County Limerick link inspires city genealogy event

The late Thomas Francis Ryan, Castleconnell who inspired his ancestor Bridget Bray to host a genealogy event in Limerick
A GENEALOGICAL Gathering is to take place in Limerick city due to the organiser’s county links.

A GENEALOGICAL Gathering is to take place in Limerick city due to the organiser’s county links.

The Genealogy Event takes place in the Strand Hotel on Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23. It has been held in New York for three years but this is the first time it will be on in Ireland.

Limerick was the obvious location due to founder Bridget Bray’s local links. The Canadian’s great grandfather, Thomas Francis Ryan born circa 1862, hailed from Castleconnell.

Ms Bray said she enjoys inspiring others to get started or to continue building their family trees.

“I wanted to somehow be part of City of Culture in some small way so 2014 was the year I decided to proceed with the event. The timing is perfect as National Heritage Week starts on August 23.

“The event is geared to all learning levels, budgets, schedule and interests. Attendees will have the opportunity to have one on one 20 minute consultations with genealogy experts as part of their ticket purchase.

“Conducted by professional genealogists from the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland this will be extremely valuable for those at any experience level to direct questions and/or seek ways to resolve their brick walls,” explained Ms Bray.

She is an example of someone who started with very little information on her great grandfather but not now knows so much more. All she had at the start was that the late Mr Ryan cited Castleconnell in his will.

“What I started with six years ago was a name, death certificate, that he was born in Ireland, died in England and had a very common surname,” said Ms Bray.

Now she has a marriage record, sibling births, some deaths, gravestone in Castleconnell of some of his siblings, parents, grandfather, will, South African employment record in the diamond mines, military records, UK census records, She even has a photo from the early 1900s, courtesy of local woman Peggy Collins, of the cottage where she believes Mr Ryan may have lived.

But she also found out something else on her numerous research visits - “how amazing Limerick is”.

“Some of my local favourites are Blaithin Herbert’s brown bread at Herbert’s Bar and all the locals that I’ve come to know; staying at Castle Oaks House Hotel where I can hear the sounds of the Shannon river flowing and only a few steps away from my ancestors’ cemetery; endless cups of Barry’s tea at the Hartigan’s; afternoon tea at Adare Manor; the Limerick Milk Market and all the wonderful purveyors; the beautiful Georgian buildings, Jack Monday’s café near King John’s Castle and that’s just a partial list!

“On each visit I max out what I see, and do what I can to promote how much I love Limerick!” she concludes.

For more information on the event log onto

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