Author: samkendal (Page 2 of 3)

St Patrick’s Day

Saturday, 17 March is

St Patrick’s Day


It belongs to all of us. So let us celebrate together

Whether you are from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, USA, Canada, South America, China, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, The Middle East or Russia. C’mon in, the craic is mighty!!!

You can’t get much further away from Ireland but Sydney’s St Patrick’s Day Flash Mob certainly know how to mark the occasion.

And what would St Patrick’s Day be without a wee taste of East Belfast and Van Morrison playing Star of The County Down with the Chieftains, including the enigmatic late Derek Bell on piano.

For all my friends in Norwich – The Saw Doctors. Turn it up loud and pogo. Can there be a better way to end a Party? Apologies to the great bard, Robbie Burns, but Auld Lang Sang isn’t half as much fun.


Eddie Jones, prepare to have your arse kicked

You have embarrassed my Australian and English cousins but come Saturday evening, when we have won the Six Nations, the Triple Crown and a Grand Slam, …….. we will forgive you.



World Thinking Day

World Thinking Day is celebrated annually on 22 February by all those in Girl Guiding. It is a day when they think about Girl Guides and Girl Scouts throughout the world, the meaning of Guiding, and its global impact.

My daughter, Louise Kendal-Riches, has been a member of Guiding since 1987. She later went on to become a leader in Manchester, Calgary in Canada and Christchurch in New Zealand. Louise also led a multi-national team to train Guide Leaders in Thailand.

How did Louise end up in New Zealand?   An earthquake occurred in Christchurch on 22 February 2011, World Thinking Day. It caused widespread damage across Christchurch and killed 185 people. Louise is a Civil Engineer and has been working on the rebuilding of Christchurch since then.

For Louise 22 February is a day to both celebrate Girl Guiding and also commemorate those who lost their lives in the Christchurch Earthquake.


In 2013 Girl Guiding New Zealand challenged girls to come up with suggestions on how to recruit Guide leaders. Louise’s girls came up with an idea to organise a flash mob. Their idea was selected and turned into a 30 second advert which was broadcast nationally on New Zealand Television. The two minute video below tells the story of what they did.

One & Other was a 2009 public art project by Antony Gormley in which 2,400 members of the public occupied the usually vacant fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, for an hour each for 100 days. Of the 35,000 applicants, Louise won a place. She choose to promote Girl Guiding. See an extract of her time on the plinth at the link below.

Louise on Plinth




Kate Paysden’s Postcards

scp_-1915My Paternal Grandmother, Kate Paysden, along with her family and friends, regularly exchanged postcards around the period of the First World War.

Her postcards give an insight into life 100 years ago. Some of the cards cover her courtship with her husband to be, Jonathan Kendal and their subsequent separation during wartime.


Connswater-AKate also exchanged cards with her brothers John, George and James, who were all at sea. She left over 300 postcards. To date I have scanned 100 postcards and configured them into a simple searchable and viewable database.

 Click here to view the cards and the database.


Connswater Greenway

Van Morrison, CS Lewis & George Best

The-Hollow-1B The third stage of Connswater Community Greenway, which includes The Hollow and Conns Bridge has been opened. The £40 Million Greenway Project will transform the Knock, Loop and Connswater Rivers turning them into an environmental asset. It will help flood management and widen public accessibility. The Project includes 26 new or improved bridges, 10miles of foot and cycle paths and the CS Lewis Square.


East Belfast has many famous sons including Van Morrison, CS Lewis and George Best. Van grew up in nearby Hyndford Street, knew the Hollow and went to Orangefield Boys School. He sings about the Hollow in Brown Eyed Girl. See the video below

Hey, where did we go, Days when the rains came Down in the hollow, Playing a new game, Laughing and a-running, hey, hey, skipping and a-jumping In the misty morning fog with, Our, our hearts a-thumping And you, my brown-eyed girl, You, my brown-eyed girl.


CS Lewis, a novelist, poet and academic grew up in Sydenham and wrote the Chronicles of Narnia.

George Best, who was possibly the greatest footballer the world has ever seen, grew up in nearby Cregagh. A local wall once bore the following graffiti:

 Pele Brilliant

Maradona Fantastic

George Best

Genealogy is an insight to local history. The Greenway is steeped in the local history of East Belfast. It winds its way through the communities of Braniel, Castlereagh, Loopland, Clarawood, Orangefield, Bloomfield, Beersbridge, Avoniel, The Arches, Mersey Street and Sydenham. Along its way it encounters our industrial heritage including the Castlereagh Industrial Estate, Owen O’Cork Mills and the Belfast Rope Works. It terminates at the Sam Thompson Bridge in Victoria Park, adjacent to Shorts Aircraft Factory and Harland & Wolff Ship Yard, the birth place of the Titanic.

For more see Connswater Community Greenway


Fun with Flags

This is the first episode of a mini-series.

(Eat your heart out Sheldon Cooper)

EMcG & KM in Belfast

Ed & Kathleen McGinty in Belfast

Ed McGinty from GEORGIA STATE and his wife Kathleen, visited Ireland in 2015. The above photograph was taken on my patio in Belfast. Ed recognised the Stars and Stripes but not the other flag. Do you know? Answer below.

Ed McGinty at his great, Great Grandfather former home, Tawnawilly

Ed McGinty at his Great, Great Grandfather’s  former home, Tawnawilly

We had great craic and visited Donegal to discover the former home of Ed’s Great, Great Grandfather (Connell McGinty) in Corracramph, Townawilly. We climbed fences, negotiated marshy ground and jumped streams to discover Connell’s former home.

Ed’s grandfather left Ireland for the States in 1909. Kathleen (nee McGuigan) left Ireland in 1968. They met at a regular dance organised by the Irish community in Philadelphia. Kathleen, an innocent Irish colleen, spotted Ed across the dance floor. Her friend immediately predicted she would marry him. Kathleen’s account of their meeting reminded me of stories concerning the Galtymore. For countless thousands of Irish emigrants to London the Galtymore in Cricklewood, London was more than just a dance-hall.  It was a home from home, a piece of Ireland where each weekend they could meet Irish friends from all over London, hear the music from the Irish country and showband scene. The following video seems appropriate. Enjoy

Answer: It’s the Georgia State flag Ed!!

Next episode: Australian Michael Darth Vader O’Sullivan & Maureen visit Belfast

Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916

To day I will think about members of my family particularly:

Thomas Swindells (1898 – 1916) who died on the first day of the Somme

George Paysden (1895 – 1916) survived the Somme but later died at Bailleul

Also thinking about my cousin John Beck (1956 -1979) KIA.

I will honour and remember them

The Battle of the Somme was a battle of the First World War fought by  the British and French armies against the Germans. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916.

It is estimated that there were 57,470 British casualtise on the first day of the Somme. Of these, 19,240 men died. The French had 1,590 casualties and the German 2nd Army lost 10,000–12,000 men. Few British troops reached the German front line.

The British troops on the Somme included Pals battalions, recruited from the same places or were of similar occupations. Over 2,000 of those killed on the first day were from the Ulster Division. In total 50,000 Irishmen were killed while serving in the British, Commonwealth or US armies in World War One.

Euros 2016

We’re not Brazil, we’re Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is on the eve of its first major international finals for 32 years and football fever is gripping the country. I will be at the Fanzone on Titanic slipways to cheer on the boys.

Also, well done to the Republic of Ireland and England, the homes of my ancestral families.

As for Scotland, another ancestral home, we feel your pain.

Will Griggs on Fire

We’re not Brazil, we’re Northern Ireland

Battle of Jutland 1916 – 2016

Battle of Jutland Map

Battle of Jutland Map

Today is a special and emotional day for my family and the City of Belfast. My Grandfather, Jonathan Kendal who served as a gunner on HMS Tiger, survived the 1916 Battle of Jutland.  The Tiger took several hits. Unfortunately 8,648 sailors from the British and German fleets died. 358 of those who died were Irish.


HMS Caroline

HMS Caroline, the second-oldest ship in Royal Navy service and the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland has been docked in Belfast for many, many years. I have gazed on her and watched her decay. However, today (1 June) and following major restoration works costing £14.2 million she will be open to the public at Belfast‘s Titanic Quarter. The restoration work looks very impressive and I look forward to visiting her again.


Mount Rushmore does Bohemian Rhapsody

We have seen a moving Nuala with the Hula, a dancing Lady Liberty, heard Molly Malone and now, Mount Rushmore does Bohemian Rhapsody!!!

Mount Rushmore, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, depicts the faces of four US Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Doane Robinson had the original idea for a monument as a means of developing and promoting tourism in the area. The granite monument was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, between 1927 and 1939.

Many Americans can trace their family origins back to Europe and American Presidents are no different. George Washington’s Great Grandfather was from Essex in England. However, he also had Dutch, French and Irish ancestors. Thomas Jefferson’s mother was from Tower Hamlets in London but he was also of West Indian descent. Although Theodore Roosevelt had predominately Dutch ancestry, he also had a Great, Great, Grandfather from Scotland and another from Donegal in Ireland. Abraham Lincoln’s roots have been traced back to Norfolk in England but it is believed he also had, Dutch and Scots-Irish ancestry.

Research Ancestors Ireland can help trace your ancestry. Please see the contact form.



Molly Malone

Belfast’s Nuala with the Hula, New York’s Lady Liberty and now Dublin’s Molly Malone. Honestly, although I come from a seafaring family, I don’t have a girl in every port.

Molly’s statue which dates from 1988 originally stood in Dublin’s Grafton Street before being relocated to Suffolk Street in 2014. She is an attraction for many tourists visiting Dublin, including those tracing their Irish ancestry and family history. Her buxom nature is purely incidental! As with many Dublin statues, she has a nickname: The Tart with the Cart.

The Molly Malone song tells a tale of a 17th century fishmonger and hawker who traded from a cart on the streets of Dublin.  One story suggests she plied a different trade by night!!  Poor Molly caught the fever and died prematurely. She is immortalised in the song of her name, sometimes referred to as “Cockles and Mussels” or In “In Dublin’s Fair City”.

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