|Bus||Derry to Clones||Ulsterbus||Derry||Clones||$0.00||
7:00 33 (toward Dublin)
9:05 Arr Monaghan
11:00 U271 (toward Cavan)
11:25 Arr Clones
|Bed and Breakfast||The Cuil Darach||Clones Facebook Page advice||Clones||$100.00||
Incl full breakfast
Fermanagh Street, Clones
E70 "tax in"
Today we finally did what we came to Ireland for - visited Clones (the town that Brent's grandfather was from).
The story, as I understand it, is that grandfather won a couple of pubs in Clones in a poker game. The pubs were called Carrons and The Bursted Sofa. Carrons hasn't existed for a long time, but The Bursted Sofa existed until just a few years ago. When Doug and Susan (Brent's sibs) were here 25 years ago, they visited that one. Apparently the lease holders stopped paying rent when Brent's dad died, but Brent's mom still technically holds the titles to the properties.
Clones is a border town, just south of Northern Ireland in the county of Monaghan. We came yesterday by bus. Clones is a withering little town. It's very pleasant to look at, and has some great buildings, but it also has a large meat processing plant (probably the town's main employer) which puts an ungodly stench over the whole place. There are "for sale" and "for rent" signs everywhere.
When we got off the bus, we walked up the hill toward town center, and immediately, Brent spotted a property that he thought was The Bursted Sofa. A lady came out of the beauty salon next door and confirmed that The Bursted Sofa had been next door. It was closed up and had "The Stag's Head Bar Lounge" on the window. We're not sure if it was the Stag's Head before or after the Bursted Sofa. Up the same street was our B&B, the Cuil Darach (pronounced cool darrah). Our "tour guide" (the beauty salon lady) pointed it out, and also told us that we should go find George Knight who lives around the corner as he's somewhat of a historian for the town. We stopped up at the Cuil Darach and dropped off our luggage and then went to explore. The Cuil Darach is right on the Diamond (a name given to the town centre of a lot of towns in Ireland), and so is the Church of Ireland. We walked down another road heading out from the Diamond and ended up finding the stinky ABP meat processing plant, and the Wee Abby and its graveyard. Then, back at the Diamond, we talked to another lady who pointed out the exact house for George Knight, so we went a knockin'. He came out and talked for a couple of minutes. He had never heard of the Stephens family in Clones (not surprising since Brent thinks his grandfather was the last member of the family to leave about 100 years ago). He told us what building Carrons had been in. He speculated that granddad was probably Presbyterian (which Brent suspected as well) and told us where to find the Presbyterian church and advised that the Presbyterian cemetary is 1-2 miles out of town. We went back down to Carrons, which is now a house, and which we'd walked past before, then down to the Presbyterian church in the opposite direction. In the town office next door, a man told Brent better directions for the Presbyterian cemetary (directly opposite ABP... d'oh!), so we walked back down there, and then over to the Famine and Workhouse Cemetary. No Stephenses anywhere.
There's a geneaology center in town, which wasn't open today, but will be open tomorrow, so Brent's next thought was to knock off for the day and then go there tomorrow. I wanted to go past the library in hopes of finding some WiFi (Cuil Darach doesn't have any), and maybe some town history information. So, we headed down there, and I got some WiFi and with help from the resident historian, Brent found some town death records, including who he thinks was his great-grandfather, and then a geneology web site that had census records for 1901 and 1911 which included some records for Stephenses (and through which we discovered, the Stephenses belonged to the Church of Ireland).
The Cuil Darach is a really nice place. There are three portions to the establishment - a bar, a lounge, and the B&B. They're all beautiful, full of lovely old dark-brown things, and spotless. Not a speck of dust on anything, in spite of the large number of old dark-brown things. The proprietor is a great old no-nonsense fella. Loved him, but not quite as much as I loved his Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger.
Bogside mural titled "Saturday Matinee" because that's what youth in Bogside did for entertainment - "recreational rioting".
"Londonderry West Bank Loyalists Still Under Siege. No Surrender" sign in Fountain Estate neighborhood. Note the red, white and blue curbsides, denoting the nieghborhood as Loyalist.