A Very Occasional Blog

I’m a genealogist by profession, with credentials from AGI.  I also dabble in local history and the history of Irish golfers, and I’m always writing something!

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A Slideshow of Recent Posts

The Day My Grandfather Didn’t Become a Golf Champion

A hundred years ago this very day my grandfather, Joseph Gorry, reached the zenith of his amateur golfing career.  Very probably for him it felt like failure.  The events of that day became the stuff of golfing legend in the family.  His daughter, Joan Gorry, was...

I’m Mad as Hell!

I’m led to believe that it was Mark Twain who said ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’, but who knows?  Who cares?  Truth is a commodity much less valuable than perception.  Get a celebrity into a graveyard, show him any old gravestone and tell him...

Rex Ingram, the Irishman who put the Valentino into Romance

It’s now exactly a hundred years since the name Valentino was first noticed by cinema audiences and became synonymous with romance.  On 6 March 1921 the silent motion picture The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had its first public showing at the Lyric Theatre in New...

My Name is Aloysius

My second forename is Aloysius.  Throughout my childhood, youth and middle age I kept it hidden from most people.  I was embarrassed by it and I wasn’t a bit happy that my parents thought to lumber me with such an oddity.  It took decades for me to come to terms with...

Gordon Bennett!

Gordon Bennett !!!  This photograph was taken on Wednesday 1 July 1903 in South Main Street, Naas, Co. Kildare. What was happening was the weighing of the cars for the 4th Gordon Bennett Cup Race, the first to be held outside of France. The race took place the...

Tragedy in Kilmurry

It is impossible to imagine the mental state of John Jackson during his meeting with Dr. Dockeray 150 years ago this very day.  John’s mind may have been in turmoil; it may have been numbed by grief.  Whether Dr. Dockeray visited his farm in Kilmurry or John travelled...

The Remarkable Margaret Falley

​Margaret Dickson Falley’s publication, Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research, is remarkable, yet the vast majority of people now pursuing Irish genealogical research have never heard of it.  The most remarkable thing about Falley’s two-volume work is that it was...

Irish Golf in 1920

The story of armed conflict often dominates and clouds our perception of the past.  When we read about a time of war it seems as if nothing but war was happening: as if normal life was suspended while shooting and killing were all pervasive.  The Great War of...


Not too long ago most people beginning to trace their ancestors found their way to a society they could join, a guide book they could read and / or a conference they could attend.  Many people still do, but as genealogy grows in popularity it is becoming more of an...

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Supposedly evenings are when television programmes have their greatest impact.  Really, with so many channels now, it’s just by chance that people see any programme, unless it’s the news or Nationwide or something spectacular like Line of Duty or something addictive...

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Credentials for Genealogists – fighting the good fight

Credentials for Genealogists – fighting the good fight

Gorry has done a service to the genealogical community. That was one of a number of complimentary remarks in a review of my book in the latest (September 2019) edition of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.  A copy of the review was sent to me the...

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Derrynamuck and Cocoon: only four degrees of separation

On a cold February night in the Glen of Imaal, Co. Wicklow, in 1799 it would have seemed unimaginable luxurious to those trying to stay warm that people in the future would swim in heated man-made pools.  Rebels on the run hardly thought about such things.  Telling...

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Family Portraits and Echoes of the Past

​A week ago I attended a marathon of an event.  It lasted from 10.30am to sometime about 9pm, long after I had left.  It was absorbing.  It was full of surprises, good and bad.  It was a glimpse into the past, and it said a lot about the present Irish economy.  For...

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Gorry Research,
Co. Wicklow,


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Golf History

Irelands Ancient East