Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Bryony Symes
   
On a recent trip to the Emerald Isle, Bryony Symes delved into her family connections to southern Ireland, taking in beautiful scenery.

Now, I'm no genealogist, but it turns out that some members of my extended family are; there has even been a book published that delves into the history of several linked families, including my own. Where were these families based? In the New Ross area of Ireland - what more reason could I need to pay the Emerald Isle to visit?

So, Claudia and I packed up our vans and rushed to catch the Stena Line ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare, eventually pitching up at Duncannon Beach Holiday Park. 

Unfortunately, our Clan Gathering for this year had been cancelled, but I wasn't about to miss out on finding out more about my family roots, and taking in some of the gorgeous scenery of the Hook Peninsula. 

It turns out that there is plenty to do in that area - we were spoilt for choice! 

Not only does the peninsula have the oldest operation lighthouse in the world (built by a Knight Templar, no less), but it also has Slade Castle, overlooking a picturesque harbour, and Loftus Hall, reputedly the most haunted house in Ireland. Not to mention the remains of a thirteenth century church on the site of the fifth century monastery St Saviour's of Rinndeuan.

Further afield, we explored the remains of Tintern Abbey with its ever-impressive tower, and the secluded and peaceful Colclough Walled Garden.

My family's heritage really came to light when we went to the Kennedy Homestead, where documents show Captain William Glascott selling land to John Kennedy caught my eye - the Glascott family is one of several that my ancestors married into. (If I've understood the genealogy correctly...)

We also visited the JFK Arboretum, which celebrated its 50th birthday last year, to discover yet more family roots and stroll amongst the landscaped grounds. 

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