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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

Monday, February 5, 2018

Cork and the Butter Museum

We did diverge a bit from just visiting family townlands on our trip to Ireland last September.

We spent a few days in Cork exploring such things as the  English Market and the Butter Museum.

I didn't know there was so much to know about butter, but the cute little museum was really fascinating.  We learned about the butter trade, the Butter Exchange and saw the 1000 year firkin of  bog butter.

IMG_7941.JPGFrom the butter museum we wended our way back down to the river and on to the English Market,
Irelands most famous covered Market.

 It was an interesting mix of local and exotic foods.  William sought blood sausage, but only found blood pudding, not the same as he remembered from an earlier trip to Ireland.  I have to say I think the market in Philadelphia was more impressive.

The city is situated on the River Lee which splits into two channels at the western end and divides the city centre into islands. They reconverge at the eastern end where the quays and docks along the river banks lead outwards towards Lough Mahon and Cork Harbour, which is one of the largest natural harbours in the world by navigational area.[Wikipedia]

The city's charter dates back to 1185, but the city itself dates at least a few centuries earlier.  Purportedly founded as a monestary by St. Finbarr in the sixth century it was expanded by the Vikings as a trading post in the 10th century.

Today, new and old are interwoven throughout the city.

More Pictures

Monday, January 22, 2018

1977 - Tim & Denise

One of the family gatherings that I didn't make was the wedding of Tim and Denise. 
But the rest of the family was there, although it is hard to prove it  
from the pictures I have. I found Sean, Maura, and Erich.  There was one picture of Pat that was so bad I didn't dare put it...and no Mom or Dad to be found.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kilconnell Abbey (Cill Chonaill)

Figuring out how to get to the ruins of Kilconnell Abbey took us a bit of contemplation and further consultation at the local pub. Between the buildings and through the fields?  Through the gardens and by the sheep?  That turned out to be the easiest way. A well maintained path took us to the Abbey where we thoroughly examined the seemingly locked gate before realizing we just had to open it!

Located in Kilconnell, a small rural village, in County Galway, the Franciscan Abbey was founded in 1353 by William Bui O'Kelly, Lord of Uí Maine.  It was renovated by his grandson, William Mór O'Kelly in the early fifteenth century.  William Mór died in 1420 and is buried in the friary.  It is a major burial place for the O'Kelly Sept.

Although it lacks a roof (some sources state it was deroofed by Cromwellian soldiers, others that it was abandoned by the Franciscans as vocations fell) it is amazingly intact considering it has been unoccupied for hundreds of years.

As we continue to explore our Kelly heritage, it is exciting to know that is was our ancestors that built some of these wonderful ruins.  As I wandered through this and others, I did think that I probably like them best in this "ruin" form.  With roofs they would have been dark and cold.  Open to the air with sunlight...well daylight anyway.. pouring through they are places of great beauty and wonder.

More Pictures

Read more on the history of Kilconnell

Kilconnell - Monastic Ireland - History, a tour of the site, footprint....wish I had found this site before we visited!
History of Kilcennell Abbey - Schools Collection  - dú
The Irish Aesthete - Where there is Darkness Light
Ireland in Ruins
Kilconnell - Wikipedia