TEN YEARS after his last publication, Gorey historian Michael Fitzpatrick (77) has once again opened a window on Gorey's past, and is preparing to publish Volume 6 in the ' Historic Gorey' series.
The first book was published in 1987, and others followed in 1989, 1995, 1998, and 2002, and Michael still has plenty of stories to tell.
' The new book contains a lot of material that hasn't been published before, such as the Bates and Sons, Undertakers (Gorey), funeral register from 1903 to 1907 and the early 1920s to 1929. It contains records of deaths and the actual funerals and the costings at Bates Undertakers during that time,' he said. 'I also found the actual handwritten letters - the wills of nine members of the Ram family who wished to be interred in the family tomb in the Market Square. One of them was Sir Abel Ram who was Lord Mayor of Dublin during the 18th Century.'
'I also go outside Gorey into the cemeteries of Ardamine and Courtown,' he added. 'I also incorporate the memorial graves at Christ Church in Gorey.'
Over the years, Michael has travelled to Boston in the US, and Collindale in the UK, as well as the national archives in Dublin to carry out his research. 'I'm interested in anything I can lay my hands on,' he said. 'People come to me and say I might be interested in something they have.'
Michael knew and worked for the Earl of Courtown for a time in his younger years, and also worked for members of the Ram family, and has always been interested in local history, especially families in the locality.
'It's an ongoing thing,' he said. ' I'm particularly interested in the genealogy of local families, and I would have a good recall on families back five or six generations in the town, but if you asked me my children's birthdays, I wouldn't be able to tell you!'
His first book was produced in May 1986 recalling the history of the old Gorey Parish Cemetery in Clonattin. The book was called 'Clonattin in the Fields' and was well received.
Then in 1987, 'Historic Gorey, A Pictorial View' was produced. Volume 2, titled 'Historic Gorey' followed in 1989. ' The Famine Years' and 'Reflections of 1798' were produced in the 1990s, while ' The Changing Face of Gorey' was published in 2002. The books have become collectors' items, valued for their local genealogical and historical content.
The latest volume is now with the printer, and the 500 copies are expected to quickly sell out. The book is expected to be published before the end of the year.
Michael feels that this forthcoming Volume of 'Historic Gorey 6' may be his final hurrah.