A NEW six-part bilingual series on TG4 that follows local communities as they welcome home people from across the globe in search of their Irish ancestors, kicks off this Sunday when the spotlight is on Knockainey and Lough Gur.
Hosted by broadcaster Evelyn O’Rourke, Tar Abhaile shows how community volunteers working together under the auspices of Ireland Reaching Out, trace the roots of individuals who left their local area throughout the 1800s and 1900s.
Once they have gathered enough tangible information, they then track down their living descendents and invite them back to their spiritual home, to walk the land of their ancestors, show them their final resting places and, where possible, introduce them to long-lost living relatives.
“For the descendants, it proves time and time again to be an extremely moving experience as the stories of their forefathers are revealed to them,” explained Michelle Connolly, Tar Abhaile (Come Home), Red Pepper Productions.
“They walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, visit the homesteads or bow their heads at their grave and it often brings a tear to the eye as they gain new insight into their ancestors and they become so much more than just a name on a page.”
In this Sunday’s episode, Bryan Lynch from Ayr in Australia visits Lough Gur. Brian met a distant cousin he never knew he had, but who was probably the only man in Ireland who was able to bring him to the burial plot of his ancestors. He also renewed his wedding vows to his wife Patti, in the very same church his ancestors married in over 150 years ago.
Marsha Thomas from Chicago visited her great grandfather’s homestead and discovered that her feisty ancestors courageously stood up to their British landlords. Tar Abhaile airs from November 17 at 9.30pm.