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Continue the Search for our McLaughlin Ancestors . . .

Ah, you're here!

'Short Round' and I have been waiting for you good to see you!

Ready for today's expedition?

Good... I see you brought your flashlight and canteen. We're going to need all the good light we can get, so we should leave for the hills now.

But, two things I want to tell you first -- to prepare you.

One -- I've got it on good authority that we will be digging up some pretty neat stuff today if it all goes according to plan. There are many families who start on similar expeditions, hoping to trace their ancestors back to royalty, riches, or characters of notoriety. Most of them will not succeed. What you find today may surprise you. The ancestors you will meet will be kings. But, they all put their royal pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. As far as I know. And the same goes for you and me -- one leg at a time. Just don't let it go to your head. Get my drift? Nobody likes to hang around people calling themselves "My Highness".

Two -- Past Irish history contains extreme violence. If they ever make a movie about early Irish clans and kings, it would be rated 'YR' for "Y R they fighting yet again?" You may learn today that our ancestors were always slaying their neighbors and cousins, and vice versa. Constantly. For centuries! You are going to ask, "Why?" Good question -- I'm not sure I understand it. It was what they did -- it was their lifestyle. Or maybe their diet made them excitable. I understand they were known to frequent the many O'Starbucks shops for their wicked "double-cappuccino specials."

Throughout the many annals of Irish history two themes persist. One is the coming and going of kings. The other is war. It seems that the hundreds of regional kingdoms had a culture based around war, with feuding between and among royal kindred, the righting of wrongs, the enforced collections of tributes and debts, and the inflicting of punishments for broken promises. And an endless series of cattle raids. It seems that early Irish families were cattle rustlers. As historian David McCullough describes, "To be glib, early medieval Ireland sounds like a somewhat crazed Wisconsin, in which every dairy farm is an armed camp at perpetual war with its neighbors, and every farmer claims he is a king." So if you think of the kings in that context -- less the John Deeres and OshKosh b'Gosh bib overalls -- you'll have a pretty good picture of daily life in early Ireland.

Anyway, enough said. Let's get on with our expedition before it gets too late.

What? You need to fill your canteen? Well, I know a great place, very nearby...