Story by Alan Jacques
IRISH descendants from across the globe touchdown in the Mid West for a new television series ‘Tar Abhaile’ on Sunday, November 17 next.
Presented by Evelyn O’Rourke, episode one features the local communities of Lough Gur and Knockainey as they welcome home descendants in search of their Irish ancestors.
The six-part bilingual series on TG4 works on the premise of ‘living genealogy’, tracing real people and their unique stories, their unique journey and their unique connection with Ireland. It pivots on reconnection, reunion and homecoming.
In the first episode, Bryan Lynch from Ayr in Australia comes back to Limerick to find the church his great grandparents got married in over 150 years ago. In a moving segment, Bryan reveals his dream to renew his wedding vows to his civilly married wife Patti in this Catholic church, should he find it.
He also meets Tony, a distant cousin he never knew he had, but who was probably the only man in Ireland able to bring him to the burial plot of his Irish ancestors.
“Thank you for a great time in Lough Gur and Patrickswell, it has opened the door to so much. Since the show, I have found the records for birth of Denis Snr, death of Abigail, and birth of their children Margaret, John and Patrick. I have also found Margaret’s only surviving granddaughter who is 93-years-old and now lives in Victoria, Australia. If it was not for the TV show and the local volunteers none of this would have been possible,” enthused Mr Lynch.
Meanwhile, Marsha Thomas from Chicago is equally bowled away when she comes back to Knockainey and finds out that her ancestors were at the centre of one of the historically most significant evictions of the Land War.
Marsha visits her great-grandfather’s homestead in County Limerick and discovers how her feisty ancestors courageously stood up to their British landlords.
“It was truly amazing. My brain hasn’t figured it all out yet, but the information is incredible. When I think back about where my great-grandfather was born I am amazed,” said Ms Thomas.
‘Tar Abhaile’ will show on TG4 on Sunday, November 17 at 9.30pm.