CONNECTING TO MY ROOTS THE HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP TO IRELAND
Like many other Americans, I come from a combination of multiple heritages and backgrounds. However, my Irish heritage is one of the strongest ancestral ties I have. My Irish ancestors on my father’s side first landed in the continental United States in the 1600s, which has always been a pretty cool piece of my family history. The sacrifices they made in order to live a new life in a world that was seemingly unknown to them has always been fascinating, and I’m proud to come from that lineage. Nearly 20 years ago, I was given an opportunity visit my then-future wife, Angela, in Europe. As readers will remember from our February edition of the newsletter, this was long before we had kids, when Angela worked in Switzerland for a short stint in the early 2000s. Angela and I decided to spend a week exploring the beautiful, lush, green landscape of Ireland and visiting the many towns, castles,
and landmarks lining the roadways. It was truly amazing to be driving around in this foreign country, taking in everything from the big cities, like Dublin, to the small towns along the outskirts. We even visited Trinity College Dublin and toured the Guinness Factory (of course). The trip was a great memory for Angela and me, even when we just spent time in small pubs chatting with the locals. One of the more unique parts of the trip, however, was the connection I was able to make with my family. While we were in Ireland, we visited the region of the country where my family originated from. Driving around the little town, I would look up and see my last name scattered on shop signs and along buildings. Thousands of miles away from my home and hundreds of years since anyone in my ancestral line had called Ireland home, the Nowlin family still had a presence. It was a surreal experience to be in the same place as some of the people I have in
my family tree. I’ll never forget being able to connect back to my roots.
As our kids grow older, my wife and I want to show them where they come from and teach them more about the cultures in their family line. Before they take off for college or whatever adventures they have planned for when they grow up, we’d love to travel more with them and form new memories and bonds, much like the ones their mom and I made more than 15 years ago in Ireland. Like my ancestors before me, Ireland gave me some tremendous memories and great stories to tell others. I hope someday you’ll make your own pilgrimage back to the countries your family comes from and foster a connection that has been hundreds of years in the making.
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