Donnybrook: Roots


Cleveland’s Fr. Jim O’Donnell characterizes his visits back to Ireland as an opportunity to “water one’s roots.”  It is a great characterization of the trip many have taken “back” to Ireland to visit family or see the townland one’s ancestors hailed from. Circumstances do not always allow one to be able to accomplish this voyage, but I have never heard anyone who has made this trip regret the choice.

Mike Kilbane, long time Fairview Park, Ohio Council President, made that trip last month, visiting with cousins who gathered at the family’s home on Achill Island, County Mayo.  See the picture taken at Achill as cousins from near and far came together to celebrate and “water” their roots. 

All Shraheens (Achill) Kilbane’s back home for the Summer: L to R: Tom (Newcastle, Galway); Michael (Fairview Park Council President/Grandson of Michael Ann Kilbane); Michael “Blondie” (Shraheens); Michael (London); James (Corcullen, Kildare); Seamus (Bearna, Galway); Mairtin (Dublin).

Kilbane, like many Greater Clevelanders family link back to Achill Island, the largest island in Ireland. For many Irish Americans, they have lost touch with their extended family. With the help of the internet, it is much easier today to find one’s personal family history.

However, links often get lost after just one or two generations, for those in that category, Achill Islanders are happy to adopt and welcome us all “home.” Don’t be shy, plan on attending the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Cleveland Achill Twinning on Saturday, October 28th, 2023, at the West Side Irish American Club, and get to know your extended family. You will have someone to visit on your journey to the Emerald Isle.

True Crime

Fans may want to check out Season Five, Episode 9, was recently released and examines the unsolved disappearance of Sandra Collins on December 4, 2000. The twenty-eight-year-old went out for groceries in her hometown of Killala, County Mayo and never returned.
Killala sits on the River Moy, just north of Ballina. The Western People report that this True Crime podcast series has twice been shortlisted for ‘Best True Crime’ at the British Podcast Awards and has been nominated for Outstanding Episodic Series at the True Crime Awards 2023 recently.

Find this column and others from the September 2023 issue here!

John Myers

John Myers

*John is an attorney in Cleveland. He can be reached at [email protected]

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