Friday, 22 August 2014

Athy, co Kildare

Wednesday 21 May.
Athy was the home of Alfred and Henrietta Haughton, my Haughton great-great-grandparents, where Alfred owned the mill at Ardreigh, just out of town.  I arrived here around midday after driving up from New Ross in the morning.

I am sitting in the late afternoon sunshine on the banks of the River Barrow in Athy, co. Kildare.  Today has been a beautiful sunny day.  The otherwise peaceful scene was a little spoiled by the group of yobs and their dogs further along the bank, clearly a bit worse the wear from alcohol.  But they've now moved on and I have the space to myself.

River Barrow, Athy


I went out for a trip to the Quaker museum at Ballitore when I first arrived.  The museum is housed in the old home of Mary Leadbeater, who wrote "The Annals of Ballitore", published in 1862.  The book is available as an e-book via this link, and provides a wealth of information about the Quakers and their lives.  Mary's father, Alfred Shackleton, conducted a boarding school at Ballitore, where several of the Pilkington and Keane sons attended.
The museum was interesting and provided a good snapshot back in time.  I thought I had read that there were tea-rooms there as well, but apparently not, so en route back to Athy I stopped at Birrtown House, where I enjoyed afternoon tea and a wander through the beautiful Birrtown gardens.

Mary Leadbeater's home,
now Quaker Museum & library,
Ballitore

Information from a Haughton document I had researched stated that Alfred and Henrietta are buried in "the Athy burial-ground".  There are three cemeteries in the surrounds of Athy, and I really had no idea which one it might be.  I found St. Michaels Old Cemetery just down the road from where I am staying, so that seemed like a good place to start. On the site is the ruins of an old medieval church.

I wandered in, only to be confronted by row after row of seriously weathered and unreadable headstones, with the occasional legible one dating to the early 20th century, much too late for what I was seeking.  After wandering a couple of rows, I had decided that, without anything else to go on, my task was fruitless and settled for just soaking up the atmosphere.  As I turned to leave I sent a silent message - "c'mon g-g-granny, give me some help here" - and there not 20 metres along the path, with a beam of the late afternoon sun shining directly on it, at the base of a large yew tree, I found it!   A substantial granite headstone with an iron railing surround, and quite well-preserved in that the inscription was quite readable looking from side on, so that the lettering was highlighted by shadow.

 
"TO DIE IS GAIN" Phil 1:21

IN LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF
 
ALFRED HAUGHTON
25th May 1858
 
"PRESENT WITH THE LORD" 2 Cor 5:8
"COMPLETE IN HIM" Col 2:10
 
AND OF HIS WIFE
 
HENRIETTA
18 July 1878
 
"I SHALL BE SATISFIED WHEN 
I AWAKE WITH THY LIKENESS" 
Ps 17:15
 
 
 

 
After yesterday's experience in New Ross, I truly believe that my ancestors are helping me out (well, some of them, anyway!)

3 comments:

  1. I've had similar things happen when looking for a grave... there has to something in thinking that our ancestors want to be found. Glad you found yours...

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  2. Hello, I am very interested to have discovered your blog, with information about Alfred and Henrietta Haughton. They were my 3x great grandparents, and although I visited Athy briefly I did not find their grave as you did. I am descended through their son John who married Maria Pilkington. I have not been able to establish for sure who Alfred Haughton's parents were. I would be interested to know if you have researched further back along the Haughton line. I have enjoyed reading your posts, and Sarah Anne Haughton's sketches are wonderful. Cilla

    30 April 2016 at 05:39

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    Replies
    1. Hello Cilla, so pleased you enjoyed my adventures! I've added a "contact" form at the side. If you would like to contact me via that, with an email address, I'm happy to share further information with you. I'm descended from Alfred & Henrietta's daughter Mary who married Thomas Pilkington, brother of your Maria.

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