Category Archives: Blog

Robbed at a graveyard


I was robbed last week.

Last Friday I was at a meeting in Naas so because I am currently working on the surname Lyons from Monasterevin I decided that if the meeting ended early enough I would try to find graveyards around Monasterevin.

I actually ended up in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Rathangan and it was a very busy cemetery, lots of people going in.  When I got back to my car, I realised I had been robbed.  My bag had been stolen off the seat.  The actual good thing about this was that they had stolen my bag but not taken my Canon camera that was under the bag.

Police came and they were so nice, Each policeman walked up and down different sides of the road looking for the bag.  They were able to tell me that the thieves only wanted the money, that they would have pulled the money from the wallet and chucked the bag out the window.

No luck in their searches.  Believe it or not, the only thing that worried me was that I had brought all my camera discs with me and for one of them I had not transferred all the information on it.  My daughter Sinead had given names to all my gravestone photographs from two graveyards and she had indexed these photographs and I had not downloaded them onto a computer :(

Have to say, the robbery put me out psychologically.

Next morning, I am sitting at computer working away and I receive a phone call from the Gardai in Edenderry to tell me that my bag had been handed in and that yes, everything was in the bag except the money.

Amn’t I such a lucky unlucky person :)

We all tend to give out about our Policemen (the Gardai) BUT no matter what I can only say that the three Gardai I spoke to this week were extremely nice and helpful and I would have nothing but good to say about them

Rathdowney EasyRiders Outing 2016


EasyRiders Rathdowney Charity Cycle, 2016

Every year the Rathdowney EasyRiders cycle from Rathdowney to another place as a charity fundraiser.  This year, Martin McCormack asked me if I’d go in to town and take a few photos.  This charity cycle took place in March of last year, just a year ago and it really shouldn’t have taken me this long to get the photos online!

Mostly, the photos are just of the social interaction before the cycle took off.

2016, they cycled from Rathdowney to Portlaoise, then Athlone, Mullingar and finally to Cavan.  They motor bikes leading them they had at least one van, there were cars, supporters and from what I have heard all had a good time.


Hounds & First Hunt, Laois. 2016

Hounds & the First Hunt, Laois.

2nd November 2016

The Hunt in Laois was established in 1899 according to the date on a plaque where the dogs are kept.

We had friends over from America and we decided to ‘kidnap’ them for a day and bring them to places that they would never thing of going to in their lives.  The first hunt of 2016 just happened to occur on that ‘kidnap’ day.

First place of stop was to see the houndss which were not going out for the day. Meeting with the new Huntsman Dermot Hannify and seeing the hounds in their kennels was very interesting.  Laois Hunt has approximately 60 hounds, sexes are kept separately in the kennels.  When they first go out young hounds are tied to an older hound and the older hound will teach them.

An hour or so later we headed to the Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix where the Laois Hunt was about to take off from.

An interesting event to view.  I’ve never actually seen the hounds or the proper hunt take off before.



All Ireland Scarecrow Festival, 2016

All Ireland Scarecrow Festival, 2016

Durrow, Laois

As usual I was over in Durrow for the ‘All Ireland Scarecrow Festival, 2016’.  What can I say?Every year the entries just get better and better.  The winner this year was Noah’s Ark and the work that went in to that was incredible!  They even had little animals inside the ark right down to bats and insects flying around.  They had a grain store and mice! :)  Children were able to walk in to the ark and look at all the ‘animals’ and insects.

The Scarecrow festival is divided into a number of areas.  There are two sections where adults pay very little to get (1 or 2 Euro) and children are free. Outside of these two areas there are scarecrow entries all over the town, up and down, you have to remember to look up on the walls of buildings as there can be scarecrows up there!!

My photographs are not in order to to speak as I went over the evening before the festival officially opened and walked around photographing everything before there were lots of people about.  Then, on the Monday I went back over with children taking more photos. The result is that I have a lot of photos and even at that I don’t think I got them all.

Definitely a very enjoyable day and very interesting to listed to the comments of the children on the scarecrows.


and finally, let us not forget Humpty Dumpty and the Turnip being pulled up by one and all!!


A Walk in Kilkenny City

A Walk in Kilkenny City

I had arranged to meet Tara and Miriha at 8.30 on Tuesday morning and we were going to take a trip around Kilkenny city. I know Kilkenny pretty well as I went to boarding school in the Loreto Convent and I also lived there for a while.

Met the ladies and as we’d never met before we sat chatting for a wee while, then we set out for Kilkenny Castle. That was the one thing the girls wanted to do was see the Castle.

I pointed out the Tourist office to them as we walked past, few realise that the building is the tourist office. The new tourist office on the street is under construction and will probably be ready in the next month. Then we get to the castle. In all the years I have had connection with Kilkenny I have *never* gone in to the Castle before.

After we walked into the Castle grounds  we saw was the media room where they have a video about the Castle, it’s history and restoration so we went in there to watch that. Very interesting.

Then, off we went to the Castle itself. Unfortunately they don’t want you to take photos in the Castle. I stuck with photographing the outside :)

The work that went in to the restoration of the Castle was incredible. Carpets and wall paper were reproduced.

It was a really interesting time that we spent in the Castle. As we went through the sitting room (I think!!) we stopped to listen to a lady whose name was Anne and whose surname I forgot to note (she may have been a Cleary). Anne knows her stuff, she was so interesting. I’d never known that they had tea chests and the tea chest in the Castle is quite a big one. It has four containers for tea leaves and a central area where the different teas were mixed to make the type of tea that the family liked to drink. Back then tea was a precious commodity, tea leaves were not left lying free in the kitchen. The owners of the house kept their tea leaves with them! We talked to Anne for quite a bit, she brought the rooms to life for us.

Then we got to the picture gallery. The 2nd longest room in all of Ireland. They don’t have anything like the volume of paintings that they had hanging in the library when the family lived there but what is hanging is very impressive. What made it more impressive for us was that we began talking to the man in charge of the picture gallery when we were there. His name was John Kelly and Tara is descended from a Kelly family who left Ireland. John as with Anne, really knew his stuff. We got to talking about Dunamase in Laois and he knows so much of the history about Dunamase and how it connects in to Kilkenny Castle. I was a bit worried in case the ladies would not be as interested in this kind of ‘old stuff’ as I am, but I needn’t have been worried, they both loved it.

One of the things that Tara commented on as we were walking along is ‘how friendly the Irish are’. I never know that we are any different from other people, I just know us as us. Put an Irish person in Australia and they will meet up with more Irish people. In some ways it’s amusing. It was very nice to hear her say it. The night before when they wee out for the night, they met up with a couple from Bangor and when we were sitting in the lobby this couple passed through and stopped to chat away for a couple of minutes. This is one thing I say all the time to people who come here (searching their ancestry), go into the pub find the oldest man you can, offer to buy him a pint and he’ll tell you the history of the town – seriously. Maybe, just sit beside him, get yourself drink and then ask him how he is, what he thinks of the weather and work your way from there

We left the Castle and headed over to the Craft centre where Miriha found a piece of jewelry she had been looking for. Then, we had lunch in the café and headed out to go to ‘The Hole in the wall’ I had been told that we had to go to the Hole in the wall by people on the Kilkenny Down memory Lane Facebook page. The ‘Hole in the Wall; was the residence of Thomas MacDonagh (1901-1904).  I think John told us that the Hole in the Wall is owned by a heart surgeon who bought it because he wanted to keep that venue open. I *think* it is a pub with a whole load of culture. It’s up an alley off the High Street (Main Street) of Kilkenny City. It was closed when we got there but I’m still going to leave the photo I took from the High street in this collection BECAUSE I had never heard of the Hole in the Wall before. I had seen the sign in the past, but didn’t know what I was looking at.

Around about the entrance to the Hole in the Wall we met up with 3 other American people who the ladies were traveling with. Maggie decided to join us. I wanted to show the ladies St. Mary’s which is being renovated except it was all locked up and we couldn’t get in.

On one of the buildings beside St. Mary’s we saw this wonderful mural created by ‘DanLeo’. It is possible that this is two people and not one man called Danleo?

Just back on High St. and we saw the surname Kelly so as Kelly is one of Tara’s family surnames we had to photograph that:)

'J. Kelly'

‘J. Kelly’

I brought them down one of the ‘slips/steps’ so that I could show them where Kyteler’s Inn was – as they were going to Kyteler’s Inn that evening.

Ahh – before that the Tholsel and I’d never noticed what I have photographed below on the side of it before

on side of Tholsel

on side of Tholsel

From Kyteler’s Inn we ended up outside the Bank of Ireland where there is a head of ‘St. Canice’ – patron Saint of the Diocese of Ossory (which takes in bits of Laois as well as Kilkenny)  I did photograph the St. Canice image but that was with my iphone!

Pointed out Rothe House.

On to the old Courthouse (is it still the Courthouse?) and before we got there I spotted the sign below on the pillars at the entrance to Dunne’s Store car park.  The entrance to the Smithwick’s Tour / building is right be side the Courthouse.

Tara went in to make enquiries about the Smithwicks Tour. From there off to St. Canice’s Cathedral which was just a little bit up the road – and I forgot to photograph the steps. I’m so sorry.  I did catch a few of the pubs.  John Cleere’s is one that I am familiar with and whenever you are in Kilkenny check to see if they have any musical events in their back room.  Just check the pub anyway, it really is nice.

The ladies all wanted to go up the Round Tower in St. Canice’s and there was no way I was doing that!

Sent them off, then I paid to take a tour of the inside of St. Canices Cathedral. Took a load of photos but I am going to create a page for from-ireland with the photos from inside the Cathedral. I did take a few shots outside.

We still had to go to the Black Abbey, I just so wanted to show it to them. I wanted them to see the windows and everything about the Abbey. It is such a beautiful place. The ‘tour’ that the ladies wanted to take in Smithwick’s was at 4pm, I said I think we can do it and have you there by then.

I brought them back to Smithwicks through the old arch that is part of the old Kilkenny wall and we got there at 3 minutes past 4pm, the tour that they had wanted to take was at 4!  They went for the next one. I said my goodbyes and left them then.

All in all, our little ‘walk’ around Kilkenny including the Castle tour began about 10.30am and we made our goodbyes after 4.03pm.

Tara and Miriha said they had a wonderful time.

Blog Introduction

Blog :


A friend said to me last night  that I should have a blog, and I laughed and replied that I had a few of them over the years and that now, sometimes I post pages on from-ireland that I label ‘blog pages’.  After our chat I was trying to read a book but it kept coming to my head, “OK, what will I do?  Will I research the net for where I could host a blog, will I check out Google+, how about Linkedin?  How many other sites are there where I could have a blog?”  Loads of questions.

Woke up this morning (25th March, 2016) and said to myself, “Jane, just create a ‘blog index’ page on from-ireland.  Load up all the posts you have labelled ‘blog’, take the url’s and create a Blog index page.  Then, tag the link to that page on to all your county pages and hey, you have a blog”

I do have a Facebook page under my name Jane Lyons, attached to that I have a page called Irish Genealogy.  Irish Genealogy is tagged as the official Facebook page for from-ireland.  Then I have a mail list called Y-IRL created in 2001.

The last few years have seen mail lists pretty much die because of the introduction of Social Media Sites.  Facebook (FB) is grand BUT I can make a post (send in a message) and FB will tell me how many people it has reached.  Take for example a post I made about Haemochromatosis on Thursday night 24th March, today that post has ‘reached’ over 9,000+ people.  It had been shared 90+ times before I looked at it today BUT next week I will receive a message from FB telling me that Irish Genealogy had 300+ visitors last week.  Logically I can’t see how those figures equate.  If I leave them even as I have them here then they are divisible *but* how on earth do 300 visitors, ‘reach’ 9000 people?  I freely admit that I am *hopeless* at maths!

from-ireland began not just as a genealogy website but as a site where I wanted to teach people about our history as we learned it.  I wanted to include our culture.  I wanted to include everything I liked about Ireland.  I live in Ireland.  Times are that I talk about something which is not ‘genealogical’ and times are that I get a negative feedback about this.  Times are I receive emails and messages of a negative frame re from-ireland.  Thing is from-ireland is not a business web site, it is a site created by one woman who had an idea back in 2001 when there was nothing (website wise) coming out of Ireland.  from-ireland then seemed to become a website that concentrated mainly on gravestones (2011).

I’m putting dates on the newer posts, but, generally speaking, the list begins at the bottom and works its way up

Dr. Jane Lyons’ Blog Index

As I drive through a village, a town, a town land, any place and I see something, I want to talk about it, I want to share photos, I want to tell you what I think. I just want to sit as if I am in a room with a bunch of photos showing them to my friends, telling them what I saw, what I thought. Enjoy.

ACE University College Cork Summer School

Irish Genealogy Summer School

ACE University College Cork

ACE UCC 2016

The Irish Genealogy Summer School at University College Cork (UCC) for 2016.  I will be out on the Friday evening with participants of the school but at some point during the school I will be giving a presentation on gravestones and their importance, how to read them.  I hadn’t quite decided on my title so the presentation was not listed in the schedule when I first saw it.

This will be my 3rd year giving presentations at the school and I do have to thank Lorna Moloney for inviting me that first year.  She is an absolutely great lady for going forward, taking opportunities.  Last year this wonderful lady called Jan Gow gave an extra (unexpected) presentation re her mouse which is a scanner.  (I hope I am remembering this correctly!!)  At the time Jan had a group of people in Ireland as part of a genealogical tour that she carries out.  Once she had given her presentation Lorna immediately asked if she would like to give a scheduled talk this year and I am so glad to see that she is included.

Needless to say all the genealogists I know and like who are amongst the best are giving presentations :)  Aiden is organising the cultural evening once again, he’s told me that I am going to help him.  He had organised it last year and the two of us went for dinner just before it so once we got there I was busy dancing and trying to get other people up to dance!  There was an evening out around Cork City where I learned so much stuff that I never knew. University College Cork is my alma mater for both my BSc,. and my PhD., so you’d think that I would know everything there is to know about Cork after all those years I spent in University there.  I can honestly say I hadn’t a clue, not a clue.  Cork is a beautiful city, Cork people are such nice people.

Of course I took photos both years I have been there but I have never really done anything with them.  Tomorrow, I think tomorrow will be a good day to pull out all my photos from the other two years and put them on this page so that those of you who read the page can see them!

A little story I suppose :)  The first year I was at the school I was staying in University accomodation.  I wanted to go and collect my car which I had left outside the University but I could not work out how to get out through the locked gates.  These two ladies came along and helped me exit, so the three of us were walking down the road together and me thinking it would be polite to introduce myself said my name and held my hand out to shake theirs.  One of the ladies said “Oh my God, you are not Jane Lyons” and of course I had a puzzled look on my face and I said “I am” – She laughed and replied “Do you know I am here because of you. Imagine that, me opening the gate for Jane Lyons”  I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that meant to me, imagine someone being at the school who had heard of me.  That as wonderful.  As the week went on, I realised that other people at the conference knew about me and my work.  Realising that was incredible for me.  If any of them every read this page, I’d like to offer them my profound thanks.  That particular lady, she was from New Zealand.  Her friend with her, someone she had met at the school, an American lady.

Tomorrow.  Photos of past schools

Blacksmiths: Shoe Making

I’ve never in my life seen a blacksmith at work and I have to say it was fascinating, really interesting to watch this at the Threshing out in Knock.  I took so many photos and it has been difficult to cut them back and even at this I still have too many!

The ‘making’ of the shoe

and then, we have the horse being shoed.  There were two horses and their owners standing to the side while each shoe was made.