Genealogy Travel: McCool homestead in Northern Ireland

Genealogy Travel

Genealogy travel (trip to learn about or research family history) is one of my favorite purposes of travel. While I have taken many genealogy road trips, none was more memorable than being shown the home built by and lived in by McCools in Northern Ireland from 1670s.

My family was extremely fortunate to be guided to the McCool ancestral home by a distant cousin living in Northern Ireland. Tommy McCoole shared much history and great times.

The home (first picture below) was occupied by John and Olivia McCool in the 1670s. A second building (second picture below) on the property dates back almost as far; it was probably built for one of the sons.

The above link goes to a Google Map showing a bird’s eye view of the area. Note McCoole’s Road (McCool’s Road) on the left side of the map.

The road going to the right of the farm is closed to traffic. We had to hop a fence (escorted) and walk to the McCool houses. Follow the top whiteish, grayish line. The two buildings are near the end of the road(s). The first (lower) building is the son’s home. The upper building is the original house.

Note the river to the right of the houses; you can scroll the map (and pan out) to follow the River Moyola to Lough Neagh.

genealogy travel
McCool Ancestral Home, Toberhead, Northern Ireland
genealogy travel
McCool Ancestral Home (#2), Toberhead, Northern Ireland

Note: At the time of the visit, my connection to the known house owners was supposed but not completely documented. DNA testing has since proven that my direct ancestor was another person (Archibald McCool) living in the same area at that time (late 1600s-early 1700s). While a connection to John McCool (the house owner) is all but certain (his brother, I suspect) that relation is unproven.

Am I related to Finn McCool? Hmmmm. good question.

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19 thoughts on “Genealogy Travel: McCool homestead in Northern Ireland”

  1. I am a descendent of Archibald McCool……great grandfather and grandfathers were Stanton McCool.
    Do you have any info on Archibalds parent, grandparents, etc….
    My DNA said that I am 40% Scottish so I am wondering who and how.
    We are planning a trip summer of 2023 to Ireland and Scotland (hubby is a descendent of the Stewarts)

  2. Very (Mc)cool! I have never tried to figure out my family history, but I can see the attraction. Nice the building’s still standing.

  3. How interesting! Did you feel like you were “at home”? Genealogy travel is so deeply personal to me- I finally felt that “at home” connection on 1st landing in Italy. What a great trip!

  4. WOW! what a fascinating experience to stand on the land of your ancestors from hundreds of years ago! Found this and interesting short read!

  5. My maiden name is McCool and we plan to visit Ireland next Summer. I hope to find out by that time where my ancestors were related to these in Ireland.

  6. Really interesting that you can trace your ancestry back so far and to such a lovely country as Ireland. My family is from Ukraine originally and virtually every record of where they lived has all but vanished. The DNA test you took seemed to reveal quite a bit of info

  7. I hope we we of to Ireland, to County Clare that we find our McInerney information. You must have rapt

  8. How very cool! that you found a McCool ancestral home in Toberhead on your trip to Northern Ireland. Travel with a purpose like this is always exciting.

    • Indeed, wonderful. Lots of advance research including connecting with a local who guided us and provided so much history. That sort of thing makes it all more special.

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