21 Sullivan Street

Rachel Thompson
June 17, 2013

After a three mile walk, a quick cab ride and a bit of Ireland’s signature chilly wind along the way, there it was.  21 Sullivan Street.  A small, picturesque house tucked into the corner of the street beside a wall.

Not exactly a commonly visited spot by most tourists in Dublin.  But 21 Sullivan Street was among the most important things on my list.  It was the house that belonged to my great-grandfather, John Thompson, before he left Ireland on a boat to start his new life in America.

Knowing I was close to it but unfamiliar with the streets, I hailed a cab to get me to the address my grandfather had given me.  “Y’ve got Irish blood in yeh, heh?” the driver smiled, as I told him of the reason for my visit to a small street he’d never heard of.

The driver dropped me off in front of a row of houses and leaned his head out the window to help me find it.  25, 24, 23, 22, the block was coming to an end.  Until I saw it, ensconced comfortably in the corner.  I stood and admired it.  Flowers sat atop a windowsill, and a handpainted plaque read “21.”

I didn’t realize until much after I’d planned my trip to Ireland that 2013 is an especially appropriate time to visit.  In January, the country launched “The Gathering”, a year-long event to reach out to Irish descendents and relatives and bring them to Ireland.  The Gathering means extra efforts by Irish towns and communities to promote what makes the country such a great place, deeply rooted in history and pulsing with adventure.

In finding a little house in a small Dublin neighborhood, The Gathering hit home for me.  A small brick of my family history brought to life.


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Rachel Thompson

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi there! I&#39;m a California native studying journalism in one of the coolest cities in the world, at The University of Texas at Austin. I&#39;m a fan of chocolate, watching sports (go Giants), nice people, anything vintage and pretty much all music. I write as much as I can, whether it&#39;s a news article, a blog, or just a journal entry. When I&#39;m not writing, I love to run, try new recipes in my little kitchen, take dance classes and catch up with friends. My goal is to see every continent someday. I&#39;m getting there!</span></p>

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