the Canadian national anthem.
To watch Anne Kraushaar's rendition of 'Oh Canada' CLICK HERE To watch Dave Lawrence's address at Coollattin House CLICK HERE To watch Mayor Pankow's speech at Coollattin House CLICK HERE
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