Tag: Rathlin

The Blacks, McCurdys and McFauls

| July 12, 2016 | 0 Comments
Bob chats it up with John McCurdy, who has worked the Rathlin Island Ferry for decades

Bob chats it up with John McCurdy, who has worked the Rathlin Island Ferry for decades

Back the day, there were essentially three families on the Island, the Blacks the McCurdys and the McFauls. There was much intermarriage among these families and all three names populate all three family trees. One of the challenges for Bob in building and maintaining our family tree is that there are multiple appearances of McFauls in our tree. Bob says that we might have more McFaul blood in us than Black blood. Of course, our connection to the Black Family singers and the fact that we were staying at their house, gave us special status. In any event, everyone we met with one of those names is likely a relative and knew it.

From the minute we walked onto the ferry to the island we were greeted as family even though none of us had been to the island in years.  John McCurdy knew Bob and Richard and knew the whole Black family story. He even knew we were staying at the singing Blacks homestead. They all spent the ferry ride catching up on developments on the island. There were a could of recent deaths of well-known figures on the island, people with whom Bob was very friendly. Chief among him was Augustine “Gusty” McCurdy who has written numerous books about Rathlin and ran the historical society.  We paid our respects at his grave the next day.

On to Rathlin

| July 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Our Rathlin ferry was schedule for 6:30, so we left John’s at about 4 pm. Richard has been doing the driving and we’ve minimized the “wrong side of the road” challenge by sticking to highways as much as possible.

We did a FaceTime call with Michael Black, our host, on the way. Sadly, Michael will not be joining us on Rathilin due to a medical issue he needs to attend to in San Francisco. It will be his first summer missing his visit to Rathlin in 20 years. I learned later how significant his absence would be for the people of Rathlin.

We called Michael en route. I have never done a FaceTime call and it was pretty amazing to be driving down the highway in Belfast having a video call with Michael in San Francisco to prepare our arrival on Rathlin.  He had gone to great lengths to prepare our accommodations, including having his niece, Aiofe (Frances’s daughter), drive up from Dublin to get the house ready. Aiofe is also a musician with a strong following in Ireland. Her most popular single is Along the Wild Atlantic Way. it’s great!  But on this day, she’s our housekeeper. Only in Ireland….

Michael Black's indestructible jeep

Michael Black’s indestructible jeep

Michael also left us his jeep at the dock for use while on the island. I loved tooling around the island in the very durable vehicle. The stick shift brought me back to my early driving days.