Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brought Up Short

In the wee hours of the morning, last Monday morning, I got up because of heart burn and a jaw ache. I suspected that this was not desirable and that is the way it turned out. I live 25 miles from the closest hospital, and after a test, they confirmed that I had a heart attack and sent me by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto where there is a a very skillful group of heart specialists. I received excellent medical treatment and returned home last night. The next few months will require the usual careful diet, excercise and even not climbing the stairs to my computer, bedroom and other facilities on the second story of the house more than about twice a day.

This is stated so you will know why I haven't yet replied to mail and emails received during the period. But enough about me and back to the blog.

For those who would like to view the results of the work of William Roulston and the Ulster Historical Society to date and as it is in progress, trying to find a connection between my surname and the Maguires. This is the way to cut through the morass of other forms of McCown in combination with Maguire as a most likely means of finding my family line. Since they also have been given five other families to locate who lived in the same general neighborhood and match me at 62/67 markers, and includes four McGuires and Patrick MacAuley, this appears to be a first step in findingthe patterns to follow. Even thow none of the findings to date may be in my ancestry, I find them interesting.

Thanks to Peter Gurry for letting me know that he is viewing the pictures of our trip and thanks to the fair Coane for sending me a copy of her most recent update to her book on the history of the Coane family. It turns out that her family having an O'Neill connection in the male line doesn't necessarly mean that there isn't ulstimately a connection between our families. Barry McCain says that some of the royal O'Neills don't have the Niall of the Nine Hostages haplogroup,
R1b1b2a1b5g but rather the more common R1b1b2a1b5. Thanks also to Debbie Wheeler who writes that she will become a follower of the blog. Debbie is a McNeill and because of her 61/67 match we are interested in knowing if this represents a combination of both McNeill and Maguire. Thanks to all of you who follow the blog
and those who comment on the blog.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

About the Pictures in Northern Ireland

I found out the reason that I couldn't create a direct link so you could view the pictures without cutting and pasting. The reason is that the Google Blogspot
doesn't allow characters or symbols used in the URL by Google Picassa. It would be really nice if Google were compatible with Google.

Nevertheless and notwithstanding the above reader J Mac did view the pictures and commented that he enjoyed the pictures of Maguire Castle and wants to know how we can all fit inside. Since there are 12 followers of the blog and one of me, it shouldn't be a tight fit.

Emboldened by J Mac acutally viewing the first 138 pictures, I will go through the same routine with the final 108 pictures by copying URL on the blog so it can be cut and pasted into your browser. Truly, the two sets of pictures are of equal interest.

One of the highlights of the second group is DunLuce castle built by Sorley Boy
MacDonald, plus the Giant's causeway and Castle Monea and much more. I do want you
to realize that you are viewing the pictures online and not acutally downloadind them to your computer, so viewing the pictures will not use up all the unused space on your hard drive.

Also, in this second batch is a rope bridge blown by the wind with two people on it
above a raging surf. From the Giant's Causeway it is just a few miles east to view DunLuce Castle. I don't think that Sandy took a picture of Rathliff Island which is also nearby and is where Robert the Bruce viewed the persistence of the spider who in spite of repeated failures finally completed his web and inspired Bruce to renew the fight against the English oppressors in Scotland. The island is about 11 miles off the coast of Scotland and easily visible from the area of the Giant's Causeway.

You my wonder about my impression of Irish food. It is tough for me to be fair because I like spaghetti, burritos, American Hamburgers, etc.. I thought I would enjoy "bangers" but bangers pale into tastelessness along side Polish sausage and Jimmy Dean sausage links. Irish breakfast was just too much for me with eggs, toast, cereal, bangers, canadian bacon, coffee and fruit juice. So I cut that down to one banger, no canadian bacon and one piece of toast.

When you order fish and chips, the Irish really are expert at serving marvelous food. That dish is usually accompanied by mashed peas which I readily deleted from my order. Irish Hamburger patties that I had were tough, hard and dry. But the Irish are splendid with soups and we had soup at one meal at least every day.

Regardless of my comments on food, the people we met were hospitable, and welcomed us warmly and really made us feel at home. It is just a shame that it is a round trip of some 21 hours from San Francisco. I have flown to Heathrow from San Francisco twice and because of darkness, failed to see Hudson Bay, Greenland and either Scotland or Ireland. I don't plan to endure the long flights again but am very glad we took this trip.

Here is the link to the final 108 pictures.

Friday, October 15, 2010

No Interest in Pictures of Ireland?

Please a comment if you viewed the pictures in my previous post. Please leave a
comment if you tried and could not view them. Please leave a comment if you are not
interested in viewing the pictures. That will give me a clue as to what to say in the next posting.

If you do want to see the pictures and have been unable to, the only course known to me is to let me send the link by email and for that I need your email address. I don't need more addresses, I don't sell addresses and I have no other interest in your email address so don't worry about my intentions.

Brad McGuire said it all when he said "the pictures of Devenish Island made my soul sing!" I felt the same way. There are several castles of historic significance including the Maguire Castle in Enniskillen and Castle Monea and it's ponies, a holy well, the Folk Museum in Omagh and other treats. But don't let me influence your decision.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photos of Trip to Ireland, Album 1

I have added in this post a link you can use to view the photos of our recent trip.
There are two albums and the link for Album 2 will be sent in the next posting of this blog. I was unable to show the link as a link, so I recommend highlighting the next four lines of type, then copy, then paste to your browser address block.

If that doesn't work for you, please contact me at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This Just in from our News Desk

Tah Dah! This morning, Sandy found the missing camera memory chip with 400 pictures taken on our recent trip to Northern Ireland. Perhaps you can imagine spending way too much money on a once in a lifetime trip only to have lost all evidence that you had ever been there, although a sorely depleted checking account is evidence of a sort. For example it has more than the first five days worth of pictures out of a ten day trip.

Yes, we did have 108 pictures on the disk still in the camera, still most of the places we visited are on this first disk. It also has the people we met along the way along with pictures of John Cunningham, tour guide extraordinaire, and a picture of Sandy and me standing in front of the towers of Enniskillen Castle. All of our pictures Sandy took on Devenish Island are also on the first disk. I had become attached to some of the sites on this first disk and was sore distressed to have lost the pictures, including the Castle Monea and it's beautiful ponies.

Now the problem will be to learn how to add a few of them to this blog. Another news item, is that we now have 11 committed followers of this blog, in that James Charles McKown has also joined our ranks on a wonderful day like today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ponies at Castle Monea

Several places in Northern Ireland we saw some beautiful ponies. They are a little shorter than standard bred horses and are close coupled from shoulers to hips. While
they are generally of a slim and trim configuration, their legs look to be very well muscled. They tend to be "paints" somewhat like ponies associated with American Indian plains tribes but slightly smaller. They are not only beautifully proportioned and long legged, their faces are very comely as well.

I described them to an acquaintance and she thought that they were most likely Connemara ponies who are native to Galway. It turns out, using a search engine, I found that there are at least three breeds native to Ireland: the Connemara pony, the Irish Kerry Bog pony and the Irish draught horse. John Cunningham, our tour guide, says he will ask the castle grounds caretaker the next time he is in that area the name of the breed of these ponies.

Castle Monea is in the Monea district of Fermanagh and was built by the Scottish Hamilton family as a "plantation" fortified dwelling. It has very substantial walls roughly 30" thick with the building stones well cut and fitted. Cattle were protected from theft by an extension of these same walls, called a bawn. The bawn walls were about 5' high.

Peter Gurry, a follower of this blog who also has excellent Maguire DNA matches, sent in a comment to this blog shortly before we left for Fermanagh recommending that I visit Boa Island near Belleek in Lough Erne that has some famous carvings.
We missed Boa Island but I have read of the carvings on the internet and in some booklets purchased in Ireland. We also missed the carvings on White Island closer to Enniskillen but did manage to visit Devenish Island. Devenish Island was one landmark that was particularly interesting and dramatic to me. It contains Christian abbey ruins, some dating to about 650 AD. They feature one of the best preserved watch towers in Ireland.

You may notice pictures of castles that seem to fall ruin beggining at the top of the structure. I found this explanation interesting. The Devenish tower has to be "shaved" to prevent ruin. It seems that birds hide seeds in the uneven gaps where stone meets stone. The seeds germainate and some will try to grow into trees
which grow forcing the stones apart until gravity forces the stone out of the structure thus starting the process of ruin. I had wondered because it would seem more expected from castles to ruin from the bottom up due to siege weapons and undermining of the walls by "sappers".

That is it for this post.

There is an interesting feature in Lough Erne that turn out to be ancient articial islands created by pre Gaelic civilization. The builders set pilings into the floor of the lough and then made log walls to connect the pilings. The resulting forms were then filled with rock, sand and earth thus completing the artifical islands. The islands ranged from about 100 to 200 ft. in diameter and served as easily defended housing for several families and their live stock

Friday, October 1, 2010

To Those That Comment on This Blog

First let me say, that all of your comments are appreciated. I haven't yet learned how to handle comments through the blog site, so am resorting to this as a temporary measure.

I have corresponded with several of you by email as a result of our DNA matches being relatively close, and think that some of you read it primarily to see if anything will actually come of all of this.

In our meeting with William Roulston, he acknowledged the low probability of success but was a long way from stopping our detailed study. It seems that every discovery is an opportunity for overreacting in optomism and every disappointment is a cause of depression. He is right of course, but his success ratio is apparently fairly high in that he comes very highly recommended by those who have had good results from his efforts and from FTDNA administrators who know him and his work.

I have taken the position that the hunt has to be a major part of the enjoyment, in
fact, it may be the only enjoyment. My Dad used to take me bird and rabbit hunting and when we weren't successful, he said we were "skunked". I don't recall being "skunked" as a reason not to try again.

Your comments are a very important morale factor for me in fact, in the previous posting, there were three comments and I don't ever remember receiving more than that.
The surprising part to me is that I considered most of it (statistics of questionable merit)as being dry as dust and was almost shocked when all three comments were positive.

So, please continue to comment and I will try to work them in to some of the posts.
Please don't shy away from writing to me at gmail. I understand that some of you want to remain anonymous, and that is your right, but you can influence the blog and suggest ways to improve our search.

It was quite an encouragement when you started following the blog. I see that there
ten declared followers and would guess that there are at least as many more undeclared, but each one that comments is a participant, and I thank you for your participation.