The main point of this post is how digital technology today allows us to take virtual trips to a vast number of places. It is almost like being there. But, being there in person is the truest way to experience the world. Travel for real if you are able.
My maternal ancestors include the Kelly and Huston lines from central Ireland. In June of 2011, Melanie and I went to Ireland for a vacation. We started in Dublin, then took the train to central Ireland to find my ancestral homeland. I wanted to see it with my own eyes and walk where they walked. We spent the night in Athlone. Next day, the train took us to Galway where we stayed for six more. What a wonderful place.
The Kelly and Huston families lived where the counties Meath and Westmeath border just north of Delvin. My great-grandmother was born there in 1838. She, her eight sisters, and her parents all came to America. A relative showed me a link to deed maps of the mid-1800s for that area. We found two parcels of land which her family apparently owned and farmed. This map marks close to the two parcels.
We rode the train from Dublin to Mullingar. There, were spoke with a cabbie, Mick. We asked him if he would take us out of town just northeast of Delvin. He made a call to his boss and then said he would be happy to do it. Mick was a local and knew the area well. He enjoyed the chance to get out of town for a change. He talked a lot and told some good stories.
Here is a closer view with a landmark we wanted to find. It was a gate to the entrance of an old estate called Rosmead, now in ruins. The link is a photo tour. The label is misspelled. The Kelly family had two small parcels of land on the north side of Rosmead. The second picture below shows those parcels highlighted in yellow. That old deed map was overlaid transparently on top of the more modern map.
When we reached the spot called Rosmead Gate, this is what we saw as rendered in Google Maps Streetview. If you know how, go ahead and navigate up close for a better view. Click on the road closer to the gate. Use your mouse wheel to zoom in. If you want to know how to get Google Maps to show you a Streetview, there is a short video at the end of this post with directions.
We turned left at the fork in the road at that gate, instead of following N52. We drove about one mile north and then about a half a mile to the right, or east. That put us just north of the Kelly parcels on the map above. We stopped near a small stream (Streetview) and got out to put our feet on the ground. In the distance was the land they farmed and cared for. Perhaps this road was also walked by my Kelly ancestors. It was a great feeling.
Click and drag the screen left or right. Zoom in or out. Click on the roadway to move along it. It is almost like being there in person. The virtual world is truly amazing. It can take us to so many places in space and time. Here are some examples. If you cannot be there in person, technology today can make it seem as though you are able to go.
How to activate Streetview
Use Google Maps to find a location. If Streetview is available there, a little yellow figure is visible in the lower right of the navigation screen. Drag him over the map window. That should activate blue lines wherever the view is available. Place him slowly over the spot you want. A small picture should appear. Drop him. Return to normal map view with a click in the lower left.