Where in Ireland are your Boylan roots?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


My personal journey to find where my ancestors left during the Potato Famine ended in a place called Dromin in County Louth (or so I thought). According to a priest from the local parish it is now a very small but fairly well to do farming community with one pub and one church.

To the right is a drawing of the town center by a local artist that is on the cover of a pamphlet done by the Dromin National School Heritage Committee. The booklet is entitled "A Heritage of Dromin: Land of St. Finian's Monastic Settlement and Where Churches Were Built 'Between Two Showers of Rain.' It details much of the history of this small town from the monastic period to the post-famine era.

Interesting Dromin Tidbits:
  • It was in a Dromin monastary that St. Finian and St. Columba had their falling out which led to St. Columba's exit from Ireland.
  • The Church tower was added in 1847 - the year of the Famine. The booklet states "despite the exactions of the Famine, Dromin Parishioners were asked by their priest Father Thomas McGee, to contribute the funds necessary for the erection of the tower. In this respect, their efforts in erecting the church tower must stand as a monument to the faith of the Catholic People of Dromin, who gave generously despite their impovershed circumstances caused by the failure of the potato crop."
  • The immigration schemes of Vere Foster brought many of Dromin's residents to America. Foster spent all of his family's money exporting Irish women (who were more employable than men) to the US for work. The girls would then send money back to their families, typically so another family member could afford passage to America and so on. My ancestors rented Foster family land during the famine leading me to wonder if my g-g-g grandfather's sister's came as part of Vere Foster's scheme. The women Foster guided to the US generally had better transportation than the typical Irish immigrant, were set up with jobs, and were left under the care of a local American priest. Foster and his girls once even stayed with a country lawyer in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, during their US travels.

This booklet has been so helpful in giving my immigrants' stories context. There is not much on the Internet about this little village so I hope this information helps someone else researching their Dromin roots.

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