JR's granddaddy James came to America from County Meath, Ireland in the 1880s. On the Google map below the county is the orange point. There is a town just about there called Navan. He wasn't really from Navan but dang close.
In 1897 he left the United States for the Yukon where he became a partner in a gold mine. I've written about his time up there in past posts. In 1911 he left the Yukon with a bit of money in his pocket. He traveled to Seattle, by ship, then across the United States to New York, probably by train, took another ship to Ireland, and, I suppose, another train to his ancestral home. A farm near Navan.
He left Ireland a very poor Catholic and returned a very rich one. In Ireland he took care of a bit of unfinished business such as, roughing up his hated older brother and finding a good Irish Catholic wife. Business done he and his soon-to-be-bride left Ireland for the United States, never to return. I get the feeling he burned a couple of bridges along the way.
Over the next 10 to 15 years they received postcards from family (the wife's side because obviously that bridge burning thing combined with stubborn Irishman thing didn't allow for postcard swapping on Granddaddy's family for several years).
purple point on the map) circa 1910ish. It is still owned by the same family that moved in in 1701. There is some sort of to-do about King George IV and one of the ladies of the castle back in the 1820s. From reading between the lines of the history section their website one get the impression that this to-do was of a lurid nature. (maybe not and I just have a sick mind) They host huge concerts, cater weddings and events and pretty much whore it out. You can't really blame them. It's a lovely spot, the taxes must be outrageous, and the money in wedding planning at a 300+ year old castle has got to be good.
The Hill of Slane, where St. Patrick lit a paschal fire (huh? according to Wikipedia paschal fire = holy fire. Who knew?). He was summoned to Tara and then Ireland converted to Christianity. Got to love those conversion stories. Full of high drama.
Ross Castle (yellow point on the map) is in County Kerry. Built in the 1400s it was until recently in private hands. It is said to be the last castle to surrender to Oliver Cromwell and his band of thugs. Killarney is a national park now and Ross castle is part of it.
Dunmoe Castle is located near Navan (orange point on the map). Cromwell tried his tricks here as well but didn't get anywhere. There is a battlefield near the castle but that is a post for next Friday. Dunmoe is a ruin now. There was a fire in the 18th century that destroyed it. It is the closest castle to the family farm and from all reports they look in about the same condition.
Granddaddy's biggest beef with his brother, beyond over achieving sibling rivalry, was the way he took care of the farm. Maybe, Granddaddy had a point. The farm on the old sod is a ruin while Granddaddy's farm in Montana is still going today and the Ireland farm was less than a 10th of the size of the Montana farm. Do you think he should have hit him harder?
Anyhoo, I hoped you enjoyed the postcards. Check out the link to see how these castles look today.