1949 Letter from Ellen McGrath 
to 
Nell Fay nee Daly
daughter of her cousin John Daly
 
 
 
“ No place in the world has ever been half so sweet to me as Darragh.

I lie in bed at night and go back. ”  

                                                    Ellen McGrath 1949

           


Margaret, Ellen and Victor Fimia, NY. 1950’s

 

Nellie was 75 by this time and made some mistakes with names in the following letter.  Corrections are in [  ].

15 y K, Vedado,

    Havana, Cuba

        Jan 7, ’49

Dear Mrs. Fay:

    It was sad news to me, the death of my dear cousin Johnny.  God rest his gentle soul.  Do not grieve too much.  You enjoyed him for a long time.  I did not like that pain in his back at his age.

Johnny & Rebecca below

  
It seems like yesterday we were all children together in Darragh.  All the Dalys were beautiful and gentle.  you may not know, but they come from fine old stock.  The Valences (Valens) were of the French house of Bourbon (Kings).  Margaret was King John of England’s Queen.  [It was actually Isabel].  On his death she went back to France, and either she or her daughter married the Duke of Valence.  [Isabel went back to France and married Hugh de Luisgnan, one of their sons become William de Vallence].  John’s and her sons brought her French sons to England and Ireland.  All the territory of Darragh was theirs.

There was a marriage with the Bevans, which your Aunt Mary told me ended in a week by the death of Pakenham Valence.  His horses threw him.  His wife, Bevan, went back.  Twenty-one years after a young man appeared and said he was Valences’ son.  Then Hamilton Gale later bought out the Bevans. 

    Your great grandma was Mary Valence, who lived till I was about three years old, married a Daly.  The Dalys in some queer way lost their farm at the foot of Darragh hill.  They used to say that a man from Australia said he was the oldest son and sold either to Gale or Bevan [ I am not sure about this - she may have Valence story confused with Daly’s.  We need to try and find documentation].  Poor man was dispossessed of everything.  Those were the days when Catholics were defrauded of everything.

    There are those who say we should forget.  Well, should we?  Those of us who had to breast the world on foreign soil with little or no preparation for the awful struggle are not so willing to forget.  No place in the world has ever been half so sweet to me as Darragh.  I lie in bed at night and go back.  I sometimes fear that God will send me to Darragh instead of to Heaven.  Do pray for me that He won’t.  Heaven surely will be sweeter.

    I am getting very old now.  I was about three months younger than your Aunt Mary.  She used to lord it over me and I was afraid of breaking the fourth commandment if I disobeyed her.

    I knew your mother and all her sisters [the Berminghams].  They were lovely girls, Bridgie, Mary, (your mother [ her mother was actually Rebecca], Alice and I think Rebecca.  The older girls were out of school when I went to Ballyorgan with my mother.  Bridgie was a little older than I & your mother was older than Bridgie.  Alice died young.   She was more beautiful than any of them.

    Now I have a letter from your cousin Emily Daly in New York & one from Catherine Moynihan nee in Ballyorgan & I must owe a letter to Tony Hackett besides all my nephews and nieces & the few of my brothers and sisters who still remain, so you see my old eyes & hands need an amanuensis.

    Try not to grieve too much for your gentle father.  I am going to have a Mass said for him.  Pray for him.  The rosary is a beautiful offering.

    Tell me something about yourself and your husband and your brothers & sisters.

    I send you my dearest love and hope that your life will be good and holy and that it may please God to gather us all in together in heaven.

                May the New Year bring you peace and happiness.

                                Your affectionate cousin

                                        Ellen MGrath de Galban

                                    ( Mrs. Luis S. Galban)

The Fay wedding  

Thank you to John Fay & for this letter and pictures of the Dalys