Skip to content

Tread Softly Because You Tread On My Dreams

November 29, 2010

Buildings in Donegal

Ireland is on the verge of bankruptcy and we are here anyway, on the coldest, snowiest November day in 40 years. Two inches of snow and the drivers are panicked, slowing to a crawl. The drivers proceed with the utmost caution which is surprising considering fully half the drivers on the road (mostly young, drunk men, we are told) are unlicensed and uninsured. Also surprising since the leading cause of death of men in Ireland ages 18-25 is suicide. You would think they would be driving with reckless abandon in these conditions.

We wake up to a winter wonderland at Woodhill House, Ardara

We are here in search of my maternal grandfather’s family, which may prove to be a little difficult to find since my ancestors left Ballyshannon in County Donegal in the late 1700s. We visit the Friar’s historical museum in the nearby monastery and on the wall hangs a map with all the popular local names. I ask proudly about “Corscadden” ; it is not on the family name map, but an eavesdropper hears me ask and tells me they have lived on Cashel Ard for centuries– a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of town that means “High Rock”. We are sent to the Dorian’s Imperial Hotel where the eight Dorian brothers and sisters, all over 70, are sure to know the family.

County Donegal Sheep. Each family paints their sheep a different color.

The eldest Dorian sister, the hotel receptionist, is a bossy, little sprite of a woman in a long tweed skirt and cable-knit sweater. She knows the first cousin of one of the Corscaddens, and after an urgent, whispered conference with her brother who appears to be the hotel plumber and suspicious glances back at us over her shoulder, she sends us off to the pub in Cashel Ard.

Cashel Ard Travelers Rest Hitching Post Country Pub, since 1850

Over the course of two pints of Guiness and a frozen pizza, we have located the remains of the Corsaddens. One of our bar mates was a neighbor of Hazel Corscadden, and a James Corscadden still lives right around the corner, who bears a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. Hazel, it turns out, was the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s mother, and it is politicians like Tony, according to most, who drove the country to this financial cliff.

We meekly finish our pints and head out into the night, preferring to share the road with drunken, suicidal maniacs than to share more beer in the cozy pub with drunken, raging tax payers.

Heading south from Ballyshannon to Galway, we come across the church and graveyard of Yeats. These graves are beside theirs.

He Wished for the Cloths of Heaven

“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…” William Butler Yeats

 

The grave of WB Yeats and his wife, George, on the outskirts of Ballyshannon. I wonder if they knew the Corscaddens?

 

 

Advertisements
6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 8:49 am

    I’ve been meaning to ask if you’ve been researching your mom’s side of the family, too. Can’t wait to hear more!

  2. Stan permalink
    November 29, 2010 10:17 am

    I wouldn’t mention Hazel too often…..
    Enjoy the west coast and try to get to that bookstore in Limerick…..:) and don’t try to cross Connor’s Pass in that weather…

  3. Carole permalink
    November 29, 2010 3:30 pm

    How fascinating. That Yeats quote is among my favorites.

  4. steve cameron permalink
    November 14, 2012 4:31 pm

    cascadden from ballyshannon…. found family of same name in mif 1830s southwest of quebec city (arthur & james)…. james was around until 1880s before leaving…. any connection of interest, pls advise. regards, steve tirnanogsa@gmail.com

  5. Keith Carscadden (formerly Corscadden) permalink
    July 8, 2013 12:03 am

    I was in Cashelard this past June and visited the Travellers Rest Country Pub at Cashelard and an old Corscadden farm nearby where Tony Blair has visited. My g.g.g. grandfather, Thomas Corscadden, emigrated from this area to Canada around 1840 and my cousins and I went to Ireland to see if we could find out more about him. We did not realize that a James Corscadden lives near Travellers Rest and it would have been interesting to talk to him. Thomas Corscadden was born in 1783 in Co. Donegal and died in the Ottawa area (Ontario, Canada) in 1872. His children’s names were Mary, Arthur (1811-1890), Andrew (died in 1892 or 1902), Margaret, Jane (1839-1899), Alice (born around 1870), Catherine (1833-1893) and Anna (1834-1890). If anyone reading this knows anything about the Corscadden immigration to Canada, e.g. name of ship, port sailed from, etc., I would appreciate very much hearing from you. Also we would like to know which Corscaddens lived at the old farm we visited. Thank you so much!

  6. Keith Carscadden permalink
    October 14, 2016 10:28 pm

    I was in Cashelard this past June and visited the Travellers Rest Country Pub at Cashelard and an old Corscadden farm nearby where Tony Blair has visited. My g.g.g. grandfather, Thomas Corscadden, emigrated from this area to Canada around 1840 and my cousins and I went to Ireland to see if we could find out more about him. We did not realize that a James Corscadden lives near Travellers Rest and it would have been interesting to talk to him. Thomas Corscadden was born in 1783 in Co. Donegal and died in the Ottawa area (Ontario, Canada) in 1872. His children’s names were Mary, Arthur (1811-1890), Andrew (died in 1892 or 1902), Margaret, Jane (1839-1899), Alice (born around 1870), Catherine (1833-1893) and Anna (1834-1890). If anyone reading this knows anything about the Corscadden immigration to Canada, e.g. name of ship, port sailed from, etc., I would appreciate very much hearing from you. Also we would like to know which Corscaddens lived at the old farm we visited. Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: