Journey’s Return

He was born in Rotunda Hospital , Dublin in 1913. A firstborn son to Helen and Charles Henry Finlay. Just another Irish boy, who would always uphold his ancestory with pride.

But he was not just any Irish boy, to most of those that knew him.

He was special.

Charlie and his Golden Girl had many an ‘adventure’ after this photo was taken!

He travelled to Africa, to make a new life for his young bride and two children in 1948.

Long before this, though, his family had moved to Limerick. He had a younger sister, Nell and a brother John. (He always called him ‘Brother John’).
They lost their Dad in 1926, and Charlie had to go out and look for a job to help support his Mam, sister and brother John. His youth and schooling was cut short. But his education did not stop because of this.


That was how his career in flour milling began. One of his life long friendships began in the Ranks flour mill in Limerick, Ireland. That of Arthur Mc Dermott.
Charlie ran study groups to help others to achieve after he became a qualified miller. Well paid work was hard to come by, but there were jobs for the qualified.



He spoke often of their cycling days, their courting days and his camping expedition with a friend to Kilmacow.

He bought a ring at James Morgan Jewellers in Patrick Street, Cork; and waited for his lady to make up her mind on the date. And she did keep him waiting! The rest is history.

He married his sweetheart on 5th December 1942.

In 1945 they were parents to their first daughter.

Brother John had followed his then girlfriend, Kitty from Kilmacow to London, but split up with her soon after.
He met Esther and married on 26th July 1947 in England.
Both Helen and Nell attended. John and Esther went on to have two daughters, Sheila and Jean.

It was around this time that Charlie and Eleanor, awaiting the birth of her second daughter, were packing and planning their trip to South African where he had secured a post.

Their trip was paid for by the milling company who needed qualified men such as Charles.
They travelled to England and said their farewells to Mam, Nell and John in Reading, England.
The adventure began on 6th January 1948 with a three year old and an eight week old baby as they boarded the ship in Southampton. They arrived in a strange land, with no friends nor family to greet them.

They were immigrants. And they stayed for the rest of their lives, had two more children – and it was home to them always.

The story does not end here.

Charlie had a grand daughter who married in South African and also immigrated, but to Ireland almost 60 years to the day from when Eleanor and Charlie had made a similar journey; only then it was from Northern hemisphere to Southern.
They arrived in Dublin with no friends nor family to greet them, with two children.
They are still there now.

A year later, a new baby was born.

He was born in Rotunda hospital in Dublin in December 2007.

Charlie in some strange sort of way, was back!



The End
(please click)

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About liz2you

Life just happens when you plan something else. 50 years spent in Africa and relevant stories.
This entry was posted in Africa, History, Ireland, nostalgia, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Journey’s Return

  1. Sheelagh Hansen-Violets Daughter for those that don't know says:

    Awesome I was able to fill in a few more pieces of my Ancestry tree. Thanks Betty Keep up the great work
    Love Sheelagh

    Hi me again do you have birth date of Nell John and Ester and Esters maiden name?
    Thanks

  2. Sheila Amatuzzi says:

    My name is Sheila Finlay Amatuzzi and I am the daugher of John & Esther Finlay. They spent their married life in Haworth, West Yorkshire and my sister Jean still lives within five miles of our family home. John, always known as Jack, was born on 26th June 1919 and died 5.5.1993. Esther (Anderton) was born 1.10.1925 and died 4 July 1998. I cannot recall Nell’s dates without checking. Mum and Dad, with my sister Jean visited Charlie and Eleanor in SA in about 1981.

  3. Jean Binney nee Finlay says:

    Hi, I’m Jean, the younger of John and Esthers two girls. Unlike my OLDER sister i’m quite good with dates and Esther died 4 July 1997. I visited Uncle Charlie and Aunt Eleanor in 1981 with my mum and dad. I remember meeting Sheelagh as she was on a visit as well I think.

  4. ruth turner says:

    Hi, i am the daughter of Jean and the Granddaughter of Esther and John. My full name is Ruth Boneta Binney and my parents gave me my middle name after Betty’s daughter Bonny. I think it is reall interesting seeing all the old pictures and hearing about my grandparents life.

  5. Shani says:

    Hi Mom. Brought tears to my eyes. Loved to hear the full history of our lives, Doesn’t seem so sentimental when you living it but after reading it, just puts everything into place. When driving places that I know Granny and Grandpa had spoken about I always wonder if they were where I had just been.

  6. liz2you says:

    And I am sure they were in those places. I wish I had listened more and not always found my life and time more important. There are huge gaps, and often Pat will say just one word and the memories flood back. The I feel a story coming on.

  7. Pingback: The Dear Little Shamrock | homefieldsdotme

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