Part 1...Irish history...Connemara Heritage and History Centre...


The entrance to the Connemara Heritage and History Centre located near Clifden.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland"
When children are little, each birthday it is traditional to pick up the child, turn them over and bump their head gently on their birthday cake. The child’s head is bumped once for each year they have lived. It is believed that partaking in this tradition brings good luck and good fortune to the child."
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Yesterday, upon arrival at the Connemara Heritage and History Centre, we took photos of the exterior.  It was a rainy and misty day prompting up to visit an indoor venue but we weren't disappointed when we entered the gardens which we had no idea were so lovely and worthy of photos, rain or shine.
Beautiful flowers lined the parking area.
A sunny day would have ideal for many of the photos we'll share here over the next few days. But, we decided we won't keep the weather from preventing us from getting out and about unless it's raining heavily.  The narrow winding roads are dangerous enough on sunny days.
A tractor pulling a trolley car is used for tours to the centre.
Once we paid the senior discounted entrance fee of Euro 7.5, US $8.40, and walked through the shops we were escorted to a small movie theatre where we watched a 20-minute video on the history of Connemara including the sorrowful story of Dan O'Hara, a local man, and his family who's life story is heartbreaking.
There are numerous streams running through the scenic grounds of the centre.
Many farmers and families enjoyed a good life, although not easy, in Connemara up until the Great Famine as described below from this site:


"The Great Famine, or the Great Hunger, was a period in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 of mass starvation, disease, and emigration. Wikipedia

Start date: September 13, 1845

End date1849

Impact on demographics: Population fell by 20–25% due to mortality and emigration

Did you know: Great Irish Famine is the second-deadliest disaster in Great Britain and Ireland by death toll (1,000,000 to 1,500,000)."
Overlooking a stream.
In part, the video we watched focused on the Dan O'Hara family, the history of which must have been passed down over the generations.  The Connemara Heritage and History Centre dedicated the facility to his and his family's memory with grace and dignity.

The centre is located within a 20-minute uphill walk on a rocky road to the remainder of the homestead and barn of Dan O'Hara.  Fortunately, we were able to drive to the historic home and grounds.
Once indoors, we paid the entrance fee of Euro 7.5, US $8.40, the senior rate.
Over the years private and well-known public figures from around the world have dedicated the planting of a tree to the grounds as stated here from the centre's website:

"Plant Your Roots in Ireland
Dan O' Hara's Homestead, the award-winning Connemara Heritage & History Centre has been welcoming visitors from all over the world for many years. Situated in the Gaeltacht and dedicated to the memory of the immortalized Dan O' Hara who along with his wife and seven children was evicted from this homestead by his landlord in 1845. Along with so many more people from Connemara and Ireland during this era, he was forced to immigrate on the coffin ships to the US."
The restaurant was quiet at 10:30 am.  Surely during tours, this facility would have been busy.
"Unfortunately, his wife and 3 of his children did not survive the journey and needless to say he arrived in New York a very broken man. Dan O' Hara's homestead offers a very unique insight into the life and times of Connemara during the 19th Century along with the history of the region not to mention a verse of the renowned Ballad Dan O' Hara.

As part of our commitment to the continued and sensitive development of the Connemara Heritage & History Centre and to Dan O' Hara's memory and those of the many Irish who were forced to leave their homesteads for America we have developed "A Roots from Ireland Park."
The Irish wear sweaters, flannel shirts, and fleece-lined jackets to stay warm in the cool summer months and snowy winters.  We have sufficient warm clothing with us and didn't make a purchase.
"Here we will plant indigenous Irish Trees, Ash, Alder, Hawthorn and Sycamore Trees which can be dedicated to your ancestors, a family member or a good friend. A personalized plaque at the foot of the tree will accompany each tree planted and the person for whom it is chosen will receive a Certificate of Ownership for their home or office wall."

Ironically, the above-mentioned song, Dan O'Hara, was sung by Finbar Furey at the Minnesota Irish Fair on August 8th, 2015.  The link for the song may be found here at this link.
More in the gift shop, filled with Irish memorabilia and trinkets of high quality.
Both of us were touched by this sad story and when we left the centre's main building and gardens to visit Dan O'Hara's home and grounds, it all had a special meaning, especially to Tom.  

As we've mentioned in the past, Tom's ancestors are from Ireland, many from nearby counties and many who immigrated to the US from the 1830s to the 1850s as they escaped the devastating famine and sailed across the sea after considerable loss of loved ones and a life of hard work on the land.
These 30 breeds of sheep may be found in Ireland.  We've already encountered several.
Tomorrow, we'll return with more photos and history of the life of the people of Connemara.  It is indeed special to learn about the island of Ireland and its rich history and determined people.

For our loved ones and friends in the USA, have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day weekend.  For our friends throughout the world enjoy the weekend and holidays in your countries at this time.
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Photo from one year ago today, May 25, 2018:
A face of a cape buffalo only a mother could love spotted in Kruger National Park.  For more photos, please click here.

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