Monday, April 14, 2014

New Irish Photo Giveaway

Some many of you liked the photos I shared last month on Facebook and Twitter, that I decided it was time for a giveaway! These are photos from a calendar I made in the past. They are photos I took in Ireland in 2010. See the giveaway below and enter (the more categories you enter the more chances you will have to win!) Please share with your friends! Oh, and the size is 12" x 9 1/4", despite what the giveaway seems to say. :)


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ellis Island: A Thin Place

The following video is such a great inside look at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty that I wanted to share it with you. I felt the same way the visitors interviewed here felt--in awe. Everyone I've spoken to who has visited Ellis Island says the same thing. You get a feeling of appreciation, wonder, and respect. You might even sense the same thing by watching videos like this.

Seeing this caused me to contemplate the concept referred to as "a thin place" in Ireland. There are certain places where you can feel God's presence more than others. Many times these are settings in nature, but not always. Perhaps some places--because they are places of historical significance, because the people who came before us experienced something incredible there--hold a remainder of those experiences that we can still sense today. I've heard people say that about Gettysburg, for example. There are cathedrals and places of worship that exude emotion even when empty. Sometimes graveyards are the same way, and I have to wonder if it's because so many people have been there experiencing grief that still lies heavy on the place when they've gone away. In Annie's Stories there is a brief description of Annie wondering the same thing.

Thin places are often referred to in Celtic spirituality, but I believe it is a common experience with people all over the world where in certain locations, whether we seek them out or stumble upon them, the separation between heaven and earth is particularly thin.

What do you think? Is Ellis Island one of those places?


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Places in My Novel Grace's Pictures

One of the places in my novel (Grace's Pictures) where a lot of the action takes place is Battery Park.

Not only is Battery Park a beautiful place to visit where you can watch boats and observe the Statue of Liberty, it is full of history--the very spot many of our ancestors first embarked after leaving Ellis Island.

Immigrants arriving in Battery Park.

When I was there I admired this statue and the old trees surrounding it, imagining that many early immigrants must have sat near it and rested from their journeys. If you read Grace's Pictures, you'll remember this statue.



At the edge of Battery Park is Castle Clinton, which at the time of my Ellis Island series was an aquarium.

Today

In 1917

So much history exists on that small stretch of a park. Certainly much has changed. There are many statues now, not just the Ericsson one. The trees have grown large. On the weekends the park is filled with tourists, many who are preparing to take the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Street hawkers rest here, but there were certainly those in the era of my novels. And I noted something else. A rat scurried past me when I was there, and so Grace experiences the same thing in my novel. But don't let that deter you if you have the chance to visit. Go sit on a bench and watch the sunset and think about our immigrant ancestors arriving in that spot over a hundred years ago. That's what I was doing when I took this photograph.

©2012 Cindy Thomson

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Voice From Ireland's Past

Ancestry.com offers immigrant interviews to listen to for free. I could spend all day listening! Here is one with a lady named Lillian Doran Cavanaugh from Ballymore, County Westmeath.

http://ancstry.me/1g4L7RG

 I found this amusing in some spots, such as when she was asked if she knew how her parents met. She says she doesn't know: "They don't talk that way over there."

This may have been Lillian Doran Cavanaugh's church in Ireland 
Lillian and her sister Peg departed Ireland at Queenstown for America where their uncles awaited them.


At about 27:09 on the recording Lillian talks about her arrival in America.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Giveaway!

I've listed a Goodreads giveaway for Brigid of Ireland. I hope you'll help spread the word!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

Giveaway ends April 20, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win