This is the story of two local men from the parish of Paulstown Patrick Shortall and Daniel Walsh who emigrated to Le Sueur county, Minnesota. Both men married Kilkenny girls.
Then there was Dennis Doyle another Kilkenny man who reputedly taught Bishop Ireland in Kilkenny. Dennis Doyle had the first store in Kilkenny, and when the post office and railway came to the area he managed to have the settlement named Kilkenny due to the high incidence of Kilkennymen who had settled there.
Mary Shortall’s great great grandfather was Patrick Shortall who originated from Courleigh, Paulstown, Co. Kikenny. He emigrated to the US with his brothers, settled in what became the Kilkenny township of Minnesota. He married Mary Tierney also from Kilkenny. His brother Martin was the only male of the family to remain in Ireland and worked the family farm at Courleigh.
Thus Mary and her family are connected with John Shortall, a descendant, and his family who moved out of Paulstown parish to Graignamanagh some years ago. Patrick and Martin’s sister Mary Shortall married Pat Dawson and it is through this marriage that the family are connected with Michael Shortall and his family from Kellymount.
Mary currently lives in Oregon, while she has siblings in various parts of the U.S. The Shortall and Walsh families were pioneers in this land later settled by the influence of Bishop John Ireland whose origins were also from Kilkenny.
Mary and her husband Kenneth visited Kilkenny in 2010 arriving in Paulstown to search the old cemetery for Shortall tombstones. Having located the family grave they then visited Rothe House to document their Shortall ancestors from Courleigh.
Using www.rootsireland.ie at Rothe House it was possible to identify the family.
Mary and her siblings, their spouses arrived to Kilkenny on Friday 11th May 2012 where they were met at Rothe House.
They spent Saturday morning visiting variousattractions around Kilkenny city but the highlight of their visit was to Paulstown where they met their cousins. Following a visit to the grave of their forefathers they were taken on a personal tour of the family homestead and related houses in the upper reaches of the parish. Courleigh or cor lia meaning a grey hill, their ancestral home, sits over 1,000ft above sea level. From here there are wonderful views of the countryside and on a clear day one can see far distant parts of most south eastern counties. Conditions in Kilkenny, Minnesota were similar to their homeland. A descendant of Patrick Shortall told how they worked hard but also enjoyed the beautiful vistas and a landscape similar to home!
The visitors enjoyed a wonderful evening hosted by their relatives John and May Shortall and their family. Stories were exchanged and photographs of both families
viewed and enjoyed. This was the journey of a lifetime for them!
On Sunday they worshipped in St. Canice’s Church, the church in Kilkenny, Minnesota is also named St. Canice! They visited Cobh, Co. Cork from where so many Irish made their journeys to their new world, leaving the old world and their antecedents.