As we knocked on the door it was apparent that no one was in (it was extraordinarily easy to find the building). While we were knocking another lady stopped to see if she could help. We asked for Pat Ryan and explained what we were trying to do. "We are hoping to find a connection to any families known as Heafy," informed my husband. "Oh I would certainly think so! There are many Heafys in the area!" Our lovely lady turned out to be Margaret O'Brien, born and raised in Lismore, who insisted that she take us to Pat Ryan's home. We convinced her to join us in our car and off we went.
Pat Ryan, himself, was home and after asking Margaret how she was doing said he could shed no light. "We only have records for the last 30 years or so." After musing for a bit with Margaret they both came up with the idea that we should go see Father Mike at the local Catholic Church but that first we should stop by and see John Sullivan as his very mother was a Heafy wasn't she.
So off we went to see if John Sullivan might be home. "He is such a lovely man, newly retired," noted Margaret, "but he is known to take a walk, so he may not be home." But home he was. John mused and expressed his doubt. "The family goes way back, it is doubtful that there is any connection. Besides, my mother's family isn't specifically from Lismore but more from Ballyheefy." Rick started- "But that is where many members of my family are from!" I was looking carefully to see if I could see any family resemblance. John agreed with Pat Ryan and said - "Go see Father Mike."
Father Mike cut us off very quickly. "I am so sorry not to be able to help you. I do not assist with genealogical searches, I just don't have the time and you'd be surprised how many requests I receive. I am sorry but I don't even have time to visit with you today as I have many pressing matters." Of course we understood and appreciated the leads he gave us to explore our search further. He then proceeded to spend about 45 minutes with us showing us the Church and all the improvements that had been done. I was so struck by one thing that Father Mike stated, "Rigidity in religion doesn't work. It flows between faith and doubt and that is only natural. If you try to force faith you simply lose the connection in the relationship." Go Father Mike!
We thought to have been in Lismore for perhaps two hours.. well - it was more like four hours with our new friends. It was special indeed, to think that we were walking the very streets that Rick's relatives walked as early as the mid-1700s. It was just a magical day, to be welcomed in, sharing thoughts and ideas and realizing that through spirit or blood we are all truly connected through the heart.