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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Irish Connection. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


One of my ancestors, Richard Dawson, of Monghan County, Ireland is my Irish connection.

The Dawson family who came to the area in the 17th century has been the main benefactor of the parish ever since. It was Richard Dawson, a banker and Dublin alderman, who in 1729 built the present (Church of Ireland) church on the Dartrey estate. It was established in its own separate parish of Ematris soon after. The Dawsons added a north gallery to the church in 1769, and much later the Corry family (from Rockcorry) added a south gallery, raised on arches to avoid desecrating the burial ground beneath it. A fire caused serious damaged in 1811 leaving the church for a period without a roof. The fine west tower was built in 1840, and the sanctuary apse (centre above) in 1870. With the demolition of the Dawson mansion in 1950, and their once thriving estate turned over to forestry, St John’s appears isolated. However it shares services with St James’ church, Rockcorry some 2½ miles away, which the Dawsons built in 1855, and both churches continue well supported by the local farming community. But the view from St John’s cemetery across Inner Lough, once described as “one of the best in Ireland”, is currently obscured by conifers:

I still hope to get to Ireland one day to see the Dawson Monument.

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