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Emly, County Tipperary, Ireland
and its Connections to Troy, NY

A Visit to Emly

By Lynn Carey Grice, June 2005

I first learned of the village of Emly in Co. Tipperary, Ireland in May 2001. A friend of a cousin told me about a tombstone inscription in the Emly graveyard that referred to my Carey surname and mentioned Troy NY. The timing was perfect since I had plans to travel to Ireland later that month. All that was needed was a minor adjustment to my itinerary and I was soon off on another ancestor hunt. Little did I know at the time of the connection between Troy and Emly.

As one approaches St. Ailbe’s Church in Emly, your eyes are drawn to the granite Emigrant Wall that stands outside the adjacent graveyard. Erected in August 2000 in memory of those who had emigrated from their home in Emly to places far away, it is a simple yet elegant tribute. It was surprising to read the names and learn how many of the people honored had settled in Troy NY.

he response to my knock on the door of the Parish Priest could not have been more welcoming. Father Seamus Rochford spent several hours telling me about the history of the parish, pouring over baptismal records from the 1830s and helping me to locate the tombstone I had come to see. The damp Irish climate encourages the growth of moss and lichens on limestone tombstones but, through Father Rochford’s cleaning efforts, the inscription was slowly revealed.

l could not have been more thrilled.

The following morning, an older gentleman approached as my husband and I ate breakfast in the dining room of the Golden Thatch Inn where we were staying. “Are you the folks looking for their people?” he asked and introduced himself as Des Mulhall, the father of the inn’s proprietor. When I explained that I was searching for a Carey family that had settled in Troy NY in 1854, a broad smile lit his face. Some of his own family had emigrated to Troy! Des obviously had a great enthusiasm for family history and was determined to learn all that he could about the families that left Emly for Troy. Here I was, a native Trojan, who dropped into town unannounced looking for a connection to Emly. We shared stories and twice Des walked back to his home to retrieve books on Emly and its environs that he thought might help me in my ancestral search. We parted a few hours later with a promise that I would continue to explore the connections between Emly and Troy.

I have not been able to prove that the Carey folks buried in the graveyard in Emly were related to my ancestors who settled in Troy. But my visit to Emly had heartfelt rewards. I had been treated like one of its own and I am deeply grateful for the welcome extended to me. It is my pleasure to submit the following information in memory of the late Des Mulhall. His infectious enthusiasm and kind, generous spirit will never be forgotten.

*  With special thanks to Seamus Rochford P.P, Jim Baker and Janet Crawford


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