Carey Grice, June 2005
I first learned of
the village of Emly in Co. Tipperary, Ireland
in May 2001. A friend of a cousin told me about
a tombstone inscription in the Emly graveyard
that referred to my Carey surname and mentioned
Troy NY. The timing was perfect since I had plans
to travel to Ireland later that month. All that
was needed was a minor adjustment to my itinerary
and I was soon off on another ancestor hunt.
Little did I know at the time of the connection
between Troy and Emly.
As one approaches St.
Ailbe’s Church in Emly, your eyes are drawn
to the granite Emigrant Wall that stands outside
the adjacent graveyard. Erected in August 2000
in memory of those who had emigrated from their
home in Emly to places far away, it is a simple yet
elegant tribute. It was surprising to read the
names and learn how many of the people honored had
settled in Troy NY.
he response to my knock on
the door of the Parish Priest could not have
been more welcoming. Father Seamus Rochford spent
several hours telling me about the history of the
parish, pouring over baptismal records from the 1830s
and helping me to locate the tombstone I had
come to see. The damp Irish climate encourages
the growth of moss and lichens on limestone tombstones
but, through Father Rochford’s cleaning
efforts, the inscription was slowly revealed.
l could not have been
The following morning,
an older gentleman approached as my husband and
I ate breakfast in the dining room of the Golden
Thatch Inn where we were staying. “Are
you the folks looking for their people?” he
asked and introduced himself as Des Mulhall,
the father of the inn’s proprietor. When
I explained that I was searching for a Carey
family that had settled in Troy NY in 1854, a
broad smile lit his face. Some of his own family
had emigrated to Troy! Des obviously had a great
enthusiasm for family history and was determined
to learn all that he could about the families
that left Emly for Troy. Here I was, a native
Trojan, who dropped into town unannounced looking
for a connection to Emly. We shared stories and
twice Des walked back to his home to retrieve
books on Emly and its environs that he thought
might help me in my ancestral search. We parted a
few hours later with a promise that I would continue
to explore the connections between Emly and Troy.
I have not been able
to prove that the Carey folks buried in the graveyard
in Emly were related to my ancestors who settled
in Troy. But my visit to Emly had heartfelt rewards.
I had been treated like one of its own and I
am deeply grateful for the welcome extended to
me. It is my pleasure to submit the following
information in memory of the late Des Mulhall.
His infectious enthusiasm and kind, generous
spirit will never be forgotten.
* With special
to Seamus Rochford P.P, Jim Baker and Janet