Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home

Romance of Ruins

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In three, so far, postings on the cottage ruins at Loughan an Lochan (Loughan Bay) we explored a former community above the Irish Sea with a view of Scotland.  For the third posting I shared some research on the last cottage people of that site with the intent of additional postings.

I wondered, “What motivates you to do this?” and remembered my mother’s Canadian passport in which, for place of birth “Proleek, Ireland” was written and my request to our cousin, John Mills, who invited us to stay with them after my mother passed away, June, 2013, the request being to visit the site of great grandfather James McCardle’s home, where grandfather Peter McCardle was raised, information since discovered from the Irish census.

On the morning of Sunday, May 25, John took us from mass on a tour of sites related to the family.  One of these was the site of the McCardle home, Proleek Townland.

Peter McArdle Former Home
The ruins of the former home of Peter McArdle are on a corner of unnamed streets in Proleek, County Louth. This is a view of the southwest side.

There site is an anonymous corner on a unnamed street with no outlet.  The street ends close to the Proleek Dolmen, an ancient passage tomb, after passing farms and fields.

Peter McArdle Former Home
The interior of the property. I see no evidence of great grandfather James McArdle’s home, It has returned to the earth.

The 1901 Irish Census provides these details from 116 years ago:

  • The walls were stone, brick or concrete
  • The roof of thatch, wood or another perishable material.
  • Two rooms, with three windows facing the road.
  • Out buildings listed were:
    • cow house.
    • piggery.

Today, the site is another person’s property, it was not possible to explore further than when the camera lens reached when I leaned as far a possible into the brush.  No sign of standing walls.

Southeast view from McArdle former home
Across the road from the McArdle Plot is this ditch (stone wall) and a home. In the far distance, just visible across the plain, rising from it, is an unnamed land mark, a rounded hill 350 feet tall of the neighboring townland of Bellurgan.

Modern homes surround the corner, solid and prosperous.

View to the west from McArdle Former Home
The site is surrounded by homes on the west and south, farmland on the east and west.

For this posting I collected the following images from Google Earth.  The site is marked with a pushpin, “McCardle Home.”  A “Proleek Dolmen” pushpin marks the passage tomb.

McArdleHomeProleekCountyLouthOverview

A closer view suggests, if we trespassed and poked around, some remains of the structure were concealed by the trees and brush.

McArdleHomeProleekCountyLouth

Between May 2014 and this image, from 2015, the center of the plot was gouged out.  The area corresponds to the corresponds to the remains indicated in the 2013 image.  From this we can understand were the structures stood in relation to the road.

Using the polygon ruler tool the size of the site is 413 feet in circumference, 9,619 square feet, and the gouge, indicating the ruins, is 1,368 square feet.

McArdleHomeProleekCountyLouthToday

But for John and Betty Mills, their kind invitation to stay and John’s guidance that day, the “Proleek” notation on my mother’s Canadian passport would still be a mystery today.

John Mills passed away the next year, September 26, 2015.  Here are some wild rose blooms from the corner of the former McCardle home in memory.

Wild Rose on the former McArdle Home

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

22 thoughts on “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home

  1. Michael, how wonderful for you to return to your ancestors home and really find where it was.
    Things change but I believe we retain a lot of our cultural memory somehow and there is a longing to know. It was beautiful with that fantastic wild rose at the end.
    Bless
    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just standing in the same spot they once did must have felt thrilling. I am so glad you were able to go. I started doing my genealogy before Ancestry (dot com) was around. It was not an easy thing to do!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I, too, found this very interesting, Michael. It (your journey) must have helped to settle a few ‘untied’ thoughts and curiosities; as indeed you’ve mentioned. Being an Australian (a land of drought and flooding rains) I’ve always marvelled at the geography of the UK with its lush green meadows and gentle rolling hills. Also, the incredible stone fences that have, in some cases, lasted for centuries, amazes me. I was fortunate enough to have seen this for myself in our last holiday during June this year when we visited England’s north counties; such a delight.
    Hooray for John and Betty; their invitation must have been very heartfelt. I do hope Betty is doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael, what a wonderful post! I can only imagine how thrilling it was for you to visit Proleek, but it was so rewarding when I got to visit the farms my Morrison and Hall ancestors lived on in the late 1600s and early 1700s in Scotland. We were able to pinpoint the farms because each farm has a name and the Hearth Tax records from the 1690s until the 1720s gave the names of the tenants on each farm owned by the Duke of Argyll. Never missing a chance to tax the poor farmers in Scotland, the government levied a tax on every house from which smoke rose from a chimney. Hence, the Hearth Tax. I’m so glad you got to have a genealogical trip much like mine.

    Liked by 1 person

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