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Halifax / PEI Visitors

When Edelle visited PEI recently Mary Leah Treanor took her to meet various PEI / Irish and among them was Charlie and Anna Duffy, who were in one of the first groups to come to Monaghan in the early ‘90’s and have been back a number of times since then. While there their son, Kevin, who now lives in Halifax, was visiting his parents and met with Edelle. I learned that he was coming to Ireland and would spend a day in Monaghan as he wanted to visit some places mentioned by his parents. He was accompanied by his wife, Jeanette, and his sister, Maureen and her husband, Ken Marvin. I offered to help them get around and so on Thursday, October 23rd I met them in the Four Seasons Hotel when they arrived from Dublin. Our first call was to St. Patrick’s, Corracrin, where they visited the tomb of Canon Patrick Moynagh, who was the local parish priest and he had arranged the passage of over 60 families from Donagh parish to a new life in PEI (Prince Edward Island) in 1830’s. We then headed for Donagh Old Graveyard, which contains the oldest recorded grave in the diocese of Clogher. It is there too that the McKenna chieftains are buried where the McKenna Cross stands. Also there is a grave of the early Delany family, who are ancestors of the wife of Professor Brendan O’Grady. It was through this connection that the original contact was made with Prince Edward Island when Brendan O’Grady made contact with Seamus McCluskey, Fr. Barney McCarney and Bennie Hackett. However the official only began when the late Willie McKenna learned of the connection from Tommy Makem. From the Graveyard we headed to Castle Leslie and they were able to have a walk through and out to the gardens, which are all very impressive. We also visited San Salvador’s Church. Our next stop was with Seamus McCluskey who provided them with historical information and stories relating to the PEI connection. After a very informative session there we went to Ballyoisin and paid a visit to the grave of the late Willie McKenna. It was a poignant moment. Then to the home of Josie McCusker, where a lavish homemade spread awaited us and we thoroughly enjoyed all the fare offered by Josie. The ‘craic was 90’ and comparisons were made between the two countries and the way of life. It was a wonderful afternoon thanks to Josie. I then returned with the visitors to the Four Seasons Hotel and said farewell as they headed off to meet Eileen Kerr, Willie’s sister, in Castleblayney. It was unfortunate that time ran out as there were still some places on the list which we did not get to visit but then it is a reason for them to return again. I enjoyed my time with Kevin, Jeanette, Maureen and Ken and look forward to meeting them again. They arrived back to Halifax safely though tired and jet-lagged but they had a great experience of Ireland.

Kevin, Jeanette, Maureen and Ken at the tomb of Canon Patrick Moynagh.

          The visitors with Seamus McCluskey                                 and above with Josie McCusker.

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