Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Mark Lacey

I've been a little slow to get back to blogging in the new year.  I made some exciting discoveries at the end of 2015 and was writing a lot, but after the holiday break, it's been hard to get back in the swing of things.  The good news is that I think I'm on the precipice of a major breakthrough with my very challenging Griffin ancestors, and I hope I'll be writing about that soon.  In the meantime, there's nothing like a GeneaBloggers Daily Blogging Prompt to force one to just start typing.

The tomb of Mark Lacey on Omey Island

Mark Thomas Lacey

Mark Thomas Lacey was my second great-grandfather.  His son, Thomas Mark Lacey, my great-grandfather, left their hometown of Rossadillisk, Ireland in the early 1900s, sailed to San Francisco, and started the California branch of the Lacey tree.

Mark Lacey was born about 1848 in Rossadillisk, on the far west edge of Connemara in County Galway.  He was married first to my second great-grandmother, Bridget Feeney.  She died young, after bearing two children, Thomas and John.  Mark then married his second wife, Mary Coyne. They had seven children together.  Three of their sons would die in the Cleggan Disaster in 1927.  Only Mary would witness that tragedy, however.  Mark Lacey died on August 10, 1908, nearly twenty years before the terrible storm at sea.

Mark Lacey and Mary Coyne Lacey are buried on Omey Island. Buried in the same plot is their daughter Mary Lacey O’Toole, son-in-law Patrick O’Toole and grandson Michael O’Toole.

Close up of Mark Lacey's stone
Omey Island is a tidal island located on the southwestern portion of the peninsula where the Laceys lived in County Galway.  To get there, you travel to Claddaghduff, wait for the tide to go out, and then walk or drive across the sand to the island.  It's then important to get back off the island before the tide rises.  Omey Island was once the home of an ancient monastery.  Today, it's visited primarily for the graveyard and an annual horse race.  The gravestones that are still legible date back into the 1800s, but this island was a burial ground long before then.  This is a tough environment for tombstones, though.  Between the ocean salt and the fierce wind, engraved stones are soon wiped clean.  Most of the markers on the island are just that--- round pieces of rock, worn down, without words.

Driving across the sand to Omey Island
Looking towards Claddaghduff from Omey Island
Memorial to the Cleggan Disaster on Omey Island

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