Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Visitor from Australia Traces the Steps of Her Orphan Girl Ancestor - Late Summer 2017

Helen Wilding with Husband Stephen Shipperlee and Eddie Cantwell

Helen Wilding with Husband Stephen Shipperlee Outside the Hospital

Eddie Cantwell has carried out quite a bit of research on the forty two orphan girls that were shipped out of Dungarvan Workhouse in 1849.  He has also tracked down some of the living families of some of those orphan girls. He was delighted when Helen Wilding contacted him and said that she was going to visit Dungarvan.  

First Helen visited Cobh, where her ancestor, fifteen year old Sarah Gleeson began her journey to Australia.  Her visit to Cobh, St. Joseph’s Dungarvan and the Famine Graveyard was a moving experience for her.  Helen, who is a research librarian in Melbourne, was very taken with Dungarvan.  She said that ‘it would have been fantastic growing up with lots of friends around in a place like this.  I thought the town had a really nice feeling.  I felt really comfortable there as if it was somehow 'just right'.  I was even really sad at the hurling outcome and I am never usually at all interested in sports!’  

Helen paints little pictures in her notebook and adds notes.  This particular one which she kindly gave to Eddie was taken from Meade’s Café.

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