Sunday, 7 September 2014

The last of Clare...

Loop head continued....
After such a beautiful walk with Laura of The Long Way Round Walking Company, it was time for some refreshment.  Back in Kilbaha, I stopped at the Lighthouse Inn for a bowl of delicious chowder.  The Lighthouse Inn is the pub which was originally run by Susan Pilkington Haier, my 2x great-aunt, back in the 1860's and remained in the Haier family until recent years. I hadn't visited it before, but it was one of the things I wanted to do.  Due to its location right on the foreshore of Kilbaha Bay, the facade of the building had sustained some damage during the storms of the past winter.  Repairs were in progress, both to the Inn and the surrounding areas. 

In the pub, I happened to run into Pip, who had called in to speak to the owner.  Good to see him again, as I hadn't expected to do so.  Pip told me that another mutual cousin had just arrived in Kilbaha from England for a short stay at their family cottage.  So off I went to introduce myself to Veronica, another 4th cousin on the Keane side.  Good to make her acquaintance as well, and exchange email addresses for future reference.

I then went for a short walk around the Kiltrellig end (eastern side) of Kilbaha Bay, visited the memorial to the Grave of the Yellow Men, which was a new addition since my last visit 7 years previously.  The story of the Yellow Men is one of those recorded in our family records, being memorialised in a poem written by Amy Griffin.

The Grave of the Yellow Men

None knew from whither those drowned men came,
Swept in by the foaming tide.
So a grave was dug without a name,
Where they slumber side by side.

Their deeds are not spoken above the clay,
They perished we know not when.
Only a green mound marks today,
The Grave of the Yellow Men.

Even the wild wind sings their dirge,
While the sea birds in echo cry.
And eternally wet by the briny surge,
Is the spot where the strangers lie.

Benefiting for those whose lives are dark,
And whose death was full of pain,
But never recording stone doth mark,
The Grave of the Yellow Men.

Fond wives may have wept through the dreary night,
For the husbands they loved so well,
And at first faint dawn of welcome light,
Arisen, their beads to tell.

To hear the babes as the brightly wake,
Has father come home again?
Oh, hearts may have longed they might only break,
On the Grave of the Yellow Men.

We know they died on the raging deep,
But they lived we know not how.
Well their secret those slumberers keep,
None will ever tell it now.

But we know that the name of each lost one there,
Has been graved by his Maker’s pen.
Nor will He at last have forgotten where
To seek for The Yellow Men.

by Amy Griffin (1855-1910)

From here, I drove out to Ross and had a wander around the rocks there before driving along the coast road to Kilkee and back to Kilrush where I had hoped to catch up with Colin Keane again to see some old family papers he had brought down.  Unfortunately, Colin had decided to go out to Kilbaha for a drive, so we probably passed on the road.

the beach at Ross

I did eventually catch up with Colin over dinner in Crotty's pub, with Paddy Waldron & Kay Clancy.
After keeping myself busy all day so that I wouldn't think about it, it was finally time for my presentation that evening to Kilrush & District Historical Society.  KDHS meets once a month, with a guest speaker on a topic of interest, and Paddy Waldron has always included me on the invitation list each month via Facebook.  Earlier in the year, when I had yet again declined the invitation (Kilrush being a bit far from Melbourne to allow it), I added the comment that I would definitely be there for the May meeting.  Back came the reply from Paddy asking if I would like to be the presenter for that meeting!  After a bit of consideration I agreed, although by the time this evening had come around I was wondering why I did!  I had put together a powerpoint presentation which included some of the references and photos from our family collection, and traced the history of our branch of Pilkingtons (and Griffins) from their earliest records in Clare up to their settlement in South Gippsland.  There is a quite indistinct recording of the presentation here - apparently I needed to inhale the microphone as I spoke.  There was a good turnout for the presentation, and it seemed to be well received, although I did wonder why anyone else would be interested in our family! 

I am so sorry that I wasn't able to have a couple of days in Clare following the presentation.  In hindsight it was a big mistake, although doing so would have meant I wouldn't have had the time with Tom & Sally in London before coming home.  There were several people present who I would have very much liked to follow up with on potential family connections.  In particular, a man named ..... wait for it ..... Tom Pilkington, who lives in Ennis, and who is almost certainly a distant cousin of mine.  Tom owns land at Gortmore which has been in his family for generations.  Gortmore is an adjoining townland to Cragleigh.  In the course of my research, I have found several similarities and parallels between his family and mine, which I would very much have liked to explore further with him.

Sadly, this evening was time to say goodbye to my Clare friends - Larry, Paddy, Kay in particular, but also everyone else who had made me so welcome during my visit.  We retired back to Crotty's for a drink to unwind (well, for me to unwind), and then it was time to re-pack the bags, and toss some unnecessaries to meet to weight requirement for the flight to London.

No comments:

Post a Comment