When what you thought was true isn’t

I’m a kiwi, born and bred in New Zealand. My dad’s mother’s family is Irish.  On my mum’s side there’s also an Irish connection. We are Ati hau, Ngati Rangi, Tuwharetoa… (Maori tribes)  born and bred in the area where my mum still lives. The Irish connection is that my mum’s great-grandfather came from Ireland.

I am about to go to the emerald isle so I’m checking out where the family connections are, I guess you could call it pilgrimage, not that I’m planning on being very pilgram-y, but I want to check out where the family were from.

I’ve heard my parents talk about Ireland since… forever, but I’ve not really paid attention to the detail of that. When they talk about Irish ancestry, I assume ‘Republic of Ireland’ ancestry. So today when I’m googling I come across County Antrim, that’s a place mum has spoken of often. It’s in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland!

Dunluce Castle from ireland.com

So after my head has exploded and I’ve googled all the names I can remember mum talking about, and I’ve emailed my aunt who knows everything about the family history, it turns out that when I thought I had Republic of Ireland ancestry, with St Patrick and his snake banishing wand (actually I live in Australia now, where do I get one of those) and kiss the blarney stone Irish ancestry, it turns out to be only half true. There’s also the Northern Ireland connection. (Paddy probably rid the snakes there as well, but I don’t want to interrupt the story)

This is a complete surprise to me, and some might say a good example of why you should pay more attention when your parents are talking. You would have thought the fact that my mum is actually protestant would have triggered something… but nope, I just didn’t take enough of an interest.

Today I’m learning that my great grandmother’s grandfather was the bastard child of the Earl of Antrim… It’s all very Game of Thrones, which coincidentally has loads of film locations in Northern Ireland. (My other aunt prefers ‘love child’ and I would normally use ‘illegitimate’, but that doesn’t go well with the GoT reference)

The Dark Hedges you may have seen in Game of Thrones. From ireland.com

You could say the ancestral pilgrimage is having effect already, and I haven’t even left.


The photos are from nationaltrust.org.uk or ireland.com.  All three have made my list of must see places.  The videos are from ireland.com.  How AMAZING does this place look?


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