It’s a story that’s been told to us many times by our father. Nearly 240 years ago our ancestor, William Taylor, Sr., loaded his family onto a ship called The Earl of Donegal and sailed for Charleston, SC. They left Belfast in 1767 and landed in Charleston in 1768. William was given a land grant for 350 acres in Laurens County. He donated a few of those acres for Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church.
The first home I can remember was on a farm that had once been part of that land grant. As children we scrambled over the rocks and stream that gave the the church its name. We would wander through the old cemetery and see generations of Taylor ancestors, starting with my great-grandfather and going back from there. With so many of our ancestors close at hand, it’s no wonder that our family developed a keen sense of genealogy.
Unfortunately, we could only go back so far. Beyond the landing in Charleston we have no record of the Taylor family. We knew nothing about them in Ireland other than that they had lived in Antrim County, and before that had come to Ireland from Scotland.
Fast forward to the present day. Our father had died four years ago, and our mother had passed away last summer. It felt as though our history was slipping away from us. My brothers decided that it was time that we make that return trip to Ireland and see what we could find out about our family. There was no way I was going to let them go without me.
The plan was as follows: Houston, his wife Lynda, Stephen, and his wife Cynthia would fly to Shannon a couple of weeks early. They would visit some of the family locales and tour Dublin, Belfast, and Northern Ireland. For the second part of the trip they would be renting a house in the town of Doolin in Clare County, Ireland. That’s when I would join them. Unfortunately, Laura would not be able to go because of work commitments.
The trip was an amazing experience. We met some wonderful people, heard some fantastic music, saw lots of scenery and history, and drank lots of Guinness. We didn’t learn any more about our family, but we did get a better sense of their country of origin. It was a great time of exploration with my brothers, and it was an experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
We had little or no Internet during the trip, so I had no way to update the blog. I’m still working on photos, and it will take days to upload even the select ones. I kept a written journal, as did we all. However, I don’t intend to replicate that here.
Here’s what I intend to do…the next post will be a day-by-day rundown of our trip, with a few photos. As I finish uploading photos I’ll add a slide show for each day’s description. This won’t be a detailed description of those events, as it would be too long to read. Subsequent posts won’t be a detailed journal, either, but just a few of the impressions and things I learned while on the trip. Life keeps happening, so I’ll have other non-Ireland posts pop up as timeliness demands. I’ll intersperse these posts with the Ireland posts – don’t expect a sequential documentary.
We’ll see how this goes. There’s lots to process, and life continues. I never finished my posts from last year’s west coast tour, and I think that’s because I got caught up trying to do a detailed day-by-day journal. I’m hoping this approach will be easier to maintain, and more interesting to read.