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Hochul Visits an Ancestral Home, 3,000 Miles From the Governor’s Mansion

For much of her whirlwind tour in Europe, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York focused on looking forward for solutions to worldwide crises like global warming and a lack of affordable housing.

But as she visited County Kerry, Ireland, Ms. Hochul paused to linger in the past.

Here in Kilshannig, a small fishing village on a remote stretch of sandy beach, the governor is still known as Kathleen Courtney, the granddaughter of John Courtney and Mary Browne, who emigrated separately to the United States as teenagers over a century ago in search of greater opportunity.

They would later meet in Chicago, where they married before moving to Buffalo, the governor’s hometown, to work at the steel mill there. Every so often, as money and time allowed, the family would make the trip back to the Maharees, a peninsula that juts off Ireland’s west coast and contains three small towns: Fahamore, Kilshannig and Candeehy.

On Sunday, around 100 local residents, county council members and relatives gathered in Spillane’s Bar in Fahamore for a civic reception to honor Ms. Hochul.

Almost everyone who crowded into the low-ceilinged pub looking for a selfie or a handshake with their distinguished American guest claimed to share ancestry with the governor through her grandparents.

“My mother and her grandmother were first cousins,” said Mary Harrington-McKenna, 75, who lives in the town. “It’s very exciting to have our cousin, the governor of New York, visit where her grandparents came from.”

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