The Irish in America


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Day 27 of Irish American Favorites: Lou Bader

Today is the first anniversary of Lou Bader’s death. Lou was my dad’s good friend, a proud Irish American, and an all-around great guy. Here’s a post I wrote last year after Regan and I visited the birthplace of Lou’s maternal grandfather near Dungarvan, County Waterford. Lou definitely made an impression on his Irish relatives, and he loved his frequent trips to visit them in Ireland. Lou is dearly missed – on both sides of the Atlantic.

A Candle for Louie

Waterford's Gold Coast (photo Regan McCormack)

Waterford’s Gold Coast

Regan and I looked forward to our visit to County Waterford last September. On previous trips to Ireland we had visited Lismore and Ardmore in Waterford, but didn’t tour the rest of the county. Our real introduction to Waterford came during the past year, through the entertaining tweets from Dungarvan’s Waterford County Museum. The museum shares beautiful photographs and historical items from their collection on Twitter. Regan and I were eager to see Dungarvan and the museum in person, as well as explore more of County Waterford.

But when we arrived in Dungarvan, the sightseeing would have to wait. Regan and I had to attend to some business.

Our dad’s good friend Lou Bader passed away on June 27, 2012. Louie and Dad played a lot of golf together, which probably says it all about their relationship. Louie shared my dad’s competitive streak and sense of humor, as well as his love for a few hours spent on the golf course. But there was something else the two men shared.

About fifteen years ago, my dad began to explore his family history. He traced his roots back to Ballyedmond, County Laois, and found cousins living on the farm his grandfather left in the late 1880s. Louie had also been researching his family tree and had learned about his Irish grandfather through his mother’s stories.

Dungarvan (2)

Street in Dungarvan

I wish I could say that Louie and my dad discovered they shared a grandfather –  that would make a great story! No, Louie and my dad only shared similar questions about their  family history and the wish to find out where they came from. Both men  researched their family trees, traveled to their grandfathers’ birthplaces in Ireland, and made lasting connections with their Irish cousins. Several trips followed for Louie, my dad, and their families.

In light of our autumn trip to Ireland, Dad asked Regan and me to do him a favor and deliver Louie’s memorial card to his cousin in Dungarvan. This was an “old-school” request and my dad’s directions (“Stop in at the cleaners in town and ask for Anne-Marie”) only added to the feeling that we were characters in a Victorian novel. But of course, anything for Louie. He was a good man and a great friend to my dad.

Louie’s maternal grandfather, Matthew O’Rourke, was born in 1869, the youngest son of Patrick and Margaret. The O’Rourke family lived in the townland of Carrigcastle, near the village of Ballylaneen, about five miles from Dungarvan, County Waterford. In her delightful memoir, Love and Oatmeal (2006), Louie’s mother, Madeline O’Rourke Bader, lovingly recounts when she would ask her father why he left Ireland and moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota. A smile came over his face when he told her his sister-in-law encouraged him to go to America. Madeline writes in the memoir:

The way he smiled when he said that, though, always made me think there was something more to the story. A few years ago when I visited Ireland for the first time and saw how beautiful the land he left behind is, I understood a little better that his smile must have covered up a lot of pain and longing. (Love and Oatmeal, p.4)

Anne-Marie wasn’t in at the cleaners, but Mary told us how sad they all were when they heard of Louie’s passing this summer. She said how much they enjoyed his frequent telephone calls (just to check in with his Irish cousins), as well as his visits to Dungarvan. In a few short years Louie had made an impact on his Irish relatives. They really missed him.

Regan and I decided we needed to do something special for Louie, so we found the little church in Ballylaneen where his grandfather was baptized, lit a candle and said a prayer. We thought of Louie and all the O’Rourkes – the ones who stayed in Ireland, those who emigrated, and the few who’ve made it back for a visit.

St. Anne's Church - Ballylaneen, Waterford

St. Anne’s Church, Ballylaneen

For more information about Dungarvan and Waterford County history, please visit Waterford County Museum. Click here to read about the new Dungarvan guide book.

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A Candle for Louie

Waterford's Gold Coast (photo Regan McCormack)

Waterford’s Gold Coast (photo Regan McCormack)

Regan and I looked forward to our visit to County Waterford last September. On previous trips to Ireland we had visited Lismore and Ardmore in Waterford, but didn’t tour the rest of the county. Our real introduction to Waterford came during the past year, through the entertaining tweets from Dungarvan’s Waterford County Museum. The museum shares beautiful photographs and historical items from their collection on Twitter. Regan and I were eager to see Dungarvan and the museum in person, as well as explore more of County Waterford.

But when we arrived in Dungarvan, the sightseeing would have to wait. Regan and I had to attend to some business.

Our dad’s good friend Lou Bader passed away on June 27, 2012. Louie and Dad played a lot of golf together, which probably says it all about their relationship. Louie shared my dad’s competitive streak and sense of humor, as well as his love for a few hours spent on the golf course. But there was something else the two men shared.

About fifteen years ago, my dad began to explore his family history. He traced his roots back to Ballyedmond, County Laois, and found cousins living on the farm his grandfather left in the late 1880s. Louie had also been researching his family tree and had learned about his Irish grandfather through his mother’s stories.

Dungarvan (2)

Dungarvan Street (photo by Regan McCormack)

I wish I could say that Louie and my dad discovered they shared a grandfather –  that would make a great story! No, Louie and my dad only shared similar questions about their  family history and the wish to find out where they came from. Both men  researched their family trees, traveled to their grandfathers’ birthplaces in Ireland, and made lasting connections with their Irish cousins. Several trips followed for Louie, my dad, and their families.

In light of our autumn trip to Ireland, Dad asked Regan and I to do him a favor and deliver Louie’s memorial card to his cousin in Dungarvan. This was an “old-school” request and my dad’s directions (“Stop in at the cleaners in town and ask for Anne-Marie”) only added to the feeling that we were characters in a Victorian novel. But of course, anything for Louie. He was a good man and a great friend to my dad.

Louie’s maternal grandfather, Matthew O’Rourke, was born in 1869, the youngest son of Patrick and Margaret. The O’Rourke family lived in the townland of Carrigcastle, near the village of Ballylaneen, about five miles from Dungarvan, County Waterford. In her delightful memoir, Love and Oatmeal (2006), Louie’s mother, Madeline O’Rourke Bader, lovingly recounts when she would ask her father why he left Ireland and moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota. A smile came over his face when he told her his sister-in-law encouraged him to go to America. Madeline writes in the memoir:

The way he smiled when he said that, though, always made me think there was something more to the story. A few years ago when I visited Ireland for the first time and saw how beautiful the land he left behind is, I understood a little better that his smile must have covered up a lot of pain and longing. (Love and Oatmeal, p.4)

Anne-Marie wasn’t in at the cleaners, but Mary told us how sad they all were when they heard of Louie’s passing this summer. She said how much they enjoyed his frequent telephone calls (just to check in with his Irish cousins), as well as his visits to Dungarvan. In a few short years Louie had made an impact on his Irish relatives. They really missed him.

Regan and I decided we needed to do something special for Louie, so we found the little church in Ballylaneen where his grandfather was baptized, lit a candle and said a prayer. We thought of Louie and all the O’Rourkes – the ones who stayed in Ireland, those who emigrated, and the few who made it back.

St. Anne's Church - Ballylaneen, Waterford

St. Anne’s Church – Ballylaneen, Waterford (photo Regan McCormack)

For more information about Dungarvan and Waterford County history, please visit Waterford County Museum. Click here to read about the new Dungarvan guide book.


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New Dungarvan Guide!

Exciting things are happening at the Waterford County Museum.

My sister, Regan, and I were lucky enough to visit Dungarvan this past September. Willie Whelan personally showed us around the Waterford County Museum and brought us on a quick tour of the town. A group of dedicated and talented volunteers make the museum happen, and they are doing a fantastic job. It is truly a gem, and this book is a must-have for anyone interested in Dungarvan or Irish history in general.

Read the press release for :

The Ideal Christmas Gift – Dungarvan: A Historic Guide & Town Trail
Waterford County Museum will launch their new 80 page guide book about Dungarvan on Wednesday 28th November. The guide book content includes a history of Dungarvan, articles on notable local personalities, historic sites in the locality, a town walking trail, numerous full page photos and maps. The book is produced to a very high standard and the museum will arrange shipping worldwide. All profits from the book go the upkeep of the museum.

One of the book’s authors William Fraher said that “I am delighted with the finish and appearance of the book. The larger scale landscape format allows the wonderful photographs from the museum archive to be seen to best advantage. I think it would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone with relatives or friends living abroad”.

Co-author Willie Whelan stated that “We think this book will be attractive to local history enthusiasts, tourists, locals and school children. It also provides an authoritative basic historical guide to the Dungarvan area.”

Support from Waterford Leader Partnership has enabled the price of the book to be kept at €10 allowing as wide a range of people as possible access to their local history.

Pádraig Ó Cuirrín, President of Waterford County Museum welcomed the launch of the new book and added “I am really delighted that the museum has managed to produce such a quality publication. I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Waterford Leader Partnership in helping fund this book. Without the ongoing support that we receive from the Leader Partnership our work would be much more difficult. Dhéanfadh an leabhar seo bronntanas oiriúnach; go háirithe do cáirde agus gaolta thar lear.”

Dungarvan: A Historic Guide & Town Trail (printed by local company Printmaster) is available to buy in the museum at St. Augustine Street, Dungarvan for €10 or it can be bought on-line via www.waterfordmuseum.ie.

For more information about buying the book contact:
E-mail: history@waterfordmuseum.ie
Website: www.waterfordmuseum.ie
Phone: 058 45960

If you want to learn more about the Waterford County Museum…

1. Follow the Waterford County Museum on Twitter – every day they tweet great photos from their collection. Click here to follow them.

2. Browse around the website – there is a great search engine at the bottom where you chose a time period from the drop-down menu and search for articles about that era…try it out!

3. Get the Town Trail app from iTunes or Google Play for your iPhone (99 cents) or Android (free).


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There’s More to Waterford than Crystal

It is great to see museums, libraries, and archives promoting their collections using social media and the internet. This is particularly exciting for those of us researching our Irish roots.

Earlier I shared the fantastic work of digitizing collection materials happening in Limerick City – at the Library and the Archives – and I told you how much I enjoy @Limerick 1912, the Twitter account for the Local Studies team at the Limerick City Library. I have been equally impressed with the tweets from the folks at the Waterford County Museum. Every day they share several historical photos and facts from their collection. Click here to see what they are tweeting today.

Here are a few examples of the great images @waterfordmuseum has tweeted in recent days: a charming 1950s scene from Ardmore beach, a ship undergoing maintenance in Waterford harbor in 1902, and a 1962 snapshot of a man, his horse and cart, transporting lobster pots.

If you prefer to browse the collection at your own pace, you may search the photos here by photographer, subject, location, or date. The featured “photograph of the week” is accompanied by a brief description of the photo and photographer’s bio. Some photographs are even available for purchase directly from the website.

Of course, the Waterford County Museum has more than just photographs. Visit their website to learn more about other collections, exhibits, and resources. The museum is located in Dungarvan, County Waterford.

The museum tweets got me interested in the history of Waterford, so I took a look around to see what other resources were available on the internet for people interested in County Waterford’s history.

The Waterford County Library has made historic issues of the Dungarvan Leader, the Dungarvan Observer, and several local papers available online. This is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in local Waterford history and can be especially useful for those who trace their roots to the Waterford area. Click here to begin exploring the collection. The library also has other great family history resources including a database of Waterford Death Registers.

The Waterford Archive has collections of family papers, County Council records, the Lismore Estate papers, and Board of Guardians and Workhouse records. These materials are not available online, but for each collection there is an extensive descriptive list available on the website.

Lismore Castle, County Waterford (2009, R. McCormack)

The Lismore Estate Papers look very interesting:

The Lismore Castle Papers contain records on the administration of the estate, including, records on the running of Lismore Castle and Gardens, the Castle Farm, the woods, mountain, Lismore Sawmills and the Blackwater Fishery. The collection also includes detailed records on the tenants of the estate, including, rental books, tenant application books and tenant correspondence. The estate was also involved in a number of major projects in counties Waterford and Cork, such as, the introduction of the railways.

If your ancestors came from the Waterford/Cork area and were farmers, there is a good chance you could find something in this collection about their life before emigration. The staff at the archives asks that you carefully read the descriptive lists before planning a trip to the archive.

This is just a glimpse at what is available in County Waterford for history buffs. Do you trace your family tree to County Waterford? Let me know if you learn something new by taking a look at the Waterford County Library, Archive, and Museum.

Along the Copper Coast…