This post is part 3 of 3 in the series of My Story.
October 2010 Mom and Dad came over to meet ThisIrishGirl after her arrival that September. They stayed for almost a month. What we didn’t realise then (but possibly subconsciously suspected) was that Mom was starting to get sick. That visit she was rattled with back pain and couldn’t walk far. We were lucky to have three more years to make memories with her.
Between feeds and extended bouts of crying from a newborn suffering with silent reflux I got to chat with Mom and Dad about any stories of Ireland they could possibly remember- all the stories I wished I had asked my grandparents.
Before Mom and Dad left Cork we went for one last family meal in the city with ThisIrishDad’s family. We ended up parking that day along Pope’s Quay at the bottom of Shandon Street.
What none of us knew then was that we were metres away from where my mother’s grandfather had last lived before immigrating to America.
To this day I have a deep regret that Mom didn’t get to wander Shandon Street knowing her grandfather had roamed those very footpaths. Mom never saw where he lived.
The 1901 Irish Census shows Daniel Looney and his siblings lived at 54 Shandon Street.
The Looney siblings lived with their Uncle John and Aunt Julia after their parents Denis and Catherine Looney had passed away. John Looney is listed as a shopkeeper. In the 1911 census John Looney and his family resided in House 17 in Fair Hill.
Daniel Looney immigrated to America in 1905.
He boarded the Oceanic from Queenstown (Cobh, Co Cork) and sailed across the Atlantic to his sister (Margaret) Maggie who had gone before him. If you visit the Titanic Experience today in Cobh you walk in the footsteps of those immigrants.
Daniel became a taxi driver for his brother’s company in NYC. He married Marie O’Brien who died giving birth to my grandmother, Millie. Daniel and Millie shared an apartment in Washington Heights, Manhattan with Daniel’s sister Maggie and her husband Con Leahy.
Maggie was the mother figure in my grandmother’s life and my own mother was named after her.
Grandpa Daniel Looney passed away in 1969. Mom always said she remembers her Grandpa as a proud Irish American who loved his country.
There was little talk of why he left Cork and the family that remains there. Many questions remain for me.
But here I am in 2017 living in Cork.
When I began my story in Part 1 I set out to justify how an American can run a blog titled ThisIrishFamily.
And while I don’t need to justify a thing, it turns out I am actually Corkonian – a few generations removed – returned home and raising This Irish Family.