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*Jane Halloran Ryan. 

EMIGRATION stories from East Clare parishes to the United States will be the focus of a talk at Waterways Ireland Building in Scariff on Bank Holiday Saturday & Sunday (July 30th and 31st) during the local Harbour Festival.

It will be followed on both days by free individual genealogical sessions to assist people in creating their family backstories or guiding them through stages of that journey.

‘An Epic Journey – from East Clare to Ellis Island’ is a story told through the eyes of professional genealogist, Jane Halloran Ryan, who will explore the reasons why a cross section of East Clare emigrants made the journey through Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century.

“I will be telling the story of what brought people from parishes like Scariff, Mountshannon, Whitegate, Tuamgraney, Ogonnelloe and Killaloe, to board a ship for Ellis Island, looking into whether they remained in New York or went elsewhere and what they ended up doing,” said the current Chair of Clare Roots Society and founder of Dalcassian Origins, a family history and research service website.

Emigration during the Ellis Island years reshaped America. More than 12 million immigrants passed through the facility until it closed in the 1950s. Almost half of the US households in the 2010 Census could claim that they had an ancestor who had passed through Ellis Island. Of the 12 million who passed through, 3.5 million of them were Irish and many were from Clare. For genealogical research, the immigrant inspection and processing facility is an important starting point.

Jane Halloran Ryan is American by birth but has lived for many years with her family in Tulla. She has been researching her own family history for many years and uncovered ancestors from sea captains to judges, from rebels to religious. She received an MA in Local History from University of Limerick in 2017, after undertaking and researching her thesis ‘Agrarian Outrages in the Parish of Tulla, County Clare 1852-1894’. She currently is a final year PhD student at Mary Immaculate College, focusing on networks between Irish and Irish American communities and their assimilation into Irish American culture in the late 19th century.

In addition to her talk ‘An Epic Journey- from East Clare to Ellis Island’, she will provide 12 free genealogical sessions over Saturday and Sunday (July 30th – 31st) at Waterways Ireland Building, to assist people with genealogical queries. She will advise on how to progress family research including specific repositories, websites and online sources. Pre-booking is essential for an individual session by registering interest including name, mobile number and preferred day to by Thursday 28th July 2022. Following random selection the Festival Committee will notify people of their time slot.

Jane explained, “These sessions are particularly relevant for people, who are not just starting out to build their family’s backstory, but for those who are stuck on the journey. Twenty minutes is a short time so come, where possible, with a specific genealogical question to maximise the time we have. I will do my best to guide you on the next steps towards further discovery”.

Full details of the Scariff Harbour Festival programme are available on

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