A south Mayo community is hoping for a potential future visit from Kevin McCarthy, the newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the third most powerful politician in America.
Research carried out in recent days by Gerard Delaney of the South Mayo Family Research Centre shows that Mr. McCarthy’s great-grandmother, Mary Heskin, emigrated to the United States from The Neale area, near Ballinrobe, in the 1800s.
Mary, a young widow, met and married Jeremiah McCarthy who had emigrated from Cork. The couple were wed in Tihachiopia, a city in Kern County, California.
Mr. Delaney provided this background: “Mary Heskin had fourteen siblings when growing up here. She married a local man, Michael Davoren. After Michael died, aged only 24, Mary went to America where she met Jeremiah. After they married they had four sons, Jeremiah, Thomas, Owen and John”.
After noting remarks by Kevin McCarthy on a number of occasions that his ancestors came from Cork and Mayo, Gerard Delaney extensively researched the Mayo connection.
“When I hit upon the marriage of Jeremiah McCarthy all the pieces the jigsaw fell together”, he explained.
Heskin is a common surname in the south Mayo area. Due to the fact that Mary Heskin was one of fifteen children, Mr. Delaney believes it is a certainty that the newly elected Speaker has to have cousins in the south Mayo area and indeed further afield.
Elected public representatives in the south Mayo area have welcomed the fact that ancestral connections have definitely been established between Mr. McCarthy and The Neale.
“I am delighted to see the descendant of a local woman who emigrated in hard times doing so well”, commented Michael Burke, a member of Mayo County Council yesterday.
“I am sure Kevin will be warmly welcomed if he ever decides to visit here”, Damian Ryan, also a member of Mayo County Council, said. “Mayo certainly has friends in high places when one considers that U.S. President Joe Biden also has strong ancestral roots here”.