The final day of the trip provides an opportunity to attend the Back To Our Past Conference at the RDS in Dublin. This annual three day genealogy conference is part of the "Over 55 Show" and pulls in about 20,000 people. It was opened on Friday by Jimmy Deenihan (who I met earlier in the week) and although I wasn't there, I understand I got a mention (even the Irish can't pronounce my name) as an American genealogist who bring researchers to Ireland.
The National Library is open from 9:30 - 1 on Saturday, and some researchers (including me) used the first hour to finish up last minute items.
Conferences in Ireland are unlike US conferences where the focus is on the lectures. In Ireland, the focus is on the vendor booths (called stalls) with just two presentations going on each hour. It's still a great opportunity to hear local specialists speak and I always learn something.
Saturday evening we had our final dinner at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Helen Kelly who had assisted with research at the Valuation Office joined us. As one of her hats, Helen carries the title of "Genealogy Butler" at the Shelbourne, a title that has been trademarked. Guests of the Shelbourne can request a consultation from Helen to get them started on their Irish research.
Also joining us was Sean O'Dúill who entertained us with an after dinner talk on "Irish Matchmaking and Marriage Customs."
Tomorrow some members of the group are headed to Limerick and Leitrim to continue their search, and some are returning to the U.S. After services at Christ Church tomorrow, I'll catch up on some shopping, pack and head back to the U.S. on Monday morning. I have a connection to Portland, Maine to celebrate my granddaughter's first birthday and will be returning home on Friday.
From the feedback, I think everyone enjoyed their research week and are thinking about a return trip in the future. They all agreed that, especially for a first trip, it was great to have the assistance and a group of people with whom to enjoy the experience. If you've followed the blog and are interested in visiting Ireland next October, drop me an email and I'll add you to the list when the final arrangements are made.
If you missed the earlier blogs: