The winner of our Irish family tree story giveaway has been chosen!

A big thank you to all our readers who took the time to take part in our Irish Heritage Tree giveaway and shared with us their Irish family tree story. 

From inspiring stories of leaving Ireland's shores for America, family legends, and tracing Irish ancestry. Every family has a story worth sharing and it was a delight to read those from our IrishCentral community! 

The winner of the Irish Heritage Tree giveaway is Jo Anne Feldman who shared a brilliant story about her ancestors, the Quinn family from Co Galway. Her tree will be planted in our rural farmland situated near Drimoleague in the heart of West Cork.

Read the winner's story here:

"Andrew Quinn married Mary Kelly on October 4, 1840, in the diocese of Clonfert in County Galway, west Ireland. They had three children, two boys and a girl, John, Andrew, and Ann. 

Andrew Quinn Jr. was a religious child, serving in church all the time. He became a school teacher but was trained by his father Andrew in carpentry. The priest of St. Jarlath parish promised Andrew the next job opening as a reward for his services.

When one became available, the priest gave the position to the wealthy man’s son. This act of deceit discouraged Andrew, and he left Ireland for better opportunities in America. Before the Civil War, he taught school in LaGrange, Kentucky. After the war, Andrew moved to Upshur County in Texas, building soldier shacks for returning Confederate soldiers.

Ann reached the age where she had to choose between being a teacher or hiring herself out as a serving girl. Neither of these appealed to her. She wrote to her brother Andrew in America for passage money. When the money came, her parents gave her permission to leave. She and her brother John left for America. 

In church one day back in Galway, shortly after her sons had departed, the parish priest was giving a lengthy sermon about the boys deserting the country and leaving Ireland for America. He referred to this exodus as the “Blood Sucking” of Ireland.

Mary Kelly Quinn, much to the embarrassment of her husband, stood up in church and answered the priest back saying, 'If certain promises had been kept, a certain young man would NOT have left Ireland,' and with that, she flounced out of the church. When I visited St. Jarlath several years ago, the caretaker repeated that story to me when I told him that my great-grandmother Ann Quinn was baptized in that church. 'Ah,' he said, 'the Quinn man!' Tears were streaming down my cheeks."

Congratulations Jo Anne!

The Irish Heritage Tree program supports Ireland’s environmental initiative to restore native woodlands and return the landscape to nature. Planting these magnificent native trees ensures a greener Ireland for generations to come and now you can be part of that worthy endeavor, a symbol of your everlasting connection to Ireland.

The program is in collaboration with the Tree Council of Ireland and we're proud to say that as of last year, our original forest in Co Tipperary has now also planted 3,500 native trees.

Click here for more information on the Irish Heritage Tree and how you can purchase your own!