BANDON could be in line for a visit from the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau after it was revealed that he is a direct descendant of the Bernard family from the town.
While visiting Ireland this week with wife Sophie and son Hadrien, he was presented with research that linked him to Bandon at the Irish Emigration Museum in the company of Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.
Researchers found that through his mother, Margaret Sinclair, Justine is a direct descendant of the Bernard family and they traced his family back 10 generations in 17th century Ireland.
The research revealed that in 1661 Francis Bernard married Mary Freake and had six daughters and two sons. It found that Prime Minister Trudeau is descended from their younger son Arthur Bernard, who was High Sheriff of Cork in 1697 and MP for Bandon from 1713-14.
In 1695, Arthur married Anne Power of Mount Eglantine, Co Waterford and they had 10 daughters and four sons, including Trudeau’s great grandfather Francis Bernard.
Francis got his degree from Trinity in 1729 after it took him seven years to complete and he then moved to England. His grandson’s generation relocated to Singapore and Malaysia and remained there for a century until the Bernard family emigrated to Canada.
However this research isn’t entirely new, as Catherine Fitzmaurice who runs the website, Bandon Genealogy and is a member of Bandon Tidy Towns, said she flagged this back when Trudeau was elected Prime Minister in 2015.
‘The funny thing is that I posted this on Facebook back when he got elected and no one seemed interested in this,’ Catherine told The Southern Star.
‘I think there was a missed opportunity on Tuesday as they should have invited Lady Frances up to Dublin to meet Justin, which would have been a lovely touch for the occasion. It seems that the Canadians seem way more excited about the Bandon connection and they hold him in high regard.’
Catherine feels that Trudeau’s connection to Bandon could definitely boost tourism in the town.
‘More Canadians will come to visit here if they know the connection. This is good for Bandon and tourism in general,’ added Catherine.