Tuesday, 30 April 2013

FAMINE FRIENDS - HERITAGE NEWS | The Irish Times - Mon, Apr 29, 2013



Paddy Waldron
Under the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838, Ireland was divided into 130 Poor Law Unions, each centred on its own workhouse. The boards of guardians of each union, comprising elected and ex-officio members, were given power to raise local property taxes, the rate varying from one electoral division to the next, and the proceeds spent locally on the relief of the poor. Little was it realised at the time how this new system would be put under strain by the arrival of potato blight seven years later.
The Kilrush Poor Law Union comprised 13 electoral divisions, apparently coinciding with the 13 civil parishes of the Loop Head peninsula in west Clare. At the time, on the eve of the devotional revolution, each Catholic parish comprised two civil parishes; as more priests became available, the Catholic parishes were subdivided. Today, the area comprises 12 Catholic parishes, but re-amalgamation beckons as vocations continue to decline. Famine era priests of these parishes, such as Fr Tim Kelly (whose statue still stands in Kilrush church), Fr Michael Meehan (of the Little Ark), Fr Michael Comyn and Fr "Parliament" Malachy Duggan (who died of cholera in 1849), played a huge role in lobbying central government for relief measures for the poor as the Famine took hold.
As the economic situation got out of control, the Kilrush board of guardians, chaired by the principal local landlord Crofton Moore Vandeleur of Kilrush House, lost its economic sovereignty, to be replaced by a troika comprising the vice-guardians Edmund Kelly and Michael Meagher and Poor Law inspector Capt Arthur Kennedy. Kennedy and the Catholic clergy were soon acknowledged as the true friends of the poor and starving.
Kennedy's long lists of those evicted in the Kilrush Union, and his increasingly angry commentary accompanying those lists, were sent almost daily to the authorities in Dublin and London and served to highlight the gravity of the unfolding crisis.
A correspondent of the Illustrated London News visited Kilrush in late 1849 and his sketches, including one of Miss Kennedy distributing clothing at Kilrush, and those of deserted villages at Killard, Moveen and Tullig, have become the iconic images of the Famine.
While it is debateable whether famine conditions in Kilrush were quite as severe as in Skibbereen or Clifden, the writings of Kennedy and the anonymous Illustrated London News correspondent have combined to ensure that the Kilrush situation is undoubtedly the best documented.
Miss Kennedy was Capt Kennedy's eight-year-old daughter Elizabeth Henrietta, born in Canada while her father was serving there as an army officer. She started by giving away some of her own clothes, but her charitable efforts were later supported by such as the Earl of Arundel and Surrey and the Catholic bishop of Killaloe, who sent £10 "to dispose in clothing the naked". In later life, Elizabeth married and became the Countess of Clanwilliam and a mother of eight.
While Kennedy himself came from the landed gentry and went on to a long and illustrious career as a colonial administrator in various parts of the British Empire, it is reported that during the worst moments of his three-year stint in Kilrush he feared if he met a landlord, he would have reached for his gun and shot him. His relationship with Vandeleur became strained, to the extent that Vandeleur sued him unsuccessfully for libel.
For the rest of the story, please go to...


The Harvard Club of Ireland is presenting a new Irish initiative to
those who may be interested in learning more about Ireland and the Irish

http://hiberniacollege.com/ Hibernia College will be delivering a FREE
online course about Exploring Irish Identity that starts on May 27th.
It is 8 weeks long and available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

For further information on the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) visit online at

This is just an excerpt of the details...There is a lot more on site, including a video...

"The Exploring Irish Identity MOOC is available to everybody completely free of charge, 
no matter where you are in the world. "

Sunday, 21 April 2013


From: Christina Finn Hunt <chrisnina@gmail.com>

Here are the new (larger) files as of April 19th.

Dublin Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Cruagh Cemetery, Rockbrook, Co. Dublin
Dublin Genealogy Archives - Deansgrange Cemetery
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Itas Section, pt1 (additions)
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Nessan's Part 7
Fermanagh Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Galloon, St Comgall (CoI) Headstones Pts 1 & 2
Sallaghy (CoI) Cemetery

Kerry Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary Records
1857 Irish Constabulary men
Kildare Genealogy Archives - Military
1857 Irish Constabulary men

Kilkenny Genealogy Archives - Military
1857 Irish Constabulary men
Leitrim Genealogy Archives
Fahy Cemetery (partial)

Offaly (Kings) Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1857 Irish Constabulary men

Leitrim Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1857 Irish Constabulary men

Limerick Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1857 Irish Constabulary men

Tipperary Genealogy Archives - Cemetery
Fethard. Church of the Holy Trinity - Memorials

Tipperary Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ballysheehan Medieval Church & Cemetery
Fethard, Holy Trinity Church & Cemetery
Wexford Genealogy Archives - Photos
Kiltennel Church, Gorey


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

CLARE ROOTS SOCIETY : Thursday 18th April

Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the tragic crash of the Pan American Clipper, Empress of the Skies, at Shannon Airport. Thirty one people died that day, 10 crew and twenty one passengers, with only one survivor.
The launch of a book by Tony Cassidy, which commemorates the accident, will take  place this Thursday evening, the 18th of April at 6.30 p.m.  in The Ennis Civic Rooms, Drumbiggle.
The book will be available for sale on the night and to overseas members on www.clareroots.org after the event.
This event will be followed at 8.00 p.m. by the April Clare Roots lecture which will  be given by Lucille Ellis from Dublin.  Her talk entitled "The Gallery Family of Ennis And Pre Famine Emigration" will also take place in our usual venue, The Ennis Civic Rooms in Drumbiggle. It will give an account of Lucille's great grandparents who were shop keepers and farmers in Ennis.
All welcome to both events.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

CLARE ROOTS SOCIETY... "From a Rock to a Hard Place"

From A Rock To A Hard Place; By Tony Cassidy
6.30 Thur 18th April. at the Civic Rooms Ennis Town Council, Drumbiggle, Ennis 
As part of its local history publishing programme and following on the success of books on Steele’s Terrace, O’Connell Street, St Columba’s Church of Ireland and Drumcliff Cemetery (Calvary Section), as an extension to the latter and to co-incide with the 65th anniversary, Clare Roots Society will launch its latest publication From A Rock To A Hard Place - The story of the Crash of Pan American “Empress of the Skies” at Shannon Airport on 15 April 1948 this week.

The booklet has been written by Tony Cassidy, married to a Co Clare lady for over forty-three years and living in Ennis for past eight yearsTony has had an interest in this tragic accident going back over 22 years and with assistance from the first man on the scene and now 91; from a Pan American Radio Officer, again 91 and living in New Mexico who flew sister Constellation aircraft at that time;  and from aviation experts in Zurich, Switzerland and Belfast, he has finally been able to complete the tragic story.  Many of the photographs have never been published before.

An accident so horrific in Shannon Airport that it made headlines around the world.. these are just two clippings from the Australian press at the time..
 Click on images to enlarge

 More details follow the clippings....

Just before midnight on Wednesday 14 April 1948, Captain Frank Jakel was sitting on the tarmac of London Heathrow Airport at the controls of Pan American Airways Lockheed Constellation ClipperEmpress of the Skies”.  With his crew of nine, he had just taken over the aircraft following a scheduled crew change. As part of the handover, the Pan Am’s ground maintenance supervisor reported that the instrument lighting had failed during the landing at the previous stop, Brussels, and again on approach to Heathrow itself.  The cause was a faulty rheostat switch (a device used to vary the resistance in an electrical circuit without interrupting the circuit), but no replacement could be found at the London maintenance base. The aircraft had to be flown as it was to the USA for repairs or the crew and passengers would have to wait until a replacement part was flown across from New York, and that would take a day or two.   However, the lighting again appeared to be working normally.

Two more landings, a stop-and-go at Shannon to drop of one passenger and a refuelling stop at Gander, Newfoundland, and they would be back at Pan Am’s LaGuardia, New York base.  Weather reports were favourable which could not always be said.   The aircraft was refuelled.  Capt Jakel and Al Grottle, the Flight Engineering Officer, signed-off the maintenance supervisor’s report and the decision was taken to depart for Shannon at 35 minutes past mid night on Thursday 15 April.

Weather forecasts available in London had indicated that at the time of arrival at Shannon, the ceiling there would be 700 feet with a higher cloud layer at 1,000 feet, and visibility 4 miles.  However a revised forecast indicating 300 feet was supplied to Pan Am at Shannon, but by then the aircraft had departed from London.

As the crew of “Empress of the Skies” neared Shannon, they requested permission to make a practice approach to Runway 23 using its Instrument Landing System. Subsequently they reported a missed approach and advised that they were making a go-around for a second approach.  The aircraft was not seen again in the misty conditions until after it struck the ground at 02:34. 

A local newspaper reported that the aircraft “first hit a number of trees growing in a row, tore the tops off them and careered for a distance of 200 yards tearing through thick shrubbery and finally stopping at a hillock where it burst into flames”  and  “The aircraft was then seen blazing among the crags at a point some 300 yards in from the main road at Cahertigue.

At the inquest it was stated that the accident occurred “within 800 yards of Runway 23 and in direct line with the runway. It occurred on the lands of Mr Michael Moylan of Cahertigue and within 200 yards of Mr Moylan’s house and about the same distance from the house of Mr Thomas Hogan.”   A local newspaper also reported: “John Hogan of Cahertigue got up and went to the scene of the crash which was about 150 or 200 yards from his house.”

Having fully detailed the airline; the round-the-world flight and its route; the departure from Heathrow; the arrival and crash at Shannon; and the subsequent inquests and Investigations, the second half of this booklet turns to detailed accounts of the people involved.  On board were at least six different nationalities of eight different religious faiths, but in death, which came quickly, few could be identified. Apart from three of the crew identified by their location at the front of the cockpit and a mother identified by her baby clasped tightly to her chest, the only other body identified was that of Sir Homi Mehta an Indian millionaire banker identified by part of his passport embedded in his remains.

The booklet covers, in detail, the crew; the passengers; the sole survivor; the first man on the scene who is still alive at 91 and living in Newmarket-on-Fergus; the would-be rescuers; the inquest; the preparation of the mass grave at Drumcliff Cemetery and the burial on Saturday 17 April; the care and attention given to the maintenance of the grave of the nineteen victims buried there, far from home; and finally the honour and respect still maintained by relatives.

From A Rock To A Hard Place – from the rock of Moylan’s Crag near Shannon airport to the stony soil of Drumcliff Cemetery – stony but soft and sheltering.

"The respect and dignity that the people of Ennis have bestowed to the gravesite
of the Pan Am accident victims is a testament to their own humanity and nobility
for which we are grateful. Sixty-five years later, we still grieve our loss, but we
take comfort in knowing that a gravesite existed all along and that it was looked
after by the kind hearted and generous people of Ennis. May God bless the people
of Ennis and keep eternal the memory of our loved ones for whom Ennis is their eternal place of repose."
                                                      Jeffrey Ghannam,
                February 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

YESTERDAY, CLARE CONFERENCE was the post of the day ... 500 posts later...

"Yesterday, all my 'POSTINGS' seemed so far away 
Now it looks as though they're here to stay 
Oh, I believe in yesterday..."

( with apologies to The Beatles )

Strangely enough, the very first post I made on this blog referred to the initial Clare Roots Society Conference

Here we are just having posted all about the Clare Roots Society Conference of 2013... 

As of yesterday, I reached the grand total of 500 posts and still going strong!

 Thank you to all my readers and contributors, and my followers whether by email, RSS or just those who bookmark and drop in now and then.

To celebrate, I will soon launch an additional page to this blog, to be listed beneath the extra page we already have for Births, Deaths, Marriages.

Please return often and feel free to send me any news or research related items you would like to share here. You can find my contact address in the About Me post  on the LH column.

Image from

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

CLARE ROOTS SOCIETY - April 18, 2013 - Lecture

Clare Roots Society
The Gallery Family of  Ennis and Pre Famine Emigration.
This Month's Lecture will be given by Lucille Ellis, based on the life of her ancestors.
A  family engaged in farming and Shop--keeping in Ennis. 
Lucille was born in Dublin, and was a Primary School teacher by profession; 
she has a Degree in History, with a particular interest in local and family History. 
Lucille is presently researching Merchants and Traders in Ennis in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.
The presentation will be held in the Civic Rooms, Ennis Town Council, Waterpark, Drumbiggle, Ennis 
at 8 pm on Thursday, 18th April 2013. 
All are welcome. There will be a cover charge of €5 for non-members.


RTE’s The Genealogy Roadshow is Back!

Do you think you might be related to someone famous or infamous? Could you be connected to a big event in local history? Need to solve a family mystery? Or just love Genealogy?
The Genealogy Roadshow is back for a second series on RTÉ Television and you are invited to the making of the show! It’s a free day out at an Irish landmark. Presented by Derek Mooney, the show is coming to
University College Cork’s Aula Maxima
on Saturday, 13th of April 2013 and we want you to be there!
The Roadshow’s crack historical and genealogical team will be in the Powerscourt all afternoon eagerly helping people find extraordinary stories in their family, as well as giving free advice on how to track down a family history.
Stories that will be featured include: Michael Collins’ intelligence network inside Dublin Castle The Story of Cork’s own Henry Ford who became a global business icon Daniel O’Connell’s journey through the night for to save innocent men from
These fascinating subjects and more will be explored on the day.
There’s a new genealogy expert this year too. Susan Chadwick from Offaly will be chasing down the leads and revealing all the answers along with John Grenham and Turtle Bunbury.
Admission is free and all are welcome. But we would ask people who are thinking of attending to get in touch with slots available at 1:00pm,2:00pm or 3:00pm on the day. You can come along for the whole event or the time of your choice.
Call Seán on 048 308 34046 or 085 235 6977
Or drop us an email to genealogy@bigmountainproductions.com - Thank you!

JOHN GRENHAM: Origin of our ancestors...



Message from Clara Hoyne, 

Secretary of Clare Roots Society

I am attaching a few photo's to give you a  flavour of what went on during the conference week.
It was a fantastic week with a packed  programme and lots of visitors to Ennis from near and wide.
Huge thanks to Peter Beirne and the staff in The Clare County Library, Local Studies Centre who gave three tours
during the week as did Mary Kearns and staff in the beautifully refurbished Abbey in Ennis. 
Without the local support we would have had no fringe programme.

We have had great feedback on our speakers on the day, one attendee said:

"Most enjoyable (and sometimes challenging!) list of speakers, with loads to learn from each one."
Thank you all.   
Clara and all of the Clare Roots Society

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


ANTRIM Genealogy Archives - Photos  Constable William Kearney's watch, 1864  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/antrim/photos.htm    

CLARE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/clare/military.htm    

CORK Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/galway/military.htm    

CORK Genealogy Archives - Cemetery  Kilgullane Churchyard Memorials  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/cork/cem.htm    

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/donegal/military.htm    

DOWN Genealogy Archives - Military and Constabulary  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/down/military.htm    

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Military  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/dublin/military.htm    

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones  Glasnevin Cemetery, part 13  http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/dublin/photos/tombstones/glasnevin-ndx.htm    

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Cemetery  Crumlin, St. Mary's Churchyard Memorials - STRANGE  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/dublin/cem.htm    

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Military Records  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/fermanagh/military.htm    

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Headstones  Aghadrumsee, St. Mark's Parish, (CoI)  Aghalurcher Cemetery Pts. 1 & 2  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/fermanagh/photos/tombstones/markers.htm    

GALWAY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary  Irish Constables who joined in 1857  www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/galway/military.htm  


Monday, 1 April 2013

John Grenham : GENEALOGY BRINGS TOURISM... irishgenealogy.ie

John Grenham, in The Irish Times, applauds the revamping of


Tomorrow starts the beginning of what we hope will be a very successful event, the second Clare Roots Family History Conference. We have people travelling from all over the world and we have a wonderful line up of speakers on Saturday in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis.
On Wednesday tune into the Pat Kenny show to hear Peter Higginbotham and also John Cooke on the  Morning Focus programme  Clare FM will hopefully host interviews with some of our speakers during the week.
There are still a few places left on the tours.
Meet five minutes before the tour time at the entrance to the Library building on Harmony Row.
If you are visiting for the day on Saturday do look for Long stay Parking. If the Temple Gate Hotel is full, options Include Glor car park, Multi storey car park in the market and Holy family school beside the Old Ground Hotel. (all within a 5 minute walk). http://www.visitennis.com/about-ennis/map-of-ennis/
Brief Synopsis of the Week below.
Tuesday 2nd April
Two films by Frank Golden and Frank Stapleton in the Old Ground at 7.30 pm.
Wednesday 3rd April
4 pm Local Studies tour. Book via secretary@clareroots.org
5 pm Guided tour of refurbished Abbey. Book via  secretary@clareroots.org
6.30 Lecture by Tim Collins on the Music of the Slieve Aughty region in the Old Ground hotel
7.45 Book launch by Gerry Kennedy and  Flyleaf press on Tracing your Clare Ancestors
Thursday 4th April
4 pm Local Studies Tour .Book via secretary@clareroots.org
5.30 Lecture with Liam Curran on the Irish Soldier in the First World War
7.30 Bindon Street book launch of Eric Shaw’s book Memorials of Past Lives in St Columba’s Church, Bindon Street
Friday 5th April
3 pm Local Studies tour. Book via  secretary@clareroots.org
4-6 registration in the Temple Gate Hotel
4-6 Meet the Genealogist in the Temple Gate Hotel
6.30 Welcome reception and Official opening by the Mayor of Clare and lecture by Michael Gandy.
Saturday  6th April
Registration from 9 a.m. with lectures starting at 10 am.  
Lunch 1-2
Michael Gandy will be the final speaker of the day at 4 p.m.
Gala Dinner at 7.30 .
It promises to be a wonderful few days and already people have started their overseas journey to join us in Clare.
If you are attending and have not yet booked on http://www.eventelephant.com/clarerootssocietyconference2013, you can register on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning  but it would be helpful if you could send  an email secretary@clareroots.org to me just to facilitate a quicker registration process.
We plan to audio record conference for all our oversea members and that hopefully will be available in the weeks after.
Best wishes
Clara Hoyne
Clare Roots Secretary