My grandparents, Michael and Bridget (Griffin) Gaynor emigrated from Ballyheigue, County Kerry, Ireland to the United States in the late 1800’s.They settled in the Irish Southside Chicago neighborhood of Canaryville, where my grandfather drove a cattle wagon for the Chicago Stockyards.
They raised seven children (Margaret, Patrick, Mary, Catherine, Cecilia, Helen and Honora) with a strong faith in God, love of their church (St. Gabriel’s) and a deep pride in their Irish roots. Unfortunately, my grandparents passed away when I was very young, so I was denied the opportunity of learning firsthand about their childhood life in Ireland.
However, in 2006 my husband and I traveled to Ireland and I was able to experience the beauty of southern Ireland especially Ballyheigue and the kindness and hospitality of the Irish people.
I was thrilled to find out that the Government of Ireland was offering me the opportunity to acknowledge my grandparents and my Irish ancestry with the Certificate of Irish Heritage. It hangs in a prominent place in my home, where it continues to remind my children and grandchildren, they are descendants of a strong, proud people.
Thank you for bringing my ancestral home closer to my home.
Sharon Ann Kopulos, Roselle, Illinois