What a day! I said goodbye to the Dublin group at breakfast this morning as some were returning home and others were headed out to visit the areas where their families lived in Ireland. I too, was visiting cousins on my way to Belfast. Anita and I connected in 2015 when she contacted me through Ancestry indicating that we (actually my husband) were related. I happened to be in Ireland at the time and was surprised to find that she was living in Down. We met on that trip and confirmed the relationship. She and Brian are 3rd cousins 1x removed.
Today she picked me up in Newry and we met up with a local historian, Michael McCartan (who it turns out is also likely related) and her uncle Brendan and visited the farm where Brian's grandmother, Bridget King was born. Michael had made arrangements with a local farmer whose property was next to the King farm (and was the family home of Brian's great great grandmother) to visit and walk through his cow pasture to get to the ruin of the King home. It was amazing. Thanks to the McAleenans for letting us visit.
Just riding around with these people was a treat. I was glad Michael was driving because the road was only wide enough for one car. If someone was coming in the other direction, one has to pull over or back up. As we drove they kept up a conversation that named everyone who lived in every house we past, and how they were all related. We visited the cemetery, and although many stones were not readable, I took pictures of those that were and will try to work back the names to see if I can connect them as there were a lot of King families in the area. We also visited the O'Loughlin farm that was one generation back...Bridgit King's mother was an O'Loughlin. The day was just amazing and I'm still absorbing it. Anita dropped me off at the bus in Newcastle which got me into Belfast about 9:00 pm. I wanted to sit down and make notes on all of the pictures I took before I forgot.
If you have an opportunity to visit Ireland, try to find the living descendants of your family. Visiting the cousins in Westmeath on October 4th and today in Down has been the highlight of the trip for me.