The Travers family
About three years ago our son, Christopher, began to research our family history in Ireland.
We knew very little about the origins of the Travers family, but within a very short time we located a long-lost, Irish cousin, Paddy Travers, who was able to give us quite a bit of information.
Paddy’s grandfather, Thomas, was a brother to our great-grandfather, Patrick Travers. They were born and lived in a home just outside of the beautiful village of Dromahair in County Leitrim.
Paddy encouraged us to visit, and offered to show us around the area, including a stop at the family home, which is still standing, but no longer owned by a member of the family.
We were a large group, consisting of me and my husband, son Christopher with this wife, Allyson, and their six children, ranging in age from nineteen years to eight.
Christopher reserved the entire Mill Master’s Guest House in Dromahair for our stay. It is a newly-restored building on the edge of town. It has four modern bedrooms, each with its own sparkling, clean bathroom, wi-fi and flat screen television. Plenty of room for all of us.
Upon our arrival, we received a warm welcome from Ruth Kelly.
Ruth and her husband, John, own not only the Guest House, but also the Clubhouse Gastro Pub, which is directly across the parking lot. Our delicious, full Irish breakfast was served there in the mornings, and in the evenings we enjoyed Irish music and recitations until well past our bedtime.
Another benefit to the Mill Master’s Guest House is its location directly across the street from a beautiful greenway that has been constructed along an abandoned rail line.
A morning stroll or bike ride on the greenway takes you through the verdant woods and pastureland, where chirping birds and abundant wildlife are your constant companions.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can continue beyond the end of the greenway and follow a paved county road to Creevelea Abbey.
Even though our group did this on a somewhat rainy afternoon, we all accomplished this easily, as the way is well-marked and takes you through the gently-rolling hills that surround the town of Dromahair.
Creevelea Abbey is an abandoned Franciscan Friary and national monument that was founded in 1508. It was in use until the seventeenth century, when Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries in use in England and Ireland.
Our family had a great adventure wandering through the ruins, perusing the many headstones, and climbing the old bell tower.
After our visit to the Abbey, we followed a shady and charming footpath along the Bonet River, which led us directly into the heart of Dromahair. We took a short break for some refreshments at the old J. Stanford pub, before heading back to the Mill Master’s Guest House.
There are also two other lovely bars in the village - Fowley’s and The Blue Devon. Paddy regaled us with many stories about cozy evenings swapping stories with the locals in these two establishments.
Bright and early the following day, we took a short ride to the shores of beautiful Lough Gill.
Cousin Paddy had arranged for our family to take a cruise on ‘The Rose of Innisfree’ tour boat. We were delighted to discover that the boat not only has an upper deck for outdoor seating, but also a fully-enclosed lower level with a nice bar, should the weather turn blustery.
We took full advantage of both levels, and particularly enjoyed hearing a bit about the history of the area, mixed with some fine Irish poetry. This is William Butler Yeats territory, and it’s easy to imagine him gazing over the beautiful low mountains that surround the lake as he was composing his poems.
‘The Rose of Innisfree] has been cruising beautiful Lough Gill since 1992, when George and Tina McGoldrick decided to provide this wonderful adventure to families with children, as well as to anyone who wants to take time out amid these stunning surroundings to make some memories to cherish.
Recently, their son, Alan, has become the new skipper, and he has continued to provide entertaining and informative commentary during the tour, pointing out places of interest, the varied wildlife and telling a few of the myths and legends associated with the landscape.
After our cruise, which lasted about an hour and a half, we were ready to begin our tour of Parke’s Castle, which overlooks the lake just above the boat dock.
Siobhan at the reception was very
efficient and welcoming. Our guide, Dara, gave concise explanations that were of interest to everyone. The castle has a nicely-renovated interior with clean, accessible restrooms. We were able to walk along the top of the castle walls, which have a beautiful view of the lake.
From the castle we went directly to Carrickatemple Cemetery, where our Travers family ancestors are buried. I do believe we are the first family members to return to Leitrim from the States, so a photo was definitely in order.
At the end of the day, once again, we returned to the Clubhouse Gastro Bar for a wonderful dinner, followed by more music and singing. And the best thing—our cozy cottage was just across the parking lot, where our comfy beds were waiting.
We hope to return to Dromahair. It certainly exceeded our expectations in every way, and I recommend it highly to anyone looking for a peaceful, genuine, Irish village experience!
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