Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tombstones in Templenoe, Ireland

Cousin Kelly is the most Irish of all my family members; well, at least amongst all the family AncestryDNA results I manage. She comes in at a whopping 75% Irish. So I was a little disappointed that she was not able to accompany Cousin Pete and I on our recent trip to Ireland. 

However, I researched her maternal line, as well as our shared line, as much as I could before making the trip. It wasn't really a research trip. Cousin Peter and I did not plan on spending hours in cemeteries or archives, we didn't contact any research facilities in advance of our travels, etc. We simply planned to drive through the areas we knew our Irish ancestors were from. If we saw a church or cemetery, maybe we'd poke around to see if there were any surnames we identify with among the stones. So I jotted down that Cousin Kelly's great-great grandfather was baptized in Templenoe; a town on the Ring of Kerry. 

The Ring of Kerry is a highly traveled route by tourists; which means there are an awful lot of tour buses along it. Driving in Ireland was very stressful for this American driver who has been back and forth across the U.S. several times. In Ireland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, drivers sit in the right front seat and they drive on the left side of the road. Every time I got in the car - I mean EVERY time without fail - I reached over my left shoulder to grab a seat belt that wasn't there. I just could not get used to being on the other side of the car and the other side of the road but I digress. 

While on the Ring of Kerry, we did note when we reached the town of Templenoe. In fact, as soon as we entered town I saw a sign pointing to the "Old Templenoe Cemetery." Cousin Peter and I figured, "ah, what the heck? Let's go look around."

It is a relatively small cemetery right on the water. Beautiful. With big old Celtic cross markers, all carved up with intricate Celtic knot patterns. Beautiful. And right smack dab in the middle there is a ruins of a church built around 1450 - you know, just like 40 years or so before Columbus reached the Western Hemisphere. 

Photo by John (Paul) Hallissey taken from
Cousin Peter and I got out and trampled about the cemetery, apologizing to the graves below. "Sorry. Pardone me. Excuse me. So sorry." Until we got all the way around and saw the gravesite of the Morley Family.

The Morley Family Plot
 Daniel Morley is Cousin Kelly's great-great grandfather. It seems to me as though the first burial in the plot was for Cousin Kelly's great-great grandmother; Abbey Meara-Morley who died in July 1885 at the age of 40. I suspect she dies in childbirth or shortly there after but have not been able to confirm that. I just see that she had a child the same year that she died. I also suspect that her maiden name was actually O'Meara and that she is the daughter of Timothy O'Meara and Julia Fogarty-O'Meara. I am still working on sorting out this family but it seems to me they want to be found.

You see, it never happens like this. I never by chance happen upon a cemetery and just wander up onto the right grave marker. I mean, more often then not I seek out a cemetery. I obtain all the possible information that I can in advance of my visit. I traipse up and down rows and rows of headstones to find no headstone at all. But here they are. And with a stone that reveals details I did not have before and a plot that groups together family members I would have otherwise have been unsure were connected.

I am convinced some ancestors just want to be found.


  1. This is the Best. You are right again. Some Ancestors want to be found. This was so quick and quite surprising the way you found this. And what a great old cemetery.

  2. This is so amazing! Thank you for sharing!
    - Melissa Morley Amour

  3. Abigail O'Meara Morley is my 2nd great aunt. My great grandfather, Morgan J. O'Meara, was her younger brother, and Timothy & Julia (Fogarty) O'Meara are my great great grandparents. I would certainly be interested in any information on Timothy & Julia's parents and working back from there, as I haven't been able to find anything. As to O'Meara or Meara, it seems that some of the Templenoe group dropped the O or used it intermittently.

    1. Hi, Edward. I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner. I have been trying to find more information on Timothy & Julia but I too am at a brick wall. Are you on Ancestry? Have you done and AncestryDNA test? I'm curious if you match to my cousins.

    2. Hi April! I'm Edward's sister, Jane. I did Ancestry DNA and match with many of the O'Meara's that descended from TImothy & Julia.

    3. Hi, Jane. I am sure you must match my cousins who also did AncestryDNA. Do you see Drews or Hutes in your matches?

  4. Sorry for the long delay! I am on Ancestry under the username CTE411, and my tree is called FAMILY~1. I haven't yet done the Ancestry DNA, but I have done 23 and Me. (I want to do the Ancestry too and compare results.) On 23 and Me I have three 3rd cousins named Morley, all are siblings.