For this was post-famine Ireland. And Mary-Ann was setting out for the United States - not knowing what lay far beyond the treacherous Atlantic seas and her home - the little quaintly named village of Hospital, in County Limerick.
But Mary Ann did arrive and by all accounts flourished, marrying another young Irish emigrant, Patrick Clancy. Her brother Michael stayed behind to eventually take over the running of the family farm.
Back to the Future
Wind the clock forward one and half centuries to 2017, and Michael Ryans descendant of the same name, can be found still farming the Co. Limerick homestead, and what of those of Mary-Ann? Well, we cant vouch for all of them, but here we can tell you how her great-granddaughter, Nancy Barnett, made the journey in the opposite direction (in somewhat more comfort), following a path first taken by her journalist grandfather in the 1950's and continued in the 1980's by her mother and siblings.
Vagabond recently had the pleasure of hosting Nancy, her husband George Taylor, his son Sasha and their friends Ann and Geoff Woolford on a 12 day private Vagabond Tour. After a week of guide Tim bringing them up through Northern Ireland and hiking them down the west coast, sure what better to do than drop in for Sunday dinner to the cousins!
To work up an appetite, Michael brought them to the very site where Mary-Ann had been born and spent her formative years. Nancy also got the opportunity to pay her respects at the grave of her great-great grandmother, Lizzy, the woman from the start of our little story.
As you can see, George and Sasha werent left on the sidelines, having a little pre-dinner appetiser of Irish (is there any other type?) whiskey and pitn - if you want to know more about pitn youll have to come on a Vagabond or Driftwood tour!
And with true Irish hospitality, the Ryans also opened their hearts and door to VagaGuide extraordinaire Tim, and invited him to dinner also. Mind you, had they done their research by viewing his profile on the guides page of their website, it would have given them an inkling of how much food his 6 4 frame is capable of consuming!
We are truly grateful to Nancy, her family and friends for choosing Vagabond and allowing us to play a small part in her reaching out to her heritage, and to help her and George bring mementos of their visit back to her 90yr old mother Stateside. George took some of the most amazing photos on tour that weve ever seen.
We hope Nancy and her intrepid travel companions have brought home with them why, at Vagabond we say : We want you to love Ireland as much as we do.
Nancy's husband George Taylor took some amazing photos of their tour. A sample of which you can view here.