Peering Through the Curtins in Ireland

My mother’s parents came here from the northern part of County Cork, in the area around Rockchapel. It’s a small village along the River Feale near the borders of Kerry and Limerick; a beautiful spot, though not the sort of place where the tour buses pass through.

Armed with bits and pieces of information, I left an afternoon open to visit Rockchapel during my Ireland trip to see if I could find any distant cousins.

This was complicated.

My grandmother was named Curtin, as was my grandfather. This seemed odd to me, two Curtins marrying — until until I got to Rockchapel, where I learned that anyone not named Curtin is related to a Curtin.

Sunday afternoon at Paddy Molly's.

The quest began at the pub, Paddy Molly’s. Until ten year’s ago it had been called Curtin’s.

It was Sunday afternoon and people came and went as I drank my pint of Guinness, but it was John Curtin — not a direct relation, I don’t think — who suggested I seek out the postmaster, Henry Keogh. “He knows everyone and how they’re all related. There’s a dance today outside town; you can find him there.”

John Curtin gives us directions.

We got back in the car to go find the dance. “Look for the fella playing the bodhrán. That will be Henry.”

Read Part II

6 responses to “Peering Through the Curtins in Ireland

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