Loughfouder, County Kerry, Ireland to Washington, DC

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O' Sullivan Homestead

O' Sullivan Homestead

As I shared with you in my previous post I was setting to embark on my journey to Ireland for a family reunion.  One of the highlights of the reunion was a special visit to farm where my great-grandfather Terrence Daniel O’ Sullivan was born. He would drop the O’ from his name when he emigrated to America.   The farm sits on approximately 75 acres in Loughfouder, County Kerry, Ireland.  It is still owned by a direct descendant of Jeremiah born 1861.   It was an emotional journey walking in the same footsteps of my great-grandfather. Stopping several times down the deep descent to dab at the tears welled in my eyes.    I am not sure of the exact age of the home; but was told it was approximately 203 year old.  I do know that Terrance was born in the home in 1865.  While the home has deteriorated you can still enjoy the splendors of the farm and use your imagination to picture and warm and loving home some 200 years ago.The views seem to go on and on – green as far as the eye can see.  You can see livestock from adjoining farms, peat bogs and the glorious mountain ring around County Kerry.  According to the 1900 census Terrence immigrated in 1880; being 15 years of age.  I have never been able to substantiate this as I cannot find any details of his immigration. Someone once told me that when a family member set sail for America they hold an American wake; a metaphor for the departure of emigrants.  Often it was the last time they would ever see their family members alive.  Family lore states that when our ancestors would leave for America they would sew coins in the coats for safe keeping.

The were three rooms that we could access in the house and a flight of stairs that were not safe to climb.  In the kitchen you can see the remnants of the large fireplace where the food was cooked over the open hearth.  The home never had the modern conveniences of the 19th century.

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Back of the Sullivan Home

11 children were born to James O’ Sullivan and Mary O’ Connor in this home.  The interior is small and I cannot imagine raising such a large family as the children worn all born close together (1861-1876).

Of the 11 original children the following had direct descendants represent them at the visitation of the homestead: Mary (1863), Edmond (1864) Terrence (1865), Patrick (1869).

It was very moving to see all of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren all visit the home as a family unit.  I could feel my great-grandfather smiling down from heaven as he witnessed my father, his grandson, walking through the same door that he did many times as a lad.

Descendants of the O'Sullivan children

Descendants of the O' Sullivan children

View of the Family Farm

View of the Family Farm

Great and Great -Great Grandaughters of Terrence Daniel O'Sullivan

Great and Great -Great Grandaughters of Terrence Daniel O'Sullivan

Terrence O’Sullivan

Terrence O'Sullivan

Terrence O’ Sullivan was born to James and Mary Connor O’Sullivan on May 7th, 1866. The family homestead in Ireland was in Loughfouder, County Kerry. Terrence emigrated to the USA in 1880. He made his home in the District of Columbia and his occupation was a harness maker. He ran a productive business and used the skills of his trade that he learned from his homeland. The quality was enhanced by using the Irish stitch in his harness making. Today you may know it as the flame or bargello stitch. In 1888 Terrence would marry Josephine Bridget Fealy and produce 9 off-springs. Sadly, only three survived to adulthood. Terrence died in 1920. The trade that kept he and his family alive would ultimately take his life after the poisonous prick of a needle.