The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#79) - Blarney Romany Caravans, Ireland 1971

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

My grandfather, Michael John Hanley Jr. (1924-2015), and grandmother, Betty Grace Sears Hanley (1924-1981), took a trip to Ireland in 1971. This is one of the photos from that trip.

Blarney Romany Caravans - 1971

Blarney Romany Caravans - 1971

These horse drawn caravans appeared to be popular tourist attractions in and around the County Cork areas that my grandparents visited. This one was from an outfit called "Blarney Romany Caravans".

Blarney is a city in County Cork, a bit northeast of the Bears Peninsula where my 2nd great grandmother, Ellen Sullivan Hanley (1850-1938), and her family came from. Specifically they lived in the Ballydonegan area. 

Blarney is also home of the famous Blarney Castle where the mythic Blarney Stone is located. The legend goes that if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be bestowed with great eloquence and skillful flattery.

Apparently the act of kissing the stone is no small feat:

"The kiss, however, is not casually achieved. To touch the stone with one's lips, the participant must ascend to the castle's peak, then lean over backwards on the parapet's edge. This is traditionally achieved with the help of an assistant. Although the parapet is now fitted with wrought-iron guide rails and protective crossbars, the ritual can still trigger attacks of acrophobia, an extreme or irrational fear of heights." - Wikipedia

I'll have to fact check this with my family, but I seem to remember grandpa telling a story about losing his glasses in his ritualistic kissing of the Blarney Stone.

Here is a photo of my grandparents from that same trip, though I don't think this is in the Blarney area. My best guess is that it is the International Hotel in Killarney, Ireland, another location I know they visited. 

Michael and Betty Grace Hanley, 1971

Michael and Betty Grace Hanley, 1971

Back to Blarney though! I did a youtube search and found a couple of lovely vintage videos of people touring this area in the late 1960s and early 1970s, right around the time of my grandparents visit. 

These both give a good feel of what my grandparent's visit might have been like. Enjoy!

1968, a holiday with Blarney Romany Caravans.

Horse drawn caravans from Blarney Castle


  • Did my grandparents, in fact, kiss the Blarney Stone?
  • Where is that 2nd photo taken? Killarney? What was the International Hotel and is it still there?
  • Do you have roots in County Cork, Ireland? What sort of stories or lore have you heard about your family's origins there?
  • Was this "true" Ireland or just the touristy part?
  • What is the area like today?
  • What do you think, wonder, and feel as you look at these photos and videos? What kind of mood do they convey?