Saturday, 18 June 2016

Where Am I From?

Where Do I Come From?
Exploring My Roots

Hmmm... Where does it all begin?? To be quite honest, I am quite familiar with my roots. I come from just two sets of roots... Irish and Italian. Today I am focusing on the "Luck of the Irish"...
Faithful Place picture
My roots travel from Dublin, Ireland all the way to Brampton, Ontario and now, of course, Orangeville, Ontario. For this project, I am starting with my great grandparents and their life in Ireland. The reason that I am starting with my great grandparents is that I don't have access to any information before then either through interviews or online. My great grandmother was named Rosanna Rooney, and she was married to Patrick Mulvany (interview Carolan. They were both born in Dublin, Ireland in the year 1896. Rosanna was born in January and Patrick was born in December, so Rosanna was almost a year older than him. They had the first of their seven kids in 1917 named Patrick Junior. Next was Sean in 1921, then Sheila in 1925, after that Rosaleen in 1929, Mary in 1932, Pauline in1934 and lastly Sadie in 1937  (interview McDermott).

 What stands out to me is the amount of children that my great-grandparents had in these times. The reason that this is shocking is that during the 1900's Dublin was a city filled with poverty and it's quoted that "[it had the worst housing conditions of any town in the United Kingdom"(site: Archives of Ireland). My grandmother is Mary, the 5th oldest in her family. My grandfather was Joseph Carolan, and his parents were Michael Carolan, born in 1901 in Drogheda, and Mary Mills, born 1900 in Dublin. They had two children named Gertrude, born 1927, and Joseph, born 1930. Similarly, they too lived in Dublin, Ireland. Here is a picture of a typical street in Dublin during the 1900's. This is comparable to the living conditions of my family back then. Interesting fact, my great grandfather Michael Carolan fought at Ypres for four years in the first World War. More interesting information is that both my grandmother and grandfather and their siblings learned Gaelic in school, but their parents did know how to speak it. I find that surprising that my great grandparents didn't even know the root language of Ireland, they only knew English.

 My grandparents first met at a steel company called Smith & Pearson (site Sculpture Britain and Ireland) around 20 years of age. They began seeing each other for four years and then decided to immigrate to Canada in June 1957 (interview Carolan). Another large thing going on in Ireland at this time was the division between the north and south. The north of Ireland was almost all Protestants while the south was nearly all Catholics. My ancestors were Catholic because they were from the south and even in my family today we are still Catholic so that tradition carried on. The root of the problem was in the 1800's, generally speaking, the Protestants and Catholics differed in their socio-economic classes. The two groups divided over the "Home Rule"(site info please) and its objective was to have self-government. It leads the two groups just not wanting either or taking over the country. Then in 1920 Britain, which still technically owned Ireland, passed an Act, which divided Ireland into two separate political entities and allowed them to have self-government. The Catholics were unhappy with this because they wanted total independence for all of the Ireland. Years later both sides just carried a lot of tension and hate towards one another, and it led to violent riots and killings. Soldiers from England were sent to restore some of the peace but again it led to more fighting and even bombings, more specifically from the north.

 My grandparents were alive when all of this was occurring, and it was one of the {push} factors that lead them to Canada. From an interview with my grandmother, she recalls the events being "Very disturbing,"Horrific", & "Inexplainable." One of the immense {pull} factors were the jobs in Canada, and my grandmother told me that was the biggest reasons for the move to Canada. There was such a variety of employment and they all paid very well. Another factor that attracted them to Canada was that they had many friends already immigrated here. Most of their friends had to migrate by boat, but my grandparents had the luxury of flying. When they first arrived, they lived in a basement apartment with their friends in Toronto. Once they got sufficient jobs and started earning better money, they moved to Bramalea and started a family. If I were living in Ireland, my life overall would be pretty comparable. 

The unemployment rate in Ireland is 7.9 percent while Canada it's 6.9 percent (site Trading Economics). Education is 13 years total for Ireland and Canada it's 12. You also start school at the same age but in Ireland, there's just one extra year. After high school, University is offered in Ireland and the same for College. Regarding health care Ireland requires you to have a private health insurance and that covers all of your hospital visits and doctors visits but it doesn't cover medication and extended doctors visits. The private medical insurance costs about the same as would Canada's taxes that includes our health care. 

Overall the quality of my life in Ireland would be very comparable as it is to Canada. From education to health care to employment they are almost identical stats. I still have many cousins that live in Ireland and of whom I still communicate with very often. I'm glad my grandparents moved to Canada because I think Canada is the greatest country in the world, but I still have a great attachment and appreciation for my roots in Ireland. I always try my best to stay connected with my roots, and so I will sometimes use Irish expressions around my family or even say numbers in Gaelic. No matter which of these countries I may be in, I still love and appreciate both of them. 

"National Archives of Ireland." National Archives of Ireland. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2016.

McDermott, Pauline, Mrs. "Your Memories of Ireland." Telephone interview. 27 May 2016.

"Ireland Unemployment Rate | 1983-2016 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast."Ireland Unemployment Rate | 1983-2016 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2016.

Infoplease. Infoplease, n.d. Web. 18 June 2016.

"News." Home · The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain & Ireland. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2016.

Carolan, Mary, Mrs. "My Roots in Ireland." Personal interview. 8 June 2016.

"Compare." Canada To Ireland. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2016.

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