We went to Wexford in part because some of Our People are from here — namely Pierce Michael Sinnott, who came over sometime around the Potato Famine and established a family in Boston (see Where’s the Little Guy?). Pierce was from Wexford but we don’t know which part of the county, which makes it hard to figure out anything else about him.
In the absence of further information, I decided we should “get in touch with our roots” by going to the pub. Namely, Sinnott’s Pub, in the little town of Duncormick, about half an hour from Wexford. We can’t prove we’re related to these particular Sinnotts — it turns out there were a lot of Sinnotts in Wexford back in the day — but we can’t prove we’re not, either! Also, I happened to know from the internet that it’s in an adorable old building with a shaggy thatch roof.
In the absence of further information, Cathy indulged in a favorite Anderton pastime: creating and promoting a ridiculous theory. Pierce’s name, she postulated, proved that he wasn’t among the poorest of the poor.
“Is Pierce the name of a peasant?” she asked me rhetorically while we had a drink at the hotel bar across from our B&B (she, her usual Guinness; me, a glass of Red Breast whiskey).
“Of course it could be,” I said. “We lack any context to draw a conclusion about that.”
Dissatisfied with my response, she addressed the bartender. He offered no opinion but was happy to recite a litany of English crimes against the Irish over the centuries.
So on our drive around County Wexford, we stopped in Duncormick, which consists of a clutch of houses, a pub or three, and a church. The first time we went through, Sinnott’s was closed and nobody answered the door. But a passerby with a dog and a thick Irish accent advised us that the proprietor, 87-year-old John “Sammy” Sinnott, had gone out for a while and would be back later. So we took a photo, had a wander through the church graveyard, and headed on.
On our way back to town at the end of the day we stopped by again. This time Mr. Sinnott was home. He had recently been released from the hospital and everyone in Duncormick, it seems, was stopping by to drop off food and wish him well.
Not wanting to drive after dark, we only stayed for a short time, but it was clear why everyone loves him: he’s a great talker, and a good listener too. He told us about his trips to Texas and California, and his friendship with a rock band manager, which led to a friendship with Jerry Garcia.
While he knows a lot about local history, he wasn’t able to tell us anything about “our” Sinnotts — including whether Pierce is the name of a peasant. But that was all right. For me, just taking photos in front of Sinnott’s would have been enough. Meeting the man himself was icing on the cake.