Castle Keep

A keep is a tower used as a dungeon or fortress. Nenagh Castle keep is what is left of many towers that were part of the original castle built in 1216 by Baron Butler. He was given this land by the King of England, who was a Norman king. The castle was built in O’Kennedy territory, John F. Kennedy’s ancestors.

I have been doing a little research on a part of Tipperary, Ireland which was the last known residence of a cousin and the supposed birthplace of my paternal grandparents. The address for the cousin was Ballinamoe New Town Nenagh Tipperary. I couldn’t understand all the names in the address.  Turns out it breaks down to Ballinamoe as townland,  Newtown is a hamlet, part of the barony of Owney and Arra, the civil parish of Youghalarra, Nenagh is the largest town, in the county of Tipperary, in the Provence of Munster. Reading some of the history of baronies and all these other designations has been mind-boggling. Nenagh Castle is a historic site in Tipperary. I once read that my father’s surname Barry was Norman, which now makes sense if this was once Norman territory.

So enough with the history and geography for now and I only skimmed the surface. It has been disheartening to try to trace my father’s family in Ireland. There is no record online of my grandfather’s birth. There was one entry for someone with a similar name to my grandmother but no way for me to verify it was her. The dearth of information could be because some church records have not been digitalized, the Irish revolution that occurred in 1919-1921, and a fire during the Battle of Dublin resulted in archives being lost. Many records may still be in churches, and the only way to find them is to go there. The history of my father’s family in California is easier to trace although I did not find anything about his Uncle Joe and descendants.  I can research newspaper archives in Ireland, but I have to pay a subscription of 30 (pounds) a month, currently $42.45 US. I can pay someone to the do the research for me and that sounds even more expensive. The most recent Irish census information available is from 1911. In that census I did find a name of a girl who could be my cousin but how to verify it? and that person had sisters. I had a letter from my paternal aunt (now deceased) who gave me some names and birthdates. She told me my grandfather had brothers and my grandmother had 3 sisters and one brother. My grandparents emigrated to the US with their baby son in 1902. They lived through the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. My aunt corresponded with the cousin in Ballinamoe. She indicated the family in Ireland probably died out with that cousin but not sure. Two of my paternal grandmother’s sisters emigrated to Canada. Haven’t started looking for them yet.

My mother’s parents came from Canada. My maternal grandmother was born in Scotland. I found a record of my maternal grandparent’s marriage in Nova Scotia and possibly my maternal grandfather’s family of origin. My mother and her sister lost touch with these relatives. It is sad to think about all these people who have disappeared without a trace. It feels like I have lost part of my family all over again.

We should keep more than our towers.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The “Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “picture.” Write about, or theme your post on the first picture you see when you sit down to start writing. You don’t need to describe the picture necessarily–you can even put yourself in it if you’re not already there.”

Featured image of Nenagh Castle by Regina Hill via

Rainy Day Rabbit

I have mentioned my backyard visitor before and how hard it is to capture him/her with my cell phone camera. Usually, it spots me at the window and hops off. But today I was able to get several pretty good photos of the little guy. We had steady rain this morning for over two hours at least, which is great for us in my section of Southern California. I spotted the rabbit taking shelter from the rain under one of our succulent plants. Then after the rain stopped, it came out and munched on the assorted ground cover for a bit. I have seen it hop about 2 feet up to a retaining wall in the yard, but today I have photographic evidence of this ability.

The Green

via Missouri History Museum

Saturday, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day and there is a tradition here in the US to wear a bit of the green to denote you are Irish, in spirit at least. I tell myself I should learn more about my Irish roots. My father’s family came from Tipperary but we were never in contact with anyone from there, except my paternal aunt corresponded with a cousin but my aunt is deceased, and I am sure the cousin is too. There could be some descendants there. I tried looking up the town on a map of Ireland and could not find it. It might have been my aunt’s penmanship or mis-spelling. She had Ballinamoe, New Town Nenagh, Tipperary as the address of the cousin. Any advice on how to find family in Ireland? Then there’s my mother’s family who came from Canada….

Let’s have a glass of Guinness with Dervish performing ‘Swallow’s Tail’ on You Tube:


The Irish language is very interesting and hard for me to pronounce. It is possible my ancestors spoke Gaelic.

I have heard it is good for our brains to learn a new language. So I was interested in an opportunity I found on Twitter. I can learn Klingon for free. Sounds like fun, but I hope they have an audio part because I am not sure how to pronounce it. It’s quite a tongue twister. Might be easier to learn Gaelic. Learn Irish on duoLingo.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is ‘green.’ Dancing shamrocks from Google on


Devoted Pet



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Are you finished packing?

Not yet. There is so much to consider, a lifetime.

You won’t need that much because everything will be provided for you.

It’s just hard to leave everything, so many memories.

I can’t leave without you. You mean so much to me.

I am grateful to you for that. You know I love you too.

We do not have much time left.

I will try to hurry. Explain to me again, why we need to leave.

You know why. I have told you many times.

Yes, but tell me again. It will help me to get ready.

The atmosphere here has passed the tipping point. Soon, it will not support life.

I believe what you have told me but how can I leave the only home I have ever known?

All of your family is gone. You have nothing left here.

Are you sure your culture will accept me?

Our race has existed here for almost 10 millennia. We have been observing and learning about you for all that time. We have to board the transport soon.

I can’t call you Fluffy anymore. I must get used to calling you by your true name, Bastet.

This post is for Week #11-2018 Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner hosted by Roger Shipp.

Word count: 200





Adventures In Dining



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I’d like the burger with fries.

Sounds good. What kind of fries do you want? We’ve got shoe string, steak cut, chili cheese, garlic, sweet potato, blue cheese, and portobello.

That’s a lot of choices. How does anyone make up their mind?

It depends if you’re traditional or adventurous.

I’m feeling adventurous. I had a terrible day at work, and my boss is an unimaginative jerk. What’s the most adventurous thing on your menu?

That would be the Godzilla.

I’ll give that a shot.

A busboy clearing off the leftovers remarked, “That Godzilla is such a messy eater.”


This micro-fiction is for Week #10-2018  Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner hosted by Roger Shipp. Click on the link if you want to join in.

Word count: 98

Let’s celebrate!

So Far

From her 1971 Tapestry album, Carol King turned 76 this February. The year 1971 was when I started Nursing School at UCSF.  Seems far away now. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” Then sometimes it seems like yesterday.  Now the lyrics make me think of my daughter who lives in Northern California. I look forward to seeing her face at my door soon.

20151010_131409  A Beautiful Butterfly

Beautiful Daughter


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is ‘so far.’