Getting ready to trace my Whelan roots in Ireland for The Gathering
On September 17, I will set foot in Ireland, land of my ancestors, for the first time. My trip is the culmination of more than a year of planning and research — and it’s all part of The Gathering, a massive, year-long tourism initiative to celebrate Irish culture and bring the Irish Diaspora back to the homeland.
My Nana is the reason I have long wanted to go to Ireland. When I was growing up in southern Ontario, my grandmother, Nana (born Monica Whelan), lived with us and was like a second mother to me. I always thought there was something very Irish about her — despite the fact that she was 5th generation Irish-Canadian. She died when I was a teenager, a huge loss for me. So, going to Ireland will, I think, help me feel reconnected to her — and to my roots, too.
Will I feel at home in Ireland? Will I feel the call “of the blood?” Will I feel I am with my people? And will they seem familiar to me, because of my Nana? This is what I want to find out when I “walk the ground” of my ancestors. Continue Reading →