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12 August 2010

ANCESTRAL SPIRITS

                                              
     This posting is not about the Jameson or Bushmills type of spirits--so off you go to a pub if it's whiskey you are seeking.
Co. Derry
     I am writing about those ancestors who hang around long after they are gone, the ones that go BUMP and BOO in the night. Those type of spirits!
     Does your family have any stories of ancestral ghosts? I have heard from a few family history researchers whose families have passed down stories of ghosts and hauntings. Chances are, if your ancestors lived in a castle or large estate house, there might be a tales of the supernatural for you to "dig up" along with your genealogical research. But hauntings are not confined to the rich and famous.Rural Ireland is replete with ghosts--some of whom might share your surname.
     There are tales of local hauntings all around Ireland. You can find these stories many ways. I have seen reports of spirit sightings in local Irish newspapers from the 1800's.  Search the internet for tales of the supernatural in Ireland. When you go to Ireland, book a local "ghost" tour. These tours are springing up all over the country, particularly in the cities. Cork City has its own Irish Ghost Family Festival each September. Don't forget to search local libraries and book shops for tales of local lore. Ask locals if they know of any hauntings nearby.
Co. Kilkenny
     There are other Irish spirits that are genealogical in nature--the banshees. A banshee, (bean-sidhe), is an ancestral female spirit who forewarns members of ancient Irish families of the impending death of a family member. Some legends claim that a banshee appears only to members of the O'Grady, O'Neill, O'Brien, O'Connor, and Kavanagh families, others add many old Irish families such as the O'Leary's and the O'Toole's. Does your family have its own bean-sidhe?
     A particularly scary banshee is featured in the Disney movie, Darby O'Gill and the Little People. (Thanks to fellow Castlecomer researcher Jack for remembering the name of the movie. I had forgotten it, maybe because I had my frightened eyes closed during the banshee scene!).
     Don't wait for Halloween--begin your search for your family spirits with the links below. Post any family ghost stories, also.
LINKS
Darby O'Gill and the Little People