About us

Who am I?

Hello! My name is Claire Santry. In the picture below, you can see me sitting alongside two of my brothers on a wooden train our Grandad had made us.

Yes, this photo was from several years ago, and no, I don’t wear my skirts quite so short any more.

About five years after this photo was taken, I thought I had discovered my calling: I opened a bedroom ‘Museum’ which could more appropriately be called a pop-up Museum as entrance tickets were issued only rarely; my parents, grandparents, and their friends indulged me by giving a sixpence at the door as admission fees.

Telling Stories
Since I had always loved history and storytelling (something I definitely inherited from my Grandad), I would search out or create “priceless” exhibits with captivating tales attached. For instance, Queen Victoria’s pearl button became loose just moments before entering Westminster Abbey for her wedding ceremony, but Ellen, ever ready with needle and thread, quickly sewn it back on quickly before walking down the aisle! Whew!

Now it was in my bedroom! No touching is permitted.

Many exhibits at this year’s convention included young girls having adventures; for some reason these characters were most commonly called Ellen. One story detailed how 12-year-old Ellen Driscoll, having reached Mount Everest moments before Edmund Hillary had fallen from its summit and broken her ankle while trying to return down again.

Her body was never discovered; only a boot lace and luggage label bearing her name and address were ever recovered, both now in my possession. Ellen never received the recognition she so richly deserved in life.

Reporting and researching stories
From creating stories about the past, I later studied History and Political Philosopy at University College London and, after some tinkering around and spending a year working and having fun in Paris, settled upon journalism as my profession of choice – something which had always seemed inevitable!

Over the years I’ve written for numerous publications in Ireland, England, Northern Ireland and the USA. My areas of specialty are business, architecture and construction, travel and, more recently, genealogy.

History being my passion, genealogy quickly became something of an obsession for me and soon after starting on this path I could no longer resist its pull.

Combining my hobby and work skills was an obvious decision!

Storytelling runs in our family.

As shown above, my grandfather created an LMS cabouchons wooden train ‘engine’ for each of his first three grandchildren.

Grandad, who joined the Limerick, Munster & Skibbereen Railway as a Boy-Clerk at age 16 in 1919 and went on to work at Dungarvan, Bagenalstown and Athlone stations over several decades, explained to us what LMS meant: Limerick Munster Skibbereen Railway.

As I discovered many years later – long after his death – LMS stands for London Midlands & Scottish Railway company!

Goodness knows where he got this memorabilia from.