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    Posted December 4, 2011 by
    Murdock, Minnesota

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    Home to Knockanarroor


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JannetWalsh travelled to Knockanarroor, Ireland, in April to learn more about her ancestry, and now she shares with us this initial video of her quest.

    She says: 'I have always wanted to learn more about my family’s history, but the stumbling stones have always been that little was known of the precise location in Ireland [...]' In January, JannetWalsh found a photo of her great-great-grand mother, Ellen Brennan Foley, inside a pillowcase with a note attached. 'There was note attached with a string that said to leave the pillow case alone [...] Of course, I opened it!'

    Through internet research and after contacting the library and parishes in Ireland, to which she believed her great-great-grandmother belonged, she was able to find out records of that confirmed her residence in Knockanarroor. She adds: 'I stayed at one hotel the entire trip, the Arutus Hotel in Killarney, in County Kerry. When I arrived, I was having so much trouble driving and with directions, that one of the staff members got in the car with me to help me park the car the first day. Being able to drive was vital as Knockanarroor is a remote location. This hotel has a bar known for traditional Irish music, called Buckley's Bar. Irish coffee is best while in Ireland listening to Irish music, of course, after trying to drive on the "wrong" side of the road!'
    - elchueco, CNN iReport producer

    Home to Townland Knockanarroor, Ireland

    Near Killarney

    County Kerry

    Project Overview
    This is a video project of my journey back home to my family’s roots in Knockanarroor Townland, located just east of the city of Killarney in County Kerry, in western Ireland. Knockanarroor, pronounced “knock-on-a-roar”, is an unmarked dirt road where my grandmother’s family lived at least until 1840s, before the Great Famine in Ireland starting in 1845. (There are several spellings of Knockanarroor, so I am using the spelling from the 1911 Irish census.)

    It is becoming increasing popular for descendants of immigrants in the United States to search for the origins even when they have few details, a century or more after their ancestors left their “old countries” in Europe or other lands. There are more resources available to the public as records become digitalized and available online.

    My family was part of a Catholic colony settled in De Graff and Murdock in Minnesota, about 1876. Minnesota was poor in jobs during that time, but not in land. Land was set aside for the poor and homeless immigrants to move to in Swift County and make their livings farming. To this day, my family continues to farm the land my ancestors acquired.

    Like many immigrants, my family left Ireland not by choice, but most likely out of a need for survival. A photo of my great-great-grand mother, Ellen Brennan Foley, was found this past winter in a pillow case with enough details to guide me to Ireland, after a short search with my handful of hints.

    In April 2011, I travelled “home” for the first time known to my family to the precise location my Irish ancestors lived, worked, worshiped and made their living in a townland described by the locals as a “poorish land” of rough ground, surrounded by bogs.


    More videos will be published during December 2011.

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