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Cornhill Revisited

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Cooneys in RI
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The Drumlish Cooneys
Cooneys in Ireland
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The Cooneys in Rhode Island

Elizabeth (Cooney) Sklut and her husband Charlie visited Cornhill in March of 2002.  Known to family and friends as "Tan", she is the eldest of the eleven children of Judge Leo M. Cooney.    Tan's account of that visit follows:

  Charlie and I were in Ireland from March 4--March 14.  We were staying in Cavan, the next county to Longford and about 40 minutes from Drumlish.  We were in that part of Ireland because we found a very nicely priced package that included a house in Belturbet, Cavan County. It was cold and blustery but a wonderful time to visit a small town of 1600 with a grand total of 18 pubs. We were really adopted by the folks at Flynn's--our favorite pub--and they were only too happy to give us directions to Cornhill.  One old regular named Edmund reminisced about a girlfriend from his young years from Drumlish and the happy times they spent "spooning" on Cornhill, which turns out to be quite a large hill with many farms.
 
We drove to Drumlish and stopped at a restaurant named Mill Creek for lunch.  Charlie claimed it was his best meal in Ireland--a bacon and fried egg sandwich on toast with no adornments like lettuce, etc.  We asked directions at the restaurant and  got three very long and slightly different versions but one waitress named Von Corrigan Kelleher had grown up near Cornhill and knew of the Rowley farm.  There are no mailboxes or names on any of the roads but she told us to go by the mushroom farm and just ask someone.  We thought we were lost when we came upon large Quonset-shaped black plastic structures that we figured must be the mushroom farm.  I got out the picture from the Website of the view of "Cornhill" and we used it to successfully find the road in to the farm.  
tanvisit.jpg
Pat Rowley welcomes Tan at Cornhill

We drove down a windy and very muddy lane to an old barn and farmhouse. There were dogs visible but not much else.  Just as we were turning around, a jaunty old Irishman appeared at the doorway of the house.  He had on three layers of clothes topped by an ancient tweed jacket and hat.  I introduced myself as a Cooney and asked if he were Pat Rowley who bought the farm from the Cooneys.  His immediate response was "Want to buy it back?"  He was a engaging character and entertained us royally in his yard in a huge hail storm.  Charlie had a plastic bag with him to get some dirt for Leo and Rowley was quite fascinated by the "big man" in the hooded jacket with "Golden Bears" written on it. He took some dirt and then Rowley picked up a few stones from the original house and added those to the bag.  Then he invited us in to meet the missus.  Kathleen had Parkinson's and was recovering from hip surgery but greeted us warmly.  They live in the original house that has been "modernized" as they report but still the original structure.  We didn't talk about whether they farm or who does the work but I assume they have help to run the place.
 
Pat was difficult to understand with quite a strong country brogue.  He was very interested in the Website as I had it with me and showed him the picture.  I promised to send him a copy with the pictures we took.  He talked about being visited by other cousins including a barrister.  I assume that was Eileen and the group of cousins from a few years ago.
 
He then directed us to the graveyard with a few Cooneys buried there.  By that time it was really miserable weather but we did stop and take a few pictures.  I'll send copies of any good ones to you to post to the website. 
 
Pat's mailing address is Pat Rowley, Dorroc, Drumlish, County Longford, Ireland, if you want to contact him about visiting the farm.  He is quite a genial gentleman. 
 
The Website proved to be a valuable resource and led to a great adventure in finding and visiting the family farm in Cornhill.  I look forward to future updates and sharing photos on the Website. 
Slianta.  Tan and Charlie Sklut

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