Tim Kaine, VicePresidential Nominee, Harmonica Player, and Irish Genealogist

TimKaineTim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President, has many talents and interests. Of interest to genealogists, Tim Kaine’s great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, emigrated from Ireland to Kansas, where he became a successful farmer.

Kaine certainly feels Ireland in his heart. Kaine is a member of The Irish National Caucus and of the Congressional Friends of Ireland. During his acceptance speech for The American Ireland Fund Leadership Award, he talked about his family’s 2006 trip to Ireland, where they found the ruins of his great-grandfather’s cottage in Killashee Parish, in Longford. He stated at the dinner: “I am about as stone Irish as you get for somebody whose family has been in the country for 150 years.”

He spoke at the American Ireland Fund about finding his roots:

“All four of my grandparents were born to Irish immigrants. Three to families where both the Mom and Dad were from Ireland and one to a family where the Mom was from Ireland and the Dad was Scottish born but moved to Northern Ireland before emigrating to the United States.

“And I will say this too, I am pure black Irish, there is not a red-headed Norseman anywhere in our family. But that makes this very, very special. Until I was 48 years old, Ireland played a huge and important role in my life but sort-of in the dreams of my life…I had never been to Ireland. So it was photos, it was genealogy and it was family stories and it was Roman Catholicism and it was music and it was St. Patrick’s Day. That’s what being Irish meant to me but I felt the deep connection to it.

“When I was Governor of Virginia in my first year, 2006, my wife Anne and I took our three children to Ireland to go find the ruins of the home where my great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, was born. My parents had been there before and found it. We went to Dublin and my children were having a blast, they were all teenagers and when I said ‘we have to spend a day traipsing around in the countryside instead of hanging around in Temple Bar and Grafton Street’ they were extremely disappointed in their Father.

“As we drove to Longford which isn’t exactly the tourist zone they continued to complain. But when we landed in Longford town my 11 year old daughter said to me, ‘Dad, why does everyone look like us?’ And they started to get it.

“And then we drove the 10 km to Killashee Parish and then we parked the vehicle and traipsed a half a mile across fields and found two still standing walls of what had been a house with windows and doors now with a tin roof stacked with hay and I told my children, ‘This is where we come from.’ And it, even with unruly and obnoxious teenagers it made a huge impact on them and since that time we have been back very, very often.”

Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, was also raised Irish Catholic before he turned to evangelical but the two men obviously have much in common.

You can read more in an article by Niall O’Dowd in the IrishCentral web site at http://goo.gl/d6BAv5.


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