Visit to Ireland 1968

Peck hada keen sense of his Irish ancestry and in 1968 visited the ancestral home in Co Kerry.

Local journalist, Seamus MacConville takes up the story.

"Gregory Peck and I met for the first time on the roadside at Minard, Lispole in September 1968. It was a pleasant Saturday afternoon when he and his wife Veronique drove slowly along the narrow roads that led to his cousins house'.

He proceeded to the Curran household where Gregory walked into the neat kitchen and announced to Jack Curran "I'm your cousin from America". Gregory Peck felt instantly at home. Here was a man who shared his own flesh and blood.

Their grandmothers - Catherine and Mary Ashe - were sisters, and upstairs in bed was the 87 year-old man of the house, Tom Curran, his father's first cousin.

Gregory was invited upstairs to meet the old man. They chatted for a while tracing their relationship and with the film star filling his cousin in on the life of his own grandmother, Catherine Ashe, who had emigrated to the States from Minard and married a baker named Samuel Peck. They lived in Rochester, New York. They had one son, whom they called Gregory. Samuel died a young man, and his wife brought her son back to Kerry for a few years before returning to the States where she became a successful sales lady in the under garment business and her son became a pharmaceutical chemist.

The actor was later to discover that there were some people still around Lispole and Dingle who could remember his father visiting the area as a child and subsequently - in 1953 - with the star's only brother, Donald. Gregory Peck walked away from the Curran house chuckling at the memory of his cousin, upstairs in bed with his cap on. He was so pleased to meet a man who was so closely connected to him, and he has kept in touch with the Curran household ever since.

Peck and his wife went to mass in Dingle Church the following morning and subsequently visited the sacristy topore over the register of births and marriages. He was very much interested in seeing his grandmother's details, but he also wanted to establish the connection between himself and the patriot Thomas Ashe.

His wife glanced at a photograph of Thomas Ashe and exclaimed "My goodness there is a great resemblance between him and Greg's eldest son Jonathan Gregory." She asked for a copy of the photograph.A picture of the patriot was also hung in the actor's home in Beverly Hills


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