American finds Irish relatives after 40 year search

American finds Irish relatives. Image copyright Ireland Calling

There are literally millions of people around the world that have Irish heritage. Many travel back on a regular basis to visit their family members.

Others keep in contact via skype and phone, but some unfortunately have lost touch with their relatives back home.

In some cases, people have never even met their Irish relatives, after being born and raised in another country after their parents or grandparents emigrated from Ireland many years ago.

American finds Irish relatives. Image copyright Ireland Calling

That was the case for one American woman who had finally found her Irish relatives after spending 40 years searching for them. She told her story to one our Facebook friends Aisling Dykes, who has written it up brilliantly to share it with the world.

Aisling Dykes’ story

Aisling Dykes

I thought I’d share my nice story with you. So last week I went to London for New Year’s. On the way back from Gatwick to Dublin I was sitting in row B.

As I was nearly the last on the plane I had to ask the lady in row C (the outside seat) to kindly let me in. She said no problem with a twang, hmm American I thought as I got into my seat. She was in her late 60’s I’d say.

As I had been out in London and was wrecked I fell asleep straight away (which I do on every flight I get anyway).

I woke up to an announcement saying it was 15 minutes to landing. So I decided to stay awake now. I had a feeling that the lady beside me was waiting for me to wake as straight away she asks am I Irish.

We start off with small talk, she’s American and she’s spending two nights in Dublin then a week in Galway she asks about tourist attractions etc.

Then she starts to tell me why she’s coming to Ireland. She says that she’s wanted to visit for many years.

The normal story – her grandfather was Irish and went to America on a boat with little money in 1912. She then tells me she’s been searching for her relatives in Ireland for over 40 years.

She had tried Facebook and other methods to try find them but no luck. She recently found an email address for a priest in Spiddal and told him her story, as she knew that Spiddal was the area her grandfather was from. She said she was delighted with the new lead.

The priest said he would try help her find them and he would print out her email and put it up on the church notice board for mass goers to see on Sunday. She said she was very excited about this.

She didn’t have to wait long as on Sunday evening she gets an email from a man saying that her granddad was his uncle. He couldn’t believe she had gone this far to find her family and he invited her over.

She was on this flight to meet her long lost relatives for the first time after years of searching for them. She was so happy and excited. I instantly got goose bumps.

What a lovely ending to her story.

The more I thought about it the more I think there’s an underlining message to this story that we can all take from it. Never give up no matter how long things are taking, as this lovely lady searched for over 40 years to finally get her happy ending.

What a great story that was, and thank-you to Aisling for sharing it with us. As she said at the end, there is always a reason to keep trying to find your long-lost relatives, and always a hope that one day you will find them, just as Aisling’s flight companion did.

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Please contact us by filling in the form below or via our Facebook page if you would like to share your story about your search for your Irish relatives.

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