Saturday, 30 June 2012


County Clare is to be part of The Gathering Ireland 2013
The Gathering is a unique opportunity for everyone to join a countrywide movement to support Ireland’s renewal. In order to achieve success, local communities, individuals, groups and organisations are invited to get involved in planning and promoting gatherings of their own.
A Community Meeting will take place on Monday, 2 July 2012 in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis commencing at 7.00pm. This meeting will provide an opportunity for local people to learn more about ‘The Gathering’ and how they can be involved.
You are invited to attend and to circulate this message and the attached to your contacts as appropriate.
Please confirm attendance by contacting Kathy on 065 – 6846429.
The coordination of the Clare Gathering 2013 is being jointly led by Clare County Council and Shannon Development.

PRISON REGISTERS has added Prison Registers to their Ireland Collection.

Here is the direct link to search.

Or try the main Ireland Collection at:

Thursday, 28 June 2012

CUINEAMH AND CHLAIR... Clare Oral History and Folklore Group...

From today's Clare Champion
What a wonderfully, interesting achievement this has been.... to preserve the stories and voices of the older citizens of the community, the eldest being 106... once again, this has been compiled by volunteers...


With thanks to Christina Hunt... IGP Archives  and Mary Heaphy

Mary Heaphy has typed up this list for the IGP Archives. I have pulled out a
few counties to make it easier to use.

PAPERS IN IRELAND (Clare Extracts)

*Where it says "The like" it is like restating "Proclamation".



The like against David MOLONEY and others, for unlawfully entering the dwelling
house of Bartholomew Connell of Lahardan, Co. Clare, with intent to Carry away
Hellen EGAN and Alice LYONS.


The like against several persons therein named, who riotously assembled on the
lands of Ballymorris and Cratloe, in the County of Clare, in possession of George


Proclamation for apprehending the several persons therein mentioned who were
concerned in the murder of John WALL, and in committing several felonies and
outrages on the lads of Luke WALL, of Springmount, in the County of Clare.


The like for apprehending the persons who assaulted George QUIN, of
Quinsborough, in the County of Clare, one of his Majesty's Justices of the
Peace for the said County, as he was returning to his dwelling house from
assisting some officers of the revenue who had made a seizure of smuggled tobacco.


Like against the persons who waylaid and desperately wounded John HYNES and
Patrick GLEESON, on the road between Killaloe and Broadford, in the County of
Clare, as they were returning from proving the value of tithes at a consistorial

“GATHERING THE SCATTERING” of wonderful and wondrous Irish folk from all over the world...


Ennis Saturday April 6th 2013

"Gathering the Scattering"
Anyone who has Irish blood, a link to Ireland or even just a love of our country-
Join us in Clare for the major Genealogy event of 2013.

Fringe Events from Wednesday 3rd to Friday 6th to include tour of Local Studies Centre,
Ennis town walk, tour of newly opened Ennis Friary.
Also two evening lectures one on traditional Irish music and one on Irish Soldiers
in the British Army by Liam Curran.

Confirmed speakers
Fiona Fitzsimons From Eneclann
Michael Gandy, Editor of The Genalogists Magazine
Catriona Crowe from The National Archives
Eileen O Duill from Heirs
Steve Smyrl and possibly Kit Smyrl from Massey and King Ltd
and also from Dead Money TV show
Liam Curran, army historian

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Photo in Today's Clare People ..... referring to my recent post re the launch of the latest Graveyard transcription book involving Clare Roots Society..


 Thanks to
Clara Hoyne
Clare Roots Society Secretary

Monday, 25 June 2012


Counting the gift horse's teeth


The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland opened its new premises in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast a little over a year ago, to gasps of awe and envy. But a recent visit left me feeling uneasy.

The first issue is its location. The Titanic Quarter consists of a few giant, "landmark" buildings sitting in the levelled wasteland of what used to be Belfast Docks. PRONI's move here was part of a colossal property development scheme that will now never be completed. The interior of the building reflects its origins. Property Developer chic dominates, with a giant faceless atrium more suited to an airport than an archives, hotel-style swipe-card access through every door, no expense spared and very little humanity anywhere.

But the biggest problem is the disproportion in the readers' facilities. Crammed into one end of the Search Room are twenty or so microfilm readers, almost all continuously in use for parish registers or newspapers, while the remainder of the space is occupied by a football field of 50 spanking new and completely unused PCs. The Reading Room, where actual documents are read, is huge. There is space for 80 readers, but it is never actually used by more than four or five at a time. The electronic document ordering system is as complex as air-traffic control, forcing users into convoluted processes whose main aim seems to be to cut out any human contact.

The whole thing feels like a bureaucrat's dream, the product of many, many planning-subcommittee meetings fuelled by vast amounts of public money. God knows it has its own problems, but with a quarter the space and one tenth the staff, the National Archives in Bishop Street is actually a much more pleasant space to do research in.

And if you're wondering why I'm so sour … No, I didn't find the families I was looking for.

['Irish Roots archive from 2009 at]

Saturday, 23 June 2012

THE CLARE CHAMPION ... various articles

The Clare Champion has some great articles and you can read them here...

Here is just a small selection.


Ryanair deal could land 1,000 jobs for Shannon

Ryanair will treble its passenger numbers into Shannon Airport to one million annually under a proposed new deal that it claims would deliver 1,000 jobs.


New head makes history at Flannan's

St Flannan's College in Ennis has appointed its first female principal in its more than 100-year history. Carmel Honan takes over the role from Colm McDonagh, who was the first layperson to hold the position at the well-known school.


Tourists saving Kilkee's summer

Loop Head Tourism chairman Cillian Murphy has told The Clare Champion that while domestic visitor numbers to Kilkee this summer has declined, local tourism operators have reported a significant increase in overseas visitors to the area.



Bonfire tradition burns brightly
Written by Owen Ryan

WHEN Kevin O'Brien lights the bonfire at McNamara's Bridge on the Tulla Road outside Crusheen on Saturday evening, it'll signal another chapter in a tradition that goes back over a century.


Sculpture in memory of Pat McHugh

A NEW sculpture by Kilnamona's Michael McTigue can now be seen in the Parnell Street Car Park in Ennis.



Feakle Festival celebrates 25 years
Written by Carol Byrne

Feakle Traditional Music Festival celebrates its 25th birthday this year and will mark the evolution of this annual event, which attracts visitors from all over the world, with a commemorative DVD.


Lou takes a walk on the wild side
Written by John Rainsford

BY general consensus, we are not living through the best of times and the search for some form of escapism is becoming paramount for many today.



From The Clare Champion...
From Drumline to the Blue Ridge - a mystery solved
Written by Mary E Lyons

In August 2010, a Clare Champion article informed readers of my search for descendants of the Crohan (also Croghan) family who worked on the mile-long Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel. The train tunnel—along with three shorter tunnels and 34 miles of connecting tracks—was a dangerous, 10-year public works project between 1850 and 1860. The entire endeavor took the lives of more than 200 Irish famine emigrants. About 100 were Blue Ridge Tunnel workers or family members living in shanties near each portal.

When the article appeared, I had only a few clues about the Blue Ridge Croghans. One was an inscription on Hannora Croghan's gravestone at Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton, Virginia, at the western end of the railroad project. It states she was from Drumline, County Clare. I assumed this meant the civil parish of Drumline.

From the US census, I also knew Hannora's sons, Daniel and Thomas, were living with her near the Blue Ridge Tunnel in 1850. The three Croghans resided in the same dwelling as Peter Crowe; his wife, Mary, and their children. The structure was very near the west portal of the tunnel.

The Croghan and Crowe families would have lived together in a rented farmhouse or hastily built shanty—a typical situation during the construction decade. Irish families along the Blue Ridge Railroad often doubled or tripled up in cramped quarters. In one case, 99 people lived in the same dwelling.

Thanks to a surviving two-page payroll, I also knew Peter Crowe helped build a major viaduct and adjacent culvert on the west side of the Blue Ridge Tunnel. Identified as a mason on the payroll, he was the first worker listed and paid more than other listed masons, hinting he was a master at his craft. Daniel and Thomas Croghan were on the same payroll. They must have been Peter's
apprentices; Daniel later gave his occupation as stonemason on a US census.

The response after the 'Champion article appeared was immediate and gratifying. Two readers—Flan Enright and Pat O'Brien—were already familiar with historical records related to Croghans in Drumline parish. With their research information in hand, I tried to connect the Drumline Crohans with the Blue Ridge Croghans. After months of drawing descendant charts (I wore out five erasers), I couldn't answer the question or make a definitive link.

One item was a particular puzzle. The 1860 Census told me Hannora's son, Daniel, was married by 1860. He and his wife, Ellen, were living in Staunton, Virginia, that year. The widowed Hannora still lived with Peter Crowe and his family. I wondered why she wasn't living with her son.

Happily, two vital clues surfaced as I completed research for a book about the Blue Ridge Tunnel at the Virginia Center for the Humanities in Fall 2011. First, the 1870 US Census listed Mary Croghan as Peter Crowe's wife. Hannora was not just living with friends in 1860, she was living with her married daughter, Mary Croghan Crowe.

Next, I discovered an 1851 advertisement in the Missing Friends column of the Boston Pilot newspaper. The ad, mailed from a post office located along the Blue Ridge Railroad, stated Daniel Croghan was searching for his brother, John. Identified as a blacksmith in the ad, John was from the townland of Drumline. This small but crucial detail considerably narrowed my search.

John eventually found his way to the Blue Ridge Tunnel area, as did a relative named Timothy. An 1852 ledger for a general store near the construction shows that Daniel, Thomas, John, and Timothy (also written as Thady and Teddy) Croghan bought gunpowder, flax thread, boots, smoking pipes, and numerous plugs of tobacco, while working on the railroad.

Last winter, I reached out to my Clare research partners, informing them that the Blue Ridge Croghans were from Drumline townland. The result has been a fascinating ride in a time machine. It begins with Peter Crowe. On a windy day in February, I drove up to the Blue Ridge Mountains and examined what I call the Crowe-Croghan culvert. It's 100ft long, 8ft high and 6ft wide—a "stupendous" structure, according to the railroad's chief engineer in 1850. The universal Masonic symbols of a T-square ruler and open compass are inscribed on the keystone.

I shared photos of the culvert with my Clare contacts. It turns out a family of masons, well known for their stonework, lived in Drumline townland in the 19th century. Their last name was Crowe. Surely, Peter Crowe, who married a Drumline Croghan, was from Drumline, too? It's likely he was related to "Black Johnny" Crowe, a mason who helped build the Bunratty Castle Bridge in 1804.

Though I've been unable to locate any letters between the Drumline and Blue Ridge Croghan families, I've found something better. I've touched the graceful arches and finely fitted stones of the culvert and noticed the same handiwork in online photos of the Bunratty Bridge. Both are a tribute to skills that passed down through generations in Ireland, endured the Famine and survived a 3,000-mile Atlantic crossing.

I think the Masonic symbols on the culvert keystone are as important as Maya hieroglyphs carved on limestone or cuneiform symbols stamped in a Mesopotamian clay tablet. Like these priceless antiquities, the inscribed keystone holds a story of Irish artistry that has outlasted paper and ink. Told on stone, it will outlast us all.

For more about the Blue Ridge Tunnel and the 3,000 Irish associated with it, see Dark Passage: The Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel, a multi-touch book now available for iPad through the iTunes store. For more detail about the Crowe and and Croghan families, visit Mary E Lyons is from Charlottesville, Virginia.

Thanks for sending this on, Clara...

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Please feel free to pass on this notice...

County Clare is to be part of The Gathering Ireland 2013
The Gathering is a unique opportunity for everyone to join a countrywide movement to support Ireland's renewal. In order to achieve success, local communities, individuals, groups and organisations are invited to get involved in planning and promoting gatherings of their own.
A Community Meeting will take place on Monday, 2 July 2012 in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis commencing at 7.00pm. This meeting will provide an opportunity for local people to learn more about 'The Gathering' and how they can be involved.
You are invited to attend and to circulate this message and the attached to your contacts as appropriate.
Please confirm attendance by contacting Kathy on 065 – 6846429.
The coordination of the Clare Gathering 2013 is being jointly led by Clare County Council and Shannon Development.


Siobhan King
Tourism Executive Co. Clare
T: +353 65 6895004
M: + 353 86 8598184


Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Visitors to Ennis and locals!
ENNIS ABBEY is now open to the public and entry is free for this season. Well worth a visit and the guides are very helpful.

The image below is released into the public domain.


A century of memories on St Flannan's Terrace
                                                                          Ennis, Co. Clare (Redmond Terrace / Fogarty Terrace)  
                                                                                                                               Brian Dinan outside his childhood home at St Flannan's Terrace. Photograph by Declan Monaghan

                                 A former American aircraft helicopter mechanic has high hopes there will be a rapid take off to his appeal for assistance to commemorate 100 years of memories in one of the oldest parts of Ennis.
Research is already underway by the St Flannan's Terrace Centenary Committee to discover and publish the history of the houses and the tales of former residents.It is being spearheaded by Brian Dinan, who served as an aircraft helicopter mechanic for the US Army from 1964 to 1967.Born in 26 St Flannan's Terrace in 1943, Brian live there until October 23, 1962, when he emigrated to the USA where he qualified as a mechanical design engineer, designing plans for tools and machinery.

After being drafted into the US army for a three-year stint during the Vietnam conflict, he received further training in Virginia and was based in West Germany. 
A member of the Fourth Armour Division, he was involved in the repair and maintenance of planes. 
At the time the US army had more aircraft in numerical terms than the US airforce, most of which were helicopters and small aircraft.
Now retired, Brian lives in Cooper's Place, Lower Drumbiggle Road, Ennis.

With the help of his three sisters, two brothers, relatives and friends, Brian hopes to commemorate the centenary of the building of St Flannan's Terrace with a special souvenir booklet.
Already, Brian has unearthed a lot of historical information from articles in the Clare Journal and The Clare Champion, not previously common knowledge, about these unique terraced cottages.
It is hoped that a lot more articles and photographs will be presented in a memorial publication, which will be launched at a function celebrating this work next October.
At the ceremonial laying of the foundation stones of both St Flannan's and Steele's Terrace on January 18, 1912 William Redmond, MP, stated, "It was very hard for a man to have the desire or the ambition to improve himself if he was living in a cabin – it was hard to rise out of sticky mud and therefore nice houses and nice homes were an inspiration to people to lift themselves up."
Nice homes came from the 46 houses constructed in 1912 on the Clare Road allotments.

The Morgan family, Elizabeth (Lizzie), nee MacNamara, originally from Ballyline, Crusheen, and Michael, originally from the Turnpike, Ennis, were the first occupiers of No 26 St Flannan's Terrace.They had four children, May, Christy, Tom and Mona, all of whom emigrated in their teens.An old photograph of this family was unearthed by the now 91-year-old, Eileen Dinan (nee Morgan).This picture was brought to America by her sister, Mona Morgan, (Mrs Braman) after a trip home in 1952 with a view to having it restored in the USA.
After corresponding with her sister, Eileen's concern grew when she realised this picture was not being restored. When her daughter went on a trip to the USA in 1985, she found the photograph in a poor state of repair.It had been stored in a cellar for some time, since the death of Eileen's sister. The A3 size print, in fragile fragments, was returned to Ireland by Elizabeth Kelly, nee Dinan and given to her mother, Eileen.Once Eileen regained possession of this photograph, she brought it to well-known Ennis photographer, Dick Wilson, who restored it to its present condition. This fortuitous action by Eileen was instrumental in retaining for posterity her family's oldest heirloom.
Brian hopes this episode will act as a reminder and inspiration to others to seek out and value their own family memorabilia.
People who are not living in the immediate area can contribute photographs, documents, memories or any information by contacting Brian at or Phone 00353 87 2369329

Courtesy of Larry Brennan