Sun, Dec

Finding My Irish by Sharon Bossard



A letter mailed from Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland, in 1949 provides an important link that connects family in America to cousins in Ireland. Extensive research through archival records in Dublin as well as vital information gathered in America furnishes the author and her husband with the information necessary to locate the villages, townlands, cemeteries, and parishes of her great-grandparents. Centuries-old family cottages are located and “treasures” are revealed. Secrets are uncovered and attached to those secrets are heartbreaking accounts of lives rife with hardships, unhappiness, and fierce family pride.

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Join the author and her husband as they journey through the towns of Cahersiveen, Ballinskelligs, Valentia, and Boyle in their relentless pursuit of family. Accompany them into the old cottages for conversations rich in folklore and truths. Follow in the footsteps of the author’s grandparents from Ireland to Connecticut and to the cowboy town of South Omaha in the late 1800s. Travel to the more modern city of Chicago at the turn of the century. Experience their lives first-hand—celebrate their joy and share in their sorrows. Guaranteed to capture your spirit and challenge your emotions, this 304-page book titled Finding My Irish will delight and hopefully inspire you to search for your Irish. An incredibly touching family story; you won’t be able to put it down.


Sharon Shea Bossard has been involved in researching her Irish roots for more than three years. Sharon began to wonder about her Irish when she realized that she and her siblings had no memory of family events or stories to tell their children. The author recalled family stories perceived through parents' whispered accusations, and she grew up believing that being Irish was akin to suffering from a dreaded disease--you knew you had it and lived with it as best you could. Recently becoming curious about her family history, she decided to search for any information regarding her Irish-born grandparents. Old documents revealed a story--one she couldn't ignore. Facts concerning the lives of her grandparents emerged and secrets were uncovered. An overwhelming curiosity directed the author to dig deeper into family records, to travel to the villages in Ireland where her grandparents were born, and to locate family who still reside in those villages.

Sharon has just recently discovered what has been a part of her since before she was born, and she has come to know and love that "Irish feeling," the feeling that first called her back to Ireland.

Sharon is an Irish citizen and currently lives with her husband in Lake Zurich, Illinois. She has one married daughter and a son-in-law who also reside in Lake Zurich. The author earned her Master's Degree from Northeastern Illinois University, majoring in Special Education, and taught for twenty-nine years in a suburban high school.