Friday 9th May
Today dawned bright and sunny, but not for long. I said goodbye to Ennis after a wonderful few days here. I paid a visit to the Clare Museum, Ennis Friary and a quick look at a few shops, then out to the Sandfield Centre, home of birth, marriage & death registrations. I wanted to try and get some historical certificates, but had only limited success, as the certificate I particularly wanted could not be found.
Moving on, I drove out to Kilrush, around the town and out to Cappagh with its view across to Scattery Island. Unfortunately, Scattery opens to the public for the season on the 29th May, the day after I leave, so visiting there will have to wait for another trip.
Then out to the Vandeleur gardens - the woods of the demesne were beautiful but the ravages of the winter storms were evident with a line of big trees uprooted. The Vandeleur family were one of the biggest land-owning families during the 18th & 19th centuries. Their home, Kilrush House no longer exists, and the walled gardens are all that remain of the estate. The gardens & surrounds were lovely, having been restored and dedicated to those people who were evicted from the Vandeleur estate.
Leaving Kilrush, I headed to Kilkee and on to Kilbaha, where I met up with Pip, Karen and their little girl. Pip is my 3rd cousin, twice removed. (or for those who can't follow the "removed" bit, he will be a 5th cousin of my grandchildren when and if I have any!) After a cup of tea and a chat, they brought me up to Kilbaha cottage. Virginia and I had stayed there with Pip's parents when we visited 7 years ago. It was lovely to be back in the old place again, the scene of so many family gatherings over the past 160 years. The original single story cottage was given to my 2x great- aunt, Mary Anna Pilkington, on her marriage to Robert Griffin in 1851, by her uncle Marcus Keane. The cottage has had a couple of extensions over the years, and apart from a short period of about 8 years, it has remained in the family ever since. The cottage has changed a little since my last visit - now painted white rather than the natural stone, with a new roof, and a new wood heater in the dining room, but otherwise still the same nice homey feel.