All My Bags Are Packed…

Well, sort of. I still have a few more hours till I have to head out to the airport in Toronto. But all the research has been organized and I’ve prepared all my technology to take my mobile office to Ireland. My overnight flight from Toronto to Dublin lands me in the emerald island mid-morning and then after picking up my rental car I’ll be heading to the Rebel County — Cork to stay with my cousin, Joe O’Flynn, and his family for a couple of days.

There I’ll have the chance to reunite with Chrissy O’Flynn — the wife of my namesake, Terry O’Flynn, who was one of my great-grandfather’s children from his second wife Madge Morey, whom he married in 1919. Interestingly Terry was born the same year (1921) as my dad (Patrick Joseph O’Flynn  — Canadianized to Joe Flynn) — and Terry would have been his half-uncle (my grandfather’s half-brother). Terry died in 1983.

In Cork I’m staying with Terry’s youngest son Joe whom I met in 1996 at a family reunion in Batesville Indiana about a month after our dad died. It was an interesting first meeting — “Hi, I’m your cousin Joe O’Flynn” he said. “Wow, that was my dad’s name” I replied. “My name is Terry Flynn” I said. To which he replied “Wow, that was my dad’s name.”

In 1998, Stephanie and I stayed with Joe and Mary at Shaneville, their home in Cork. We had a wonderful time with their son Conor and Joe’s sister’s Margaret and Kathleen.

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July 1998: Stephanie, Terry, Joe and Mary.

Joe’s a very busy guy and with the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, he has a number of functions to attend, but he has assured me that we will be talking about all things Flynn/O’Flynn in the hopes of gathering more information on his grandfather and my great-grandfather, Denis O’Flynn. I’ll also spend some time in the Cork City/County Archives to get a sense of life in the area at the turn of the 20th century. I want to visit some of the places where Denis and his families lived between 1894 (the year he married Bridget O’Leary) and his death in Cork City in 1947.

Given the celebrations that will be taking place to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rising, I may have to bend Joe’s ear to try and get a sense of his understanding of the local politics of the day.

From Cork City I’ll be heading to Ballynagore — on the outskirts of Rathcormac where my cousin Joan Hoskins (nee Cahill) leaves with her husband Pat to stay for a couple of days to do some research on the Cahill family. I first met Pat and Joan in 1973 on my first trip to Ireland — they were engaged and about to get married. In July 1998, Stephanie spent a few days with Joan, her mam (Aunt Peg) and her brother Pat Cahill and Joan and Pat’s daughter Martina. It was a lovely visit. A year later, my brothers (Pat, K.C., Larry, Sean and I) stopped by for a visit at the farm as well.

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July 1998: Pat Cahill, Pat and Joan Hoskins, Aunt Peg Cahill (nee Lane) , me and Martina Hoskins.

The Cahill clan are from my grandmother Molly’s side. Molly was born and raised on a farm at Ballybrowney, just a couple of kilometers outside of Rathcormac. She met and married my grandfather John Joseph O’Flynn in Rathcormac and they were married in October of 1920 in the chapel of the Church of Immaculate Conception in Rathcormac. Their world was rather compact as Rathcormac and Ballybrowney were all within a 10 kilometer radius.

So stay tuned…the fun is just beginning.

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