Today was an amazing day! This morning we took a The Martin McCrossan Historical Walking Tour of the city of Londonderry. The guide was fantastic and spent over an hour and a half explaining the history of the area from the seige of Derry in 1689 right up through "The Troubles" of the 1960s-1980s. We walked the walls of the city, then headed down to the Bogside where Bloody Sunday occurred. Today, the city is on it's way back and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.
On our way out of Derry, I made a stop at the Derry Genealogy Center which is currently located in the Railway Museum to see Brian Mitchell, but unfortunately for me, he was away on holiday.
Next we headed down to Belleek Pottery. I have a collection of Belleek that was passed down to me from my grandmother, and based on the markings, probably from my great grandmother. On my first visit to Ireland in 1992 I tried to visit, but when I got to the border of Fermanagh, which in part of Northern Ireland, there were military personnel with machine guns. Since I was traveling with my 15 year old daughter, I decided to forgo the stop, and this is the first time I've been back in the area. Belleek china is still hand made in Ireland in much the same way as it was originally. I was hoping to get an historical perspective on who would have been able to afford the china in the 1860s and 1870s. It was suggested that I write to customer service as the young guide was unable to answer the question. When I get home, I'll take pictures of the oldest pieces I have (identified with a black marking) and send them.
From Belleek, we were only 7 km from Bundoran in County Donegal. I chose this location because I have a number of pictures taken in this town and was hoping to learn more about them. I had previously contacted the librarian at the local library hoping that there might be some day books or other information from the photographers. The librarian had researched both photographers and provided me with the limited information she could find. The library was open until 8 p.m. so I spent some additional time looking through the local history collection.
My family was from the Kinlough area in County Leitrim, which I discovered is only about a 10 minute drive from Bundoran which is a seaside resort town. It has beaches and amusement arcades and I assume back in the late 1800s it also had a photo studio. It's probably not unreasonable to assume that young people (who appear in most of these pictures) might come here for a day of fun, much like we went to "Playland" on Long Island Sound and had pictures taken in the photo booth.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Ireland and I hope to make the most of it. I've been here a bit over three weeks and am ready to head home.
Ducky on the City Wall surrounding Derry
Ducky at Belleek