'Year of the Yank' for Lynch clan

The Americans and their Valentia cousins at the old homestead of their ancestors at The Mill, Valentia Island.
The Americans and their Valentia cousins at the old homestead of their ancestors at The Mill, Valentia Island.

DOWN through the mists of time it has been customary for Irish people to refer to their visiting relatives from America as 'yanks', a term which is in no way derogatory but one of endearment.

For the Lynch clan of Valentia, whose roots are in The Mill, the year 2014 will in future times be referred to as 'The Year of the Yank' with the arrival to the island in early August of 32 of their relatives from Connecticut who were accorded a Céad Mile Fáilte in the true Irish tradition as they enjoyed our good summer weather and mixed with their many relatives here.

The very significant family connection with America's North East coast has its roots in the year 1927 when sisters Bridie and Nora Lynch emigrated as young women from The Mill to the USA, settling in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Those were tough days in Ireland when emigration was akin to a family bereavement as those who left very rarely returned with some never doing so.

Those emigrants were very isolated from their relatives at home without the advantage of social media and the communication of today's computer and mobile phone world.

Bridie and Nora left behind them their brothers Johnny (Brother Peter of the De La Salle order), Mikey, Jerh, Jim and Joe as well as their mother Kate (nee Cremin).

They were also pre-deceased by their father Michael who passed away at age of 58 leaving a young family in economically poor times.

While in the USA, Bridie married Pat Cullinane of Rooskey in Co. Roscommon, and they had a son, Jimmy, while Nora married Eddie Molloy, who emigrated from an area outside Mullingar, and they had five children, namely Kay, Mary, Edward, Eleanor and Annie.

Thus the visiting party of 32 consisted of members of the two aforementioned families as well as the extended family members of sons, daughters, the various husbands and wives, grandchildren and friends.

The visitors were delighted to visit The Mill and view the old stone wall homestead of Bridie and Nora which is situated on the property of the sisters' nephew Seamus Lynch and his wife Enda and family.

Both sets of cousins, numbering about 85 in total from the American and Irish side met here and socialised in the home of Seamus and Enda.

The visitors were treated to an impressive view of family tree charts containing pictures and historical information compiled by their cousins Ciarán Lynch, Joseph Lynch and Brian Coakley.

Talks on behalf of the Valentia relatives were given by Joseph Lynch and his sisters Derarca and Cautie. The stars and stripes were represented by oral contributions from Eleanor Molloy, her brother Eddie and her son Lorin Bresnyak. Killian Lynch sang 'The Boys of Barr Na Sráide' with a humorous song rendered on behalf of the Americans by Mark Ryan.

The very appropriate song 'Ellis Island' was emotionally sung by young Ellen O'Sullivan of Foilmore, which brought sad memories flooding back of that far off day in 1927 when Bridie and Nora Lynch emigrated, and certainly brought a tear or two to the gathering.

The party met at the Royal Hotel on that evening for a gala dinner organised by Karen Hayes, which was brought to a very nice conclusion for the Americans by Irish dancing performed by children from Scoil Derarca who were Ruth O'Shea, Julia Cooper, Emma O'Connor, Muireann Lynch, Maeve Daly, Caoimhe O'Shea, Donncha Lyne, Emmet Daly, and Kevin O'Connor. Their tutor is Jacque Cooper with the assistance of Susan Daly and Deirdre Lyne on the night.

Young Caroline Cooper - on holidays from San Francisco - gave a solo exhibition of Irish dancing and Aoife Lynch of Cork and Valentia performed 'Danny Boy' on the flute.

The Americans departed the shores of Valentia on Saturday last having established ties of friendship which will surely stand the test of time.


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