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Monday, May 21, 2018


On 12 Jul 1691 the Jacobite Irish Army and the forces of William III met in battle near the town of Aughrim in County Galway.  Over 7000 people were killed and Jacobitism was virtually crushed, although the city of Limerick held out for a few more months.

There are many websites devoted to the history of the battle and the events leading up to them, it is not my intention to try to recreate them.  How many of our ancestors were at this battle is unknown at this time.  There were definitely Maguires connected to Greg's family and Kelly's connected to ours.  But to date no others have been identified.

The Battle of Aughrim Interpretive center was not opened when we visited in September, however, it is possible to drive around the entire battlefield. Signs in various positions describe the battle from that angle.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Family Gatherings - 2014

Sun River (2)

Maura takes over as Matriarch of the family!! Alexis travels alone with Grammy and Grandpa as Mom and Dad stay home anticipating the arrival of Nicholas.  Dani, Remele and Lexi have great fun running around together as all the big kids and adults take off for fun stuff such as rafting.  

More Pictures

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cath's Tales: Almonds, Almonds and More Almonds

Can one wish oneself ill?  For many years I’ve wondered about that day.  The task was given, everyone must hull ALMONDS until they were done and then we would all go out to dinner.  Now going “out” to dinner was a rarity in our family of eight, so no one took the thought of the treat lightly.

But what a hated task this was.  Knocking and picking up nuts on our 100 tree property could be tedious enough but hulling was misery itself.  The stickies had hard green covers that had to be pried from the shells and even the “non-stickies” would leave a person with sore, green stained hands.  

About an hour into the job, my face started swelling, my eyes were watering ferociously.  Allergies, you say.  But I had not been prone to allergies and prided myself on the fact I was never sick, at least not since I had my tonsils out (but that’s a different story) After another half hour my eyes were sticking shut and as no one could ignore the swelling I was sent off to rest.

Certain that I was destined to stay home alone while the family went off to dinner unless I managed to get out and help more, I worried myself into a deep sleep.  When I woke the swelling was gone.  I rushed out determined to get back to work and earn that dinner, only to find hours had passed.  Dusk was falling and everyone was coming in to clean up for dinner.  Sure I was out of luck, I slunk back to my bed and lay there in despair.

Although most of my life crisises culminated in help from Dad, this time it was Mom I remember sitting quietly down on the bed and asking if I felt good enough to go to dinner.  Well, my silent sobs had caused some new swelling and red eyes, but I instantly replied, "Yes, but how can I?  I didn’t help."

It turned out that my Never Being Sick, was a good thing, it wasn’t likely I was pretending.  I’m not sure my siblings bought it though, I remember a few dark looks.  I don’t even remember where we went to dinner (was it the Nut Tree? Most likely.) or what I had, but I surely remember the day.


  • We did not hull all the almonds, usually there were one or two gunny sacks full that were held back for our own use and for christmas gifts for relatives.  The rest of the nuts were either sold unhulled or taken to hullers and sold after.  I remember trips to Chico and other places with a trailer load of almonds.
  • Although the family seldom went to dinner and I'm sure there were good restaurants in Sacramento, the Nut Tree which was about an hour drive away was a family favorite. Besides the Sacramento Inn, where we went for special occasion breakfasts (first communion, etc) and Sambos where we went on many Sunday mornings after church (each of us usually responsible for our own breakfast with money saved from allowance, special chores, and outside jobs) I don't remember going out.  
  • Growing up on a small almond orchard had advantages, land to run around on, trees to hide behind or climb, the beauty of the trees in bloom, the coolness of the canopy even on hot Sacramento County summer days, and the interesting treat of not quite ripe nuts to munch on.  There was also the disadvantage, the months of nut related chores.  Given a choice, something young children of course don't have, I would pick the chores and the freedom of that land any day.  Even at the time it seemed such a special place that the chores, though worth complaining about on occasion, were not enough to dampen the advantages.
  • This is the first of Cath's Tales.  I realized I will never write my memoirs.  I'm much better at telling the tales of ancestors than telling my own.  Yet, I also realize that I wish with all my soul that my ancestors had told their tales themselves.  So for my grandchildren and their descendants I will leave these occasional tales of the wonderful life I have lived.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Wedding Story

Jim and Jean met at a Eucharistic Congress in 1941. They hit it off right away because neither one was into the silliness that often accompanied meetings of teenagers.  

That first meeting was on the banks of the Mississippi.  Four years later, on 27 Oct 1945, they were engaged again on the banks of the Mississippi.  The engagement was announced on November 8.  At the time the Maddens had moved from Duluth to St. Paul and were living on Cretin Street. There were a number of luncheons and a shower was hosted by Jim's Aunt Helen.


The Bridal Dinner was held at the Minneapolis Auto Club.  

The reception after the wedding which was officiated by Rev. Joseph A Corrigan at St. Mark's Church was held at the Dehn's house.

Jim and Jean honeymooned  at Trout Lake, MI. The owner of the lodge was Phil DeGraph. None of the guests at the lodge knew, or at least they never let on if they guessed, that Mom and Dad were on their honeymoon. While there the guests made a model of the lodge for Phil, whom both Dad and Mom remember fondly.

After the wedding they returned to Notre Dame, where Jim was pursuing his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  

The Wedding & Honeymoon Photos

Monday, March 26, 2018

Family Gatherings - 1987

40th Anniversary

I know I went famililess to this surprise party for Mom and Dad's 40th anniversary in Gig Harbor.  I don't remember who all was there but I'm guessing Maura was also on her own...and Sean and Pat were still single.  

Memories or pictures anyone??

More Pictures

Monday, March 12, 2018


Not every stop on our Irish journey was a visit to an ancestral townland.  One night was spent in the town of Kilkenny.  We visited St. Mary's Medevial Mile Museum, with it's centuries old tombstones and burial vaults.  It was a wonderful example of melding new renovation with old architecture.  One of the highlights is the original corporation book for the town.

We walked through the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and spent a little time checking out the local artists wares.    Across the River Nore we had dinner in Matt the Millers Bar and Restaurant, where we enjoyed the local music.

A visit to Nicholas Mosse Pottery in Bennettsbridge, and the subsequent lightening of our pockets, was also part of the itinerary.



Monday, February 19, 2018


Castleisland (Oileán Ciarraí), home of William's Donovans in Co Kerry, got its name from a castle built in 1226 by Geoffrey Maurice (de Marisco) the Lord Justice of Ireland during the reign of King Henry III. The "island" was created by turning the waters of the River Maine into a moat around the castle.

By 1345 it was in the hands of Sir Eustace de la Poer, who with other knights was holding it for the Earl of Desmond.  It was captured by Sir Ralph Ufford, then Lord Justice of Ireland that year and those holding it were put to death.  Today little remains of the castle.

 William's Donovans were in Castleisland at least by 1800.  In 1849 the town tenant book show that John Donovan was a tenant of Richard Meredith, Esq.  The tenancy for the house and garden at #4 Barrack Street dated to 1800 and the rent was "free".

John was about ten in 1800, so it seems likely that the original "free" tenant was his father, although he might have taken over the tenancy of someone else.  John worked for Ordnance Survey, perhaps his father did too?  Obviously there is more  work to be done.

Sitting right next to the tombstone of Williams g.grandparents, Michael and Ellen (Linehan) Donovan is a Shanahan Crypt.  Perhaps this is the family of his g.g grandmother Mary Shanahan, the wife of John Donovan. - Castleisland - Castleisland
Donovan Dropbox File