Subject Number: 53444761650

 

What is your family background?

My maternal ancestors, the Talbots, settled in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire in England during the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The first Talbot to settle in Ireland was Richard Talbot. He was a young knight from Shrewsbury, of French descent, who accompanied Henry II to Ireland in 1174. Richard Talbot was granted the “lands and harbor of Malahide” as a reward for his service to the King. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 12th century. It was home to the Talbot family for 791 years form 1185 to 1976. The only exception to this was between 1649 and 1660 when Oliver Cromwell granted it to Miles Corbet following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. During this time John Talbot, a descendent was sent to Connaught under the “To hell or to Connaught” Cromwellian edict. Corbet was hanged after Cromwell was defeated and the castle was handed back to the Talbots. The building was extended during the reign of Edward IV and the towers were added in 1765. The family lived through the Battle of the Boyne and the Penal Laws. They remained Catholic until 1774.

 

I have no direct links to Malahide Castle but I am a proud descendent of the Talbot clan that settled in Ireland and became “more Irish than the Irish themselves” (John Lynce c1599-1677).

 

 

What does it mean to be Irish?

To be Irish means something very personal to me. It is part of my DNA and my psyche. It forms a very strong part of my identity and my journey on planet Earth. It is a connection with the language, the country and the history of Ireland. It has been passed down to me through the generations. Being Irish includes the word “native”. My native language is Irish. My native county is Kerry. My native sports are hurling, camogie and Gaelic football. Céili’s and set dances are among those rhythms, which chime with my musical soul. I am proud of my Kerry roots. My sense of being Irish was more pronounced when I lived abroad. My name, my Irish accent and my complexion were characteristics, which formed part of the outward manifestations of my Irishness. If I were not Irish (i.e. if hypothetically, it could be taken from me) I would not be whole. Being Irish is a large part of being me.

 

What is your nationality?

I am Irish.

© 2020 by Seán Laoide-Kemp

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