Pat Shortt discovers he's basically an Offaly man on RTE series

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Justin.Kelly@offalyexpress.ie

Pat Shortt with his father Christy during the filming of Who Do You Think You Are for RTE

Much-loved comedian and actor Pat Shortt has traced much of his family roots to Offaly through the RTE series, Who Do You Think You Are.

Screened on Sunday, the show traced Pat's family tree from his own native Thurles, to Birr, America and the UK. 

Pat always knew his family's connection to Offaly and the show uncovered the earliest record of a 'Shortt' headstone in Pallas cemetery near Birr.

Pat's great-great grandfather Tom lived there, and had a large number of kids, including William, the youngest, Pat's great-grandfather.

William's siblings had all moved away by the time he was born, a great source of sadness for him throughout his life.

William was known to cry at Christmas with the longing to know his long lost brothers and sisters, and in fact wrote to one of his sisters late in his life.

She had died before it reached her daughters in America, but they wrote back in gratitude of his contact. He had included a photograph of himself with the letter.

William was born in 'The Rocks,' a thatched cottage near Birr. Pat remembers visiting there as a child and, during the filming of the show, went back to Birr to meet his cousin Jimmy Shortt. 

The pair returned to 'The Rocks' which is now an overgrown rundown building and recalled the days of their childhood. Pat also visited the graveyard at Pallas to see his ancestors' grave stone.

The show also saw Pat trace his gran-uncle Brendan to London, a noted musician, telephone engineer and inventor who worked on wartime technology in Britain during World War II.