My maternal grandmother told my mother at some point in the 1960s that their ancestors were "Scotch-Irish." My mom did years of research, and refuted that family legend. In fact, on the grandmother side, they were almost all English. On my maternal grandfather's side, English and German. However, on my dad's ancestry, besides the English, Dutch, and Welsh forebears, there were numerous Irish and Scottish ancestors who emigrated to Virginia in the 17th and 18th centuries, then moved north through Kentucky to Ohio.
I don't know why they came: were they refugees escaping the slaughters imposed by the Cromwell army or the conquest of King William of Orange; or were they Protestant and leaving the Catholic environment; or did they seek economic security in America? They were landowners, so I don't think they were indentured servants, and they were members of the Anglican church in their communities in Virginia, so probably not Catholic. They all arrived 150 to 200 years before the Irish potato famine of the 1840s. My guess is that they wanted a chance to better their children's lives and be their own bosses, not dependent on Ireland's system of oligarchy, rich lords and hard-working but starving tenants.
|Clonfert, Ireland, 1200+-year-old cathedral.|
Photo © 2001 Christy K Robinson
Practically in the center of the island is the diocesan Cathedral of Clonfert, Church of Ireland in the Anglican Communion, which is Protestant in a country dominated by Roman Catholicism.
This County Galway church started as a small Romanesque barrel-vaulted space, possibly as early as 600-800AD. The spherical objects around the doorway are carved heads (saints? clan chieftains?), probably reminiscent of the Celtic belief that if you take an enemy's head, you take its power. Some of the spheres have faces, and others look like brain cortex, with curvy vine figures on the surface.
In the 1100s, when the Celtic church was reformed and conformed to the Roman church, Clonfert was enlarged, the roof raised, and a west tower was added, which accounts for the rest of the wide face of stonework.
HERE. St. Brendan's story may have been the basis of the story of Prince Madog of Wales, who was said to have landed in North America in the 1100s. See my article on Madog and Nathaniel Jenkins.
Brendan founded a monastery at Clonfert in the 500s which is rumored to have taught both boys and girls in its school. St. Brendan is allegedly buried there. The church was built later, perhaps in the 800s, and in the 1100s, the church was enlarged by the Norman occupiers. There probably were north and south transepts which gave a cross shape to the church, according to archaeological studies, but for hundreds of years the chancel and nave have had a rectangular shape.
|Google map of Clonfert|
|Google street view of Clonfert Cathedral|
Christy K Robinson is author of this website and these books. Click the book titles to find them in paperback and Kindle.
· We Shall Be Changed (2010)
· Mary Dyer Illuminated (2013)
· Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (2014)
· The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport (2014)
· Effigy Hunter (2015)
· Anne Hutchinson, American Founding Mother (2018)