Friday, May 09, 2008

Family home of the "Schoolmaster in Politics"

I had a vague idea that Woodrow Wilson had roots in Ulster, but until I read this morning that his ancestral home had burned down I didn't know that there was an ancestral home. I've been in Omagh twice in the past 10 years. One time I discovered that Ulysses S Grant's ancestral home was in that area. Now I learn that Wilson's family came from the same region.

Other than Andrew Jackson's family home, very little is made of the fact that these ancestral homes exist. I think that each of these homes should be a little museum about the President and his family. I don't know why more isn't made of these places.

And, this goes for this part of Ireland too. Nixon's ancestral home is in Timahoe, Co. Kildare (not Laois, as I sometimes read). I once stumbled into Timahoe and all that was there was a small sign acknowledging this fact. I haven't been to Ballyporeen, so I can't say whether much is made of the Reagan connection. I have been to the Kennedy home near New Ross, Co. Wexford and I thought even here that the pitch wasn't quite right.

I don't know. Could be just me, but I think that each of these places should have something of a story to tell, one that would be of interest to people from both Ireland and America. And it's not just Americans. Thomas D'Arcy McGee one of the Fathers of the Confederation in Canada was from Carlingford, Co. Louth. I don't thik I saw any reference to him when I was last there, but that was 15 years ago.

Anyway, I think these places are of interest and should be knit together in some form of tourist trail and each place should tell something about the life of the President (or whomever) and the life of his ancestors.

Just glad to get that off my chest.