Sunday, March 17, 2013


Today is the day when we are surrounded by all with Irish connections no matter how tenuous.
The world dons the mantle of a green cloak, it is imperative that we wear a touch of the green, as do our buildings, our food and even our beer...

I could relate the story of St. Patrick, but that will be everywhere and you can read it at your leisure. I could show you green buildings, people with their hair coloured green.. ask if you are wearing green, but you will get that as well. I can't promise not to share a joke or two.. after all isn't that compulsory today?

However, I've chosen to honour some of my Irish ancestors instead. The majority of mine came from Co Clare. One notable exception has featured before, was my 4th great grandmother, Bridget Eslin/Heslin who came from Dublin via a free passage on the "Sugar Cane" in 1793... you can read some of Bridget's story here...

We then skip several generations though the first of the Irish ancestors in this line have no connection to the first Bridget's line until the marriage of my grandparents, Roy Leonard Swadling and Bridget Therese Dillon in 1924, in Australia. Pa (Roy) is the link to Bridget Eslin who married Robert Hobbs.

Working back from Bridget, we find her parents, who were Patrick Dillon and Eleanor (Nellie) McGuane...

All I now know of my great grandfather (September, 2004) is that he was a farmer. The 1901 Census lists the family as living in the Townland of Cloonbooley,  DED No. 38/2    District Electoral Division of Kinturk

His age at that time is listed as 40, making his birth year c 1861. There were 5 children listed, one  name missing, that of James,  he was baptised in 1898. They were John (Jack) aged 5, Michael 4, Daniel 3, Mary (Molly) 2 and Bridget (my grandmother to be ) 2 months. 5 more children were born in later years.

Patrick could read and write.

In the 1911 Census, you can see the changes... click on the image to enlarge as needed. Susan is missing here, but I found her with a maternal Aunt and Uncle.

If we go back a generation, Patrick's parents were Michael Dillon and Bridget Keane (Kean)...
Thanks to transcriber, Beryl Meehan and her contribution to IGP, I have the following...

Church: CLARE: Baptisms in Kilmaley Parish. Co. Clare. 1828-1882.
Ireland Genealogy Project Archives
Contributed by beryl meehan
BAPTISMS in Kilmaley Parish, Co Clare from LDS film 926094
A partial list of BAPTISMS in Kilmaley Parish, Co Clare from LDS film 926094, September 1828-March 1882
See also
Residence placenames have been spelled phonetically by the PP in many cases.  I've use the Kilmaley Parish Townlands map
to give the present day spelling whenever the entry indicated the same place. Names shown are as in the entry.
Parish Priests: 1827 Rev Pa Corbett, date? Rev Daniel Lynist was Adm? and then PP in 1834, "11 March 1862 -abt 1902 Rev Michael Burke
With J Halpin assisting Rev Burke.
NAME                      BAPTISM DATE           PARENTS                                             RESIDENCE            SPONSORS
DILLON, Pat               2 March 1853           Michael Dillon & Bridget Kean (image 207)            Clounaboula         Margaret Kelly & Thomas Doohan
DILLON, Margaret          2 March 1853           Michael Dillon & Bridget Kean (image 207)            Clounaboula         Kate Kean & John ---

There were the  possible twins as above, though the babies could have been just baptised together, followed by 'my' Patrick born somewhere around 1859-1862... two different census lead to two estimated dates... As this was the second Patrick, I can only surmise that the first had died. Ellen was next born in 1862, maybe she was a twin of the second Patrick... haven't proved any of that as yet.
Last born was Michael Dillon, born 1866.

 Still lots of loose ends to tie up, but with lots of Patrick and Ellen's grandchildren around, maybe one day.

Now for the expected...

Paddy had long heard the stories of an amazing family tradition.  

It seems that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all
been able to walk on water on their 18th birthday.                

On that special day, they'd each walked across the lake to the pub on
the far side for their first legal drink.                         

So when Paddy's, 18th birthday came around,                       
he and his pal Mick, took a boat out to the middle of the lake,   
Paddy, stepped out of the boat ...and nearly drowned!             

Mick just barely managed to pull him to safety.                   

Furious and confused, Paddy, went to see his grandmother.         

'Grandma,' he asked, "Tis me 18th birthday, so why can't I walk 'cross
the lake like me father, his father, and his father before him?"  

Granny looked deeply into Paddy's, troubled brown eyes and said,  

"Because ye father, ye grandfather and ye great-grandfather were all
born in January, when the lake is frozen, 
and ye were born in August, 
ya  idiot!"

Three Irish guys go into a pub, have a few pints and are ready to leave and pay their tab. The bar back brings them a bill for exactly £30.00. Each guy gives him a tenner, and they leave.
When the bar back hands the £30.00 to the bartender, he is told a mistake was made. The bill was only £25.00, not £30.00. The bartender gives the bar back five £1.00 notes and tells him to take it back to the 3 Irish guys.
On their way out of the pub, the bar back has a thought... these guys did not give him a tip. (Editor's note: yes, I know they do not generally tip in Ireland, please just play along?) He figures that since there is no way to split £5.00 evenly three ways anyhow, he will keep two pounds for himself and give them back three pounds.
OK! So far so good!
He taps one of the guys on the shoulder and explains about a mix up in the bill, and hands the guy the three pounds, then departs with his two-pound tip in his pocket.
Now the fun begins!
Remember £30-£25=£5 Right? £5-£3=£2 Right?
So what's the problem?
All is well, right?
Not quite? Answer this:
Each of the three guys originally gave £10.00 each.
They each got back £1.00 in change.
That means they paid £9.00 each, which times three is £27.00.
The delivery boy kept £2.00 for a tip.
£27.00 plus £2.00 equals £29.00.
Where the heck is the other pound??????????

St. Patrick's Day above courtesy of Clip art © by Dixie Allan,

Some lovely old postcards from Co Clare...enjoy...



  1. I'm a bit slow catching up here Chris but enjoyed this post very much. Tracing our Irish Ancestry sure can be a bit of a battle. Loved that your first Irish Ancestor, Bridget, enjoyed a free passage {chuckle}... unfortunately I couldn't open the link.

    Poor young Paddy, unable to walk on water... ha ha ha.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Catherine.. sorry about the link. It is now reactivated... love the gremlins.. :-) It links back to the Australia Day post which you had read, referring to Bridget Eslin/Heslin and Robert Hobbs...

      You know that Paddy's story has to be a joke, for to be sure, all Irishmen can walk on water, can't they?

  2. What would we do with ourselves without a few loose ends to resolve. I like the array of resources you've used Chris. I think Adm is for Administrator which from my limited knowledge is roughly the equivalent of a curate.

    1. I could weave a very long rug if I connected all my loose ends! I thought it was time to give variety rather than go through the expected... I always enjoy a wander around the edges.
      I would suspect you were right re Adm, as later he became a PP or Parish Priest. Thanks, Pauleen...


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