I’m back after too long without any posts. I had an eventful 2016 which included two genealogy trips, the second to the UK with my mother. We visited Donegal and Belfast in Ireland at the end of August on the trail of our McKnight, Gregg and Dunlop families from Raphoe in County Donegal. I also visited where the McFaddens (on my dad’s side) were from in County Armagh but more about them in another post.
We flew from London to Belfast then collected a hire car from the airport and drove to Raphoe via Newry in Co Armagh. Having organized sim cards for our phones and having said that we were going to Northern Ireland (geographically) but actually being in Southern Ireland in Donegal our phones wouldn’t work once we crossed in to Donegal. Eventually I was able to buy some additional credit to be able to use mine. I was using my phone as our GPS in the car which worked beautifully for most of our trip throughout Ireland and Scotland.
We eventually found where we were staying in a gorgeous 16th century farmhouse, Longvale house, a working farm near Lifford, just outside Raphoe. Our hosts were lovely and the only drawback was a lack of restaurants in the local area in the evening. After a very fried meal at Strabane on our first night we bought dips and biscuits from Marks & Spencers in the nearby larger town of Letterkenny and ate them in the lounge where we were staying for the rest of our stay there.
A visit to the Raphoe Heritage Office on the Diamond in the centre of Raphoe was well worth it. They had a number of books and old postcards for sale and the girl working there was extremely helpful, copying some cemetery records for me and supplying general information about research in the area. I was also able to buy another book on Raphoe from the local newsagency. This is one of the many advantages of visiting local areas, collecting books that are printed and distributed locally. We walked to the first Presbyterian church where both the McKnight and Dunlops had worshiped although the church there now was built after our ancestors were there. We wandered around the graves surrounding the Cathedral as well. We had lunch at a little cafe just off the Diamond.
The Dunlops (also spelt Dunlap and Delap in the old records) lived at Cooladerry on the edge of Raphoe. We drove to the standing stones and I stopped to take a few photos of some of the lovely green countryside with undulating hills then put Cooladerry into my GPS. The GPS then took us on a circuitous route round the narrow lanes back to where I’d taken the photos ten minutes before. We’d been at Cooladerry!
Gortaquigley, where the McKnight’s lived was on the other side of Raphoe just below the Cathedral.
I met Bernie whom I’ve been corresponding with for a number of years. Her husband shares relatives with us. John George Dunlop whom I’ve written about a number of times creates the link through his half brothers. It was lovely to finally meet her.
We drove extensively around Donegal over the four days we were there and I will share some of those travels and the scenery in a future post.
No matter how prepared you think you are there is always something else. We visited a number of the small farm areas where I’d found the family was from. Then once I was in Belfast I went to PRONI and obtained copies of the baptisms and church marriages for the McKnights, Dunlops and Gregg families I was related to in Raphoe. I found that the Gregg family had actually worshiped at Convoy presbyterian church in the 1830s (and I daresay before) and so had the Dunlops. There was a baptism for Ann Jane Dunlop, daughter of John Dunlop of Cooladerry in 1827 at Convoy. Ofcourse we hadn’t visited Convoy as I didn’t know of the connection when I’d been in the area the few days earlier. This was more of a look around trip to Ireland with the objective of returning to do some more research however it would have been nice to go to the church and graveyard.
William and Ellen Gregg migrated to Pennsylvania along with a number (if not all) of their sons and daughters. One of their daughters had married James McKnight and they also emigrated with them. See my earlier post on the Gregg family from Donegal to Pennsylvania.
As always I’d love to hear from anyone who is related and/or has more information on any of these families or places.