A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Flynncestry: The Flynns of Loughrea

The Leaving of Ballinlough 

Part I, The Flynns of the Sil Maelruain is here.

We know from his gravestone in Washington, NJ, that TOF's ancestor Martin Flynn was "born in Loughrea in the County Galway."  When years ago TOF wrote a letter to the Connaught Tribune asking after these Flynns of Loughrea, he received letters from Ireland, England, Australia, Canada, all from Flynns with roots in Loughrea.  One correspondent, Fr. Jarlath Flynn, told TOF that the Flynns of Loughrea had come originally from Co. Roscommon.  (Another sent me an article from the Connaught Tribune about the history of the Flynns of Ballinlough.) Hence, much of the previous episode in this saga.

Meanwhile, a Flynn in Ballinlough passed on a story told by her father. John Flynn, that after the Cromwell War, one widow Flynn, rather than pay rent to the new English landlord, took her family to live with her relatives in Loughrea.  The article in the Tribune had mentioned that intermarriage with the Burkes was evidenced by the name Fiachra, a traditional Flynn name, showing up in Burke families.  Since Loughrea was the seat of the Burkes, it seemed at least plausible that the widow was a Burke.  

In the Book of Survey and Distribution for Co. Roscommon there is a curious entry in Killtullogh Parish:  Callough o fflyn husband to Onora Flin.  This is the only man described in terms of his wife, and the only woman mentioned. It is, again, at least plausible, that the entry is described so because Callough had died and the widow was in de facto possession. 

Onora's properties were Correslousey ⅔ of a cartron; "the half of a peece of Land called the two gneeves¹, arable and pasture; a pasturable heathy mount; and Carrolosty ⅔ of a cartron.  The whole of her profitable land (27 acres) was bundled with that of Owen mc Feoghra Flin (Owen son of Fiachra), who held the other half of the two gneeves, etc. and given to one Dominick Meade. If our guesses are correct, it was this Meade that Onora told to shove it before packing off to Loughrea in the 1650s.  
1. TOF has always wanted to hold a townland with a cool name like "the two gneeves." A gneeve was a unit of measure apparently peculiar to Roscommon equal to 10 "acres". Hence, 2 gneeves =
of a cartron! Townlands were a division of land ownership peculiar to Ireland: counties are divided into baronies, which are divided into parishes, which are divided into townlands of irregular size, each with its own name. Except nothing in Ireland is quite that straightforward. There are baronies that overlap into two counties, for example.


View of Loughrea on shore of Lough Rea
The site of Loughrea commands the approaches to Galway Town, which lies 18 miles to the west.  Consequently, Richard Mor de Burgh built a castle at the place and founded a Carmelite monastery in 1236.  Richard Mor can be translated as "Richard the Great" or "Big Dick."  The town grew up around the castle, which remained in the hands of the MacWilliam Burkes and the Clanrickard Burkes.   The de Burgos had originally been Norman invaders, but by the 1600s had become "more Irish than the Irish" and when Cromwell's council put out a warrant for the apprehension of Fiachra O Flynn of Ballinlough, they also put one out a hit on the Earl of Clanrickard, so Burkes and Flynns were in it together. Apparently the unfortunate business of 1289 had been buried. The site of the castle is now part of a modern supermarket!  Only the castle gate remains, near the modern cathedral. 

The Turoe Stone
The market town of Loughrea sits on the north short of [wait for it] Lough Rea, across from the Derrybrien Mountains.  The lake is about a mile across and contains three islands that were anciently used as refuges from attackers.  The area around Loughrea has a number of prehistoric crannogs (Celtic lake dwellings) and souterrains (underground dwellings).  On the summit of Monument Hill, near the town, is a stone henge originally of eight stones, four feet high and two feet wide.  In 1837 five were still standing, two were down, and one was gone.  TOF does not ken the present status.  The stones were set in a circular mound raised to four feet high, and in the center of the henge is a tumulus of earth two feet higher.  Near the base of the hill are vestiges of a circular intrenchment, within which are the remains of an ancient cromlech.  At Bullaun, about three or four miles from Loughrea, is the Turoe Stone, dating from the 1st century, with abstract designs, a fine example of La Tène art.  Nearby is the ring fort of Feerwone. 

The Abbey Cemetery in Loughrea
1691.  The Jacobite-Williamite War came to a ferocious conclusion at the Battle of Aughrim near Loughrea.  The Jacobite army under Charles Chalmont Marquis de St-Ruth had the better of the day until a stray cannonball ran away with his head.  The Jacobites were thrown into confusion and the Williamites under Godert de Ginkell prevailed with great slaughter.  The Irish general Sarsfield pulled off a rearguard action and did not surrender until the Treaty of Limerick the following year.  Then he led his men - The Wild Geese - into exile, where they fought in the Jacobite army under French paymasters, providing the Irish with yet another round of sad patriotic ballads.  Among those convicted in abstentia of "Stuartism" was Fiachra mac Collumb O Flynn, in all likelihood the son of that Collumb O Flynn who received the remnant of the Sil Maelruain in the Distribution of 1652.  In the retinue of James II was one Mau. Flynn, probably Maurice.  Meanwhile, General St. Ruth is buried in the Abbey graveyard in Loughrea.
Red dots: townlands in Kiltullagh possessed by Collumb mac
Fiachra O Flynn in 1670

The Eighteenth Century

There is not much data at this point covering this period.  A lot of information was lost when the Four Courts burned in the Civil War.  Some is on-line, but behind paywalls.  Indexes in bound books yield names, but no indication of relationships.  Indeed, it is not always clear where some of the place names are located.  Catholics were not allowed to keep vital records until the Nineteenth Century, and some of those went up in smoke in the Troubles. 

For one thing, there are civil parishes, Church of Ireland parishes, and Roman Catholic parishes, and they don't all have the same boundaries or names.  In the RC Church, Loughrea is a deanery in the Diocese of Clonfert, which would be good if we had the records for Clonfert, but they are behind paywalls.  The cathedral for Clonfert is not in Clonfert but (in that delightfully Irish fashion) in Loughrea, St. Brendan; but it was not built until the 1890s.  Then, too, just west of Loughrea is the old Diocese of Kilmacduagh.  But in 1750 Kilmacduagh was united with the Diocese of Kilfenora (in West Galway), but since the one was in the ecclesiastical province of Tuam and the other in Cashel, the prelates alternated between being Bishop of one and Administrator of the other.  Galway was then not even a diocese, but a Wardenship created by the pope in 1483 because the "Tribes of Galway" refused to accept the authority of Tuam.  So there was no Bishop, but a Warden, locally elected.  It became a Diocese only in 1831.  Confusin' ain't it?  About a century later, in 1866, the three were joined with Galway to become the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh, and Kilfenora.  So it is not always clear whether old records are in one diocese or another.  Some may be with Tuam, others with Clonfert, still others with Kilmacduagh.  The dioceses tend to follow the political lines of the time they were formed.  (The Diocese of Clonfert is essentially O'Kelly's Country, or Hy Many.) 

A map of the RC Parishes of East Galway is below.  These are not always the same as the Civil Parishes or the Church of Ireland Parishes.  Some townlands pertinent to Flynnish matters have been are indicated. A map of townlands is here.

O'Carolan:Thanks for the whisky, Flynn
Life was quieter for the Flynns of Loughrea than for the medieval chieftains. For one thing, no annalist bothered to record their deeds, which is probably just as well. Here are some Flynn items from the 1700s, some of which may be pertinent.  Since Martin Flynn will marry Honora Mahony, the Mahonys have also been noted.

1723.  David O'Flynn of Baladuff (Tuam Diocesan Will)  Don't know where Baladuff was or is.

1738. The last of the blind Irish harpers, Turlough O'Carolan, died at the home of his patrons, the McDermott Roe, composing on the spot a tribute to their butler, William O'Flynn, who brought him his last glass of whisky.
I duly travelled round through Conn's territory
And I found many mighty and vigorous there.
By my baptism, for dispensing [drink] I never found
One who quenched my thirst aright but William Flynn.
To play the tune, go here and click on the link in the lower left. Hey, how many other of your favorite SF writers have their own theme song!

1746.  Edmond O'Flynn, esq. of Forlogh, Co. Galway (Prerogative Will)  Don't know where Forlogh might be.   
1768.  Meanwhile, up in Roscommon, a footnote in the Annals of the Four Masters says that Edmond O'Flynn of Ballinlough was the current head of the family, but was "not in a happy condition," being hunted by the police at the time. 

1793.  Catholic Qualification Rolls of Connaught
The index lists those who took the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown. 
23 May, at Loughrea, William Flynn of Loughrea
08 Oct, at Ballinolee [?], John Flynn of Brownstown, servant.  Could not locate Ballinolee.  

1794.  Catholic Qualification Rolls of Connaught (cont.)

04 Aug, at Ballinasloe, Michael Flynn of Dalysfort.  Ballinasloe is not too far from Loughrea and is the 2nd largest town in Co. Galway. Dalysfort is south and east of Loughrea, so it's in the right neighborhood.
04 Aug, at Ballinasloe, John Flynn of Dalysfort.  A brother? 
25 Sep, at Loughrea, James Flynn of Kilgariff.  But Kilgariff is way off to the northwest. 

1794.  Patrick Flynn and Mary Kennelly (Killaloe Marriage Bond). Killaloe is the diocese just south of the Diocese of Clonfert. 

1800.  Jane Flynn alias Burke of Loughrea.  (Clonfert Administrative Bond)

The Nineteenth Century

1806/7. MARTIN FLYNN was born in Loughrea, parents' names unknown.  (No birth records for Loughrea or nearby townlands exist for this time period.)  This is TOF's first direct Flynncestor.  His  birth year is deduced from the age given on his tombstone in Washington, NJ.  The tombstone states that when he died in 1873 he was "Aged 66 Years."

The tombstone was "erected by his son Patrick," probably the oldest son.  The oldest daughter of which we have a record is Mary Flynn. Since the Irish custom at the time was to name the eldest son and daughter after the father's parents and the second son and daughter after the mother's parents, we can speculate that Martin's parents were named Patrick and Mary. (See 1794 for a possibility.)
A poem of an incident in Loughrea involving the blind poet Raftery on getting stuck with the bill at a public house when his friends sneaked out on him: O Loughrea!  
Correspondents from Loughrea have written that most of the Flynns lived in the parish of Kileenadeema, on the other side of the lough. Martin could have been born in the countryside and moved into town later, but there are no birth records at the time for Catholics in either parish. There is a civil record of a "church baptism" for a Martin Flynn in 1812 in Co. Galway, the details of which are behind a paywall.
1808.  Jane Flynn als Burke of Loughrea.  (Clonfert Will) 
Barrack St. in Loughrea. The Arch Bar (left) was
once owned by the Flynns

1824.  Joseph Mahony was a physician in Barrack Street, Loughrea.  No Flynns are listed as doing business in the town.  Martin Flynn will later marry an Honora Mahony.  (Pigot's Commercial Directory of Ireland)

1824.  William Flynn was acquitted at trial for an attack carried out by several people on the police station in Churchtown, a district in Galway City.  His friends, neighbors and priest all testified to his sterling character and there was nobody there but us chickens.  (The Connaught Journal, Aug 30, 1824)

1824.  An Honoria Mahony was married in Loughrea, but the index does not give the spouse.  Not likely this is our Honora, or a parallel index search for Martin Flynn would have produced a hit for this year. 

1825.  The Tithe Applotment Book lists assessments on landholders to pay for the upkeep of the Established Church of ireland, regardless of the taxpayer's own faith.  Loughrea Town was not covered, but the following are listed for the parish of Killeenadeema:
  • Michael Flynn, Glanaclare, 36 acres (shared with others). Glanaclare is a townland in the northern part of the civil parish of Killeenadeema, is bounded by the townlands of Grange Park, Grange, Killeenadeema West, Bunogue, Carhatrim, Bauragurraun, Glanaclaura West and Coorheen.
  • John Flynn, Ballinanelly, 64 acres (shared with others).
A Googlemap of the area is here, centered on Killeenadeema.  Martin would have been 19, and not likely a property-owner.  If he lived in Loughrea Town itself, his family would not have been covered. 

1827.  A Martin Flynn was married in Ballinasloe, which is not too far from Loughrea; but the index does not give the spouse.  Not likely this is our Martin, or a parallel index search for Honora Mahony would have produced a hit for this year.

"Let my people vote!"
1829.  The Catholic Relief Act passed due to the efforts of the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell, with the help of the Duke of Wellington, removed most of the encumbrances on Catholics in the UK when Martin was 23.  They still had to pay tithes to the Church of Ireland.  This led to the...

1831-39.  Tithe War. 
This was a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, punctuated by sporadic violent episodes, in reaction to the enforcement of tithes on subsistence farmers and others for the upkeep of the established state church - the Church of Ireland. Tithes were payable in cash or kind and payment was compulsory, irrespective of an individual's religious adherence.  Consequently, there were protests, sporadic attacks on tithe-collectors, and even on police stations.  (See 1824, above.)  It ended when the peasantry was exempted from paying the tithe, which was then laid only on the landlords (who added a bit to the rents).  This seemed to satisfy everyone for some reason.  In 1841, the government voted a subsidy to Maynooth, the Catholic Seminary for Ireland.  The protestants protested vehemently with no sense of irony whatsoever.  Queen Victoria wrote, "I blush for Protestantism," and made a point of visiting Maynooth when she and Albert came to Ireland.  During this period, Martin would have been 25-33 years old.  He most likely married some time during this span. 

John Flynn of Dolystown, Galway (Prerogative Will)  This is probablyDalystown and probably Dalystown Demesne, a baron's estate east ok Killeenadeema. 

1835.  Patrick Flynn is the first known child of Martin and Honora.  We know he is a son because Martin's tombstone in Washington NJ reads "erected by his son, Patrick."  In the 1870 US Census, Patrick is living with John and Anne, and is given as 35 yrs old (=b. 1835).  In the 1885 New Jersey Census, his age is simply 20-60.  So 1835-1840 seems a reasonable guess for his birth year until we can locate a death certificate.  Somewhere. 

Various Flynn births took place in and around Loughrea, now that Catholics could keep records.

The baptismal register of Killeenadeema Parish: 
  • 1836. b. 16 May. Michael Flynn, son of John Flynn and Penelope Walshe.  bap. 19 Aug.  Sponsors: Michael Flynn and Eleanor Shiel. 
  • 1837. b. 3 Apr. Mary Flynn, dau. of Patrick Flynn and Bridget Burke.  bap. 3 Apr.  Sponsors: Patrick Cani [recte: Cain?] and Mary Walshe.
1840.  The GALWAY ASSIZES.  The county court was held in Galway City, but covered the entire county.  In May, the Assizes "did not terminate until a late hour on Saturday evening. We subjoin the list of convictions in the Town and County."
  • John Flynn, sheep stealing, 12 months imprisonment at hard labour
Unlikely that this has any connection with TOF's family; but there are worse things you can do with sheep than steal them. 
The baptismal register of Corabane Parish:
  •  1840. b. 8 Sep. John Flynn, son to Michael Flynn and Mary Ryder.  bap. 12 May.  Sponsors: Anthony Whelan and Mary Conners.

ca.1840.  John Thomas Flynn is born.  His death certificate lists his parents as Martin Flynn and Nora Mahony, but his actual birth year is problematical.  
  • On his 1867 NJ marriage record, he is 24 (=b. 1843)
  • In the 1870 US Census, 25 (=b. 1845)
  • In the 1880 US Census, 39 (=b. 1841)
  • On his 1881 NJ death certificate, 48 (=b. 1833).  
  • The newspaper story of his death gives his age as 35 (=b. 1846).  
So's ye pays yer money and ye takes yer choices.  The 1833 is the cuckoo in the nest, which is often the case for death certificates, depending on who gave the information.  Ditto for the newspaper.  The problem is that most of the potential birth years puts him in a time frame when there should have been a baptismal record in the Catholic parishes. 

Problem: The only John Flynns born at this time are John, son of Michael Flynn and Mary Ryder of Corabane (1840) and John son of Thomas Flynn and Catherine Conry of Loughrea (1842).  There are several possibilities: 
  1. John is the son of Martin and Nora as it states on his death certificate but for whatever reason there is no baptismal record.  The Famine occurred shortly after and maybe record-keeping suffered?
  2. Martin and Nora did not live in Loughrea or Killeenadeema, but moved there with Patrick and John just before Mary was born. But Martin's tombstone says he was born in Loughrea.
  3. John is the son of Thomas Flynn and was adopted by Martin and Nora because his parents died in the upcoming Famine.  We note that his middle name is Thomas.  
  4.  John is the son of Michael Flynn and was adopted by Martin and Nora because his parents died in the upcoming Famine. But he named none of his sons "Michael."
 Of such conundrums historical research is made. The records are not always reliable nor always existent. Spellings are altered, or are misread in the handwritten records. People sometimes go by different names. On TOF's maternal side one Franz Josef Anton Zängle was listed in different records by just about every possible combination of those names taken singly or in pairs.¹

Note: singly or in pairs. Ho ho. The Zängle family is now called in English the Singley family.

Meanwhile back at the baptismal font...
The baptismal register of Loughrea Parish: 
  •  1841.  b. 24 Jun.  Mary Anne Flynn, dau. to John Flynn and Bridget Burke.  bap. 27 Jun.  Sponsors: James Kelly and Julia Young.
  •  1841.  b. 15 Nov. William Flynn, son to Martin Flynn and Catherine Morgan. bap. 16 Nov. Sponsor: Bridget Ward. A second Martin!
  •  1841.  b. 26 Nov. Honor Flynn, dau. to John Flynn and Mary Nevill.  bap. 28 Nov. Sponsors: Michael Nevill and Bridget Flynn. A second John Flynn father!
  • 1842. b. 28 Apr.  John Flynn, son to Thomas Flynn and Catherine Conry.  bap. 28 Apr.  Sponsors: John Conry and Mary McClusky.
  • 1842. b. 28 Sep. Mary Flynn, dau. to Martin Flynn and Honor (Nora) Mahony. bap. 4 Oct. Sponsor: Catherine Wallace. This is the first documented birth to Martin and Nora. Keep an eye on her.
The baptismal register of Loughrea Parish: 
  • 1844.  b. 10 January. Martin Flynn son to Martin Flynn and Honor (Nora) Mahony.  Baptized the same day.  The sponsors are Daniel Harney and Ellonar Conry. The third son was traditionally named after the father. Keep an eye on Martin, too.
  • 1844. b. 23 May. Catherine Flynn, dau. to Michael Flynn and Mary Ryder.  bap. 27 May.  Sponsors: James Spellman and Wen. Conelly. There are at least two Michaels running around, too.
The baptismal registry for Killeenadeema Parish: 
  • 1844. b. 8 Sep. Honor Flynn, dau. to John Flynn and Mary Ruenly.  bap. 12 Sep. Sponsors: William Dunn and Mary Cain.
  • 1844. b. 13 Dec. Bridget Flynn, dau. to John Flynn and Francis Walsh.  bap. 20 Dec. Sponsors: Thomas and Mary Dealing. 
  • 1845. b. 28 Oct.  James Flynn, son to Patrick Flynn and Mary Quirke [recte: Burke?].  bap. 31 Oct.  Sponsors: James Coen [recte: Cain?] and Mary Walsh. 
  • 1846. b. 15 Mar.  Mary Flynn, dau. to John Flynn and Mary Boyle.  bap. 1 Apr.  Sponsors: John Flynn and Catherine Kenny.  Just how the heck many John Flynns were there!?
1846.  Loughrea is described in the 1846 Slater's Commercial Directory:
A Market town, in the parish and barony of its name, county of Galway, is 109 w. by s. from Dublin, 23 east from Galway,and 26 south by east from Tuam; pleasantly situated on the banks of Loughrea Lake, the water of which is said to be supplied by seven distinct springs, called the 'Seven Sisters.' Its length north-westward is one mile and a half, its extreme breadth one mile and its area comprises about seven hundred and sixty acres. It is said to contain no fish but pike, and its water to be unfit for culinary purposes. Loughrea was formerly garrisoned, and the remains of its walls are yet visible; there are also the remains of an old castle, and a monastery-the former erected by the Earl of Ulster at an early period, the latter founded for Carmelite or white friars by Richard de Burgh, in the year 1300; adjoining it a very neat chapel has been erected, through the exertions of the Rev. Miles Gannon. There is also a convent for nuns of the Carmelite order, founded about the year 1680, and removed to its present site in 1829, when the building, including a chapel, was erected, under the direction of the prior of the abbey at a cost of £5,000, defrayed from the funds of the nunnery. On the north side of the town is a fine gravelled walk, called the Mall, shaded by lofty trees, which forms a delightful promenade. The town, which is the property of the Earl of Clanricarde, who resides at Portumna, consists of several streets, many of the houses of which are neat and well built. The government of the town is seated in a seneschal, who holds a memorial court occasionally; and in a court-house, erected in 1821, general sessions are held twice a year, and petty sessions once a week. The other public secular buildings are a barrack, a bridewell, a linen-hall, and a workhouse. There are two branch banks, an extensive and long-established brewery, two tanneries, six corn mills, and three hotels-the latter all situated in Main-street, which is the principal business thoroughfare.
     The parish church is a handsome edifice with a fine steeple, erected in 1821. The Roman Catholic chapel, lately rebuilt, is a noble and commodious structure, with a tower containing one large bell. The principal charitable institutions are a dispensary, and several schools for the education of the poor. A mechanics' institute, which has lately been established, is in a flourishing state. The market days are Thursday and Saturday-the former is the principal. Fairs, February 11th, May 25th, August 20th and December 5th. The population of the parish, in 1841, was 7,152 and that of the town 5,458 inclusive.

Doing business in Loughrea Town according to the Directory were:
  • George Mahony, esq., Barrack St., gentleman  (died 18 Dec, 1848, aged 40; buried in Abbey Cemetery)

  • John Flynn, Main St., baker
  • James Flynn, Main St., draper or haberdasher
  • Michael Flynn, Dunkellin St., wood card maker
1846-1848.  THE GREAT HUNGER
Galway in general and Loughrea in particular were hard hit not only by the Famine, but also by the cholera that came in its wake.  Famine poorhouses were set up with very strict discipline: no smoking, no booze, no gambling.  One man who left the Loughrea workhouse because of the prohibition on smoking was found dead of starvation within ten days.  "Indian meal" (corn from the US) was sold in Galway in 1846.  Horse and ass meat were eaten.  Crime increased under the stress of hunger.  Girls were driven to prostitution and attacks on property increased.  Fever broke out in Co. Galway in the spring of 1846, and then again in the spring and autumn of 1847. 

A letter from Loughrea appeared in the Galway Advertiser, 27 Feb 1847:
"A Shopkeeper" in Loughrea has written to us a letter on the great disadvantage the inhabitants are under in consequence of the want of a Seneschal in that town. He calls on his townsmen to memorial the Marquis of Clanricarde on the subject, and expresses a hope that his lordship will attend to the matter with as little delay as possible. He also strenuously advocates the necessity of appointing one or more additional coroners for the town and neighbourhood. "At a time" says our correspondent when death is decimating the ranks of our unfortunate poor, and when every town, and village, and hamlet, throughout the length and breadth of the land has its records full to competition of death from starvation it may be through that we of this town and vicinage are in comparative health and comfort, and to a certain extent unscathed by the present destroying scourge, but such is not the case. The deaths here are unremitting and numerous, but they pass unnoticed because their frequency has ceased to be wonderful. Had we one or more coroners in the district, "he continues" the rest of our countrymen would at least perceive that we are suffering as much, if not more, that most other parts, of the Island." We have thought better thus to give substance of "Shopkeeper's" letter as the present form will in all probability much sooner catch the eye of the noble marquis for whom it is intended than if it were given in extenso. For ourselves we are much surprised his lordship has not appointed a successor to the late Mr. Silk long ere this, and now when an all but a direct calls made upon him to accommodate the inhabitants of Loughrea, we are sure his lordship will feel but too happy in complying with their request.
Bridget O'Donnel
Bridget O'Donnel, at left, was quoted in the London Illustrated News:
Her story is briefly this:-- '. . .we were put out last November; we owed some rent. I was at this time lying in fever. . . they commenced knocking down the house, and had half of it knocked down when two neighbours, women, Nell Spellesley and Kate How, carried me out. . . I was carried into a cabin, and lay there for eight days, when I had the creature (the child) born dead. I lay for three weeks after that. The whole of my family got the fever, and one boy thirteen years old died with want and with hunger while we were lying sick.'
It was during the Famine that the Lynch family (whom we will meet later) left Ireland for America -- along with tens of thousands of others.  "They are going!  They are going!" the London Times exulted, and said that soon an Irishman in Ireland would be as rare as a Red Indian in Manhattan. 

Among those who perished were likely little Mary and Martin Flynn, for reasons stated below.  It is also possible that, under one scenario above, the parents of Patrick and John died and the kids were taken in by Martin and Nora.  So far as I know, there is no way of resolving this question. 

The ruins of the Old Abbey on left; New Abbey is just
visible on the right edge.  (Picture by Kevin Flynn.)

The cemetery most Roman Catholics were buried in during that time period was Garrabreeda (St. Brigid's field) built on the site of an old medieval church. Most of the graves from that period are unmarked. The church of record is now St. Brendan's cathedral but the cemetery records are missing.  Flynns TOF once corresponded with said the Flynns were buried in the Carmelite cemetery at the other end of town, "next to General St. Ruth."  This is called The Abbey cemetery. 

The Abbey's website contains lists of graves in the cemetery; but all of them are 20th century graves.  Lots of Flynns, though.  Father Jarlath Flynn, who answered some of TOF's letters many years ago is buried in the community plot.  It was he who said that the Flynns of Loughrea had come originally from Co. Roscommon.

The baptismal register of Loughrea Parish: 
  • 1850.  b. 5 Aug. Mary Flynn dau. to Martin Flynn and Honor Mahon [sp!].  Baptized the same day.  The sponsors are Patrick Keely and Judith Dolphin.  The Dolphins were big landowners in the area.  
Note that this is their second Mary.  What happened to the first?  Perhaps she died in the Famine.  She would have been 4-6 years old. 
  •  1853.  b. 5 April. Martin Flynn is born to Martin Flynn and Honor Mahony.  Baptized 12 April.  The sponsor is Bridget Connors.  
Note that this is their second Martin.  The first Martin would have been 2-4 years old when the Famine struck. This Martin will eventually emigrate to the US with his father.

1855.  Griffiths Primary Valuation of Ireland
is a listing of all the property owners in Ireland in an attempt to set up a taxation system under the Poor Law Act of 1838. 
If an individual owned land in more than one townland, he is listed in each separately. Thus, Michael Flynn is listed six times and may represent as many as six and as few as one individual!  We know from the baptismal records that there were multiple Michaels, Johns, etc. The Index to Surnames for Co. Galway lists in Loughrea Barony the following Flynn households.
  • Bullaun Parish    1 householder
  • Killeenadeema Parish    5 householders
  • Kilthomas Parish    1 householder
  • Loughrea Parish    4 householders
Martin would have been 49 this year (and John 15) but he does not appear in the Valuation.  But then neither do some of those listed as parents in the baptismal register. The likely conclusion is that he did not hold property.  He was either a workman or tenant.  Names we find in Killeenadeema andLoughrea are:

 Name Townland Area Description Annual Due Immediate Lessor

 Killeenadeema Parish
 John Flynn Cahercrea West 28 acres land house £22/3- Marquis of Clanrickarde
 Michael Flynn Bookeen34 acres land, house, offices £12/10- Earl of Huntingdon
" Curhoor27 acres  land £1/15- Earl of Huntingdon
" Knockroe 2 acres land /10- Earl of Huntingdon plus 3 others
 Michael Flynn Caheratrim 8 acres
92 acres
 land, house, offices
 £3/5-/8- Earl of Clancarty

 plus5 others
 Michael Flynn Kinculla, Loughrea 6 acres land, house £1/5- Peter Dolphin plus 5 others
 John Mahony
 Thomas Flynn
 Bridget Mahony
 Derrybrien East
 Derrybrien North
 2241 acres
2477 acres
 Mountain land
 Mountain land
  £1/4-/2- Marquis of Clanrickarde 
Marquis of Clanrickarde   
 plus 21 others
 plus 21 others

 Loughrea Town

 Michael Flynn #4 Main Street btw. SW end and Kelly's Lane  house, yard£4/-  Robert Power1846: John Flynn, baker,and James Flynn, draper, lived on Main St.
 James Flynn #7 Dunkellin Streetnortheast end  house, office, yard, garden£4/5-  Marquis of Clanrickarde1846: Michael Flynn, wood card maker lived on Dunkellin St.
 John Mahony #3 Nunnery Lanesoutheast end  house/5-  Mary Dolphin
 Martin M. Mahony #52/52a Barrack St.  btw. Castle St., Artillery Sq, end house, office, yard, garden £24/10- Marquis of Clanrickarde1846: George Mahony, gent., lived on Barrack St.
 Belinda Flynn #5 Piggott's Lanenext to schoolhouse and Nevin's Forge  house and yard £1/- William Nevin (blacksmith)
 John Flynn Cross Street
 house, office, yard £2/- I am missing info here

Of the four locations noted in Slater's Directory for 1846, three are occupied by individuals of the same family.  It is possible that the Michael, James, and John noted here are the same as listed nine years earlier, before the Famine, but now shuffled about in residence.  TOF would bet even money that Belinda Flynn was the schoolteacher.  Tried to identify as many of the townlands as possible, including those mentioned earlier.  "Glanaclare" is probably "Glanaclara."  Dalystown [aka Dalystown Demesne is closer to our center of action than previously thought.  This is the map view that captures the largest number of relevant townlands.  Pan out, and too many of the names disappear:

It's not clear how many Michael Flynns there were.  The world has always suffered from a shortage of Michael Flynns, but it is likely that many of these are the same person and the properties are perhaps contiguous townlands in Killeenadeema. TOF listed him three times in Killeenadeema because three of the properties had a house on them, and then once in Loughrea for the same reason.  There was a Michael born in 1836 (who would have been 19 this year) and his godfather was also Michael Flynnl.  Likewise the John Mahony on Nunnery Lane and the John Mahony who held acreage in the Derrybrien mountains with Thomas Flynn and others may be the same person.  Either that, or there was considerable dearth of imagination when it came to naming the children! Not that the passel of Johns, Daniels, Toms, Martins, and others among the TOFian clade would indicate otherwise.

On an interactive map of Griffiths Valuation, TOF identified the specific numbered plots belonging to Michael Flynn in Killeenadeema Parish; viz., in the townlands of Bookeen, Cuhoor, and Knockroe. 

As you can see, the townlands are all sorts of shapes, like paint-brush strokes; and within the townlands the individual plots that a person holds can be scattered and discontiguous.  At least Mike has plots reasonably close together.  If he is the same Michael Flynn who holds rights in the Derrybrien Mts. to the south of this map, it is probably joint pasturing of sheep.

As for the Town Flynns, TOF tried to find their location on a map of Loughrea.  There were not at the time a great many streets.  Nunnery Lane is off-map and likely where the old convent was located.  Locations are approximate.  John Flynn was landlord to four other properties near the intersection of Moore St. and of Bohercom.  James is listed as landlord of an unoccupied dwelling on Dunkellin St., probably a neighboring house. 
The father of Honora Mahony is probably John Mahony, since Martin and Honora Flynn named their second son (our ancestor) "John."  But then if they followed the old tradition, there's a "Patrick" Flyn missing.  A Patrick Flynn and Bridget/Mary Burke had children in 1837 (Mary) and 1845 (James), but either he had no property in 1855 or he died in the Famine.
  • 1855. Michael Flynn and Bridget Burke [another Bridget Burke?] of Loughrea have a son, John.  The godmother is Mary Rabbit of Ballinakill. 
1856.  b. 16 Jan. Bridget Flynn dau. to Martin Flynn and Honor Mahony in Loughrea Parish.  Baptized 17 January.  The sponsor is Catherine Mahony.  This is the last baptismal entry for Martin and Nora.  

1865.  Honoria Flynn is listed in a death index for Loughrea the fullness of which is behind a paywall.  It seems at least possible that this is Martin's wife, because it is at this point that Patrick and John Thomas Flynn set off for America. 
Another Honoria Flynn is on the death index for Loughrea in 1876, but this is after Martin has gone to America, and it is unlikely he would have gone without her. 

The Arch Bar on Barrack St., formerly owned by the Flynns.
c. 1866.  Patrick Flynn and John Flynn emigrate to America. John's 1881 death certificate says he had been in the US for 15 years and his marriage is dated January 1867.  Pat is around 33; and John is 23 or 24.  It was this year that habeas corpus was suspended in Ireland and there were hundreds of arrests of Fenian activists, who had been planning a feckless revolution for over a year.  Whether the Flynns were involved cannot be said*, but certainly the political atmosphere was oppressive and leaving the country may have seemed a wise thing to do.  The Fenian Uprising took place the next year: a scattering of uncoordinated skirmishes of which the British were kept well-informed by informers in the Fenian ranks.
(*) There is an account of a "monster rally" in Loughrea in 1883, well after TOF's family had left, that involved Flynns among the leaders of the nationalists.  William Flynn (a grocer and publican on Main St. according to Slater's 1881 Directory) was one of the leaders, who assembled "at Miss M A Flynn's drapery establishment."  (The 1881 Directory lists Sarah Flynn among the drapers and haberdashers.  There is also a Patrick Flynn listed on Barrack St., another grocer and pub-keeper.  The pub on Barrack St. is the Arch Bar, the decorator of which TOF and his brothers were assured by those drinking there in the middle of the day was "a genius."  The picture above, right was taken by Kevin on a separate trip. 

The scene of the action now shifts from Loughrea to New Jersey, where the infection metastasizes. 

Coming Soon: The Flynns of Washington NJ!

On-Line References

Pigot's Commercial Directory of Ireland (1824)
A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
Slater's Commercial Directory of Ireland (1846)
Galway Advertiser, 27 Feb 1847
Griffith's Valuation (1855)
General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland (1861)


  1. There's an olden CoE parish thing for Inchigeela, County Cork, that assures us that 1 gneeve is equal to 1/12 of a plowland. Since "gnaithseach" means a piece of farmland according to M'Bain's dictionary, this seems reasonable. But of course measures differ from place to place, let alone from Cork to Roscommon.

    It's all Cornelius (Conn/Conal) and Jeremiah (Diarmuid) with our branch of the O'Briens, and we've got tons of Johns and Jameses on the other Irish side. Honora/Onora/Annora/Nora was pretty popular in a lot of families.

  2. I'm hoping that you'll be able to illuminate a story that's long been held in my family, involving a John Lynch, potentially the one listed as a tanner on Barrack Street in the 1846 Slater's Commercial Directory, and a young woman from Spain, Claudia Divennie, hired to be a governess to his children. Whether he had divorced the children's mother, or was a widower, is uncertain, but it was believed that the two fell in love, were married, and had two children, a boy and a girl, of their own. All was well until John Lynch died, at which time the Church took custody of the children and forced Claudia Divennie out of Ireland. The boy was given a good education and later became a professional in America. The girl, by all accounts, wound up in a Magdalen Laundry where the nuns taught her how to sew. By the time she was 16, a friend smuggled her out, and she continued to American to search for her mother, who she discovered had died. The daughter found work in New York City as a seamstress for Lord and Taylor, married a German immigrant, and had children of her own, one being my great, great, grandmother. Do you think this kind of cruelty could have happened? Do you think this story could be substantiated? I am not able to find birth certificates for any of them. Thanks for reading. I am curious to know your opinion. Debra Emerson,, 4/27/15

    1. Sorry. The Lynches in my family came from Stradbally, Co. Waterford. They were forced out of Ireland by the Great Famine, which was the usual forcing in the 1840s. It's difficult to imagine that the Church of that era had the power to force anyone "out of Ireland." The island was ruled by the Protestant British. Many things in the past tend to get construed in light of the concerns of the present. As Norman Cantor said of Early Modern accounts of the Middle Ages, they tell us more about the concerns of the Early Modern Age than about the Middle Ages.

  3. Hi, I came across your page by mistake, I've been researching my mother's Flynn family for some time now, & Our Flynn's settled in Birmingham England, Came over before 1860 from Ireland, Galway is entered as place of Birth on most of Our flynn's census,s

    My 4x Gr,Grandparents were Daniel Flynn & Mary? Burke?

    Mary Born abt 1820 Left Eire we Believe after the Great famine & Daniel flynn either died before Mary left with Children or remained

    Mary, had children as follows

    Patrick Flynn
    Michael Flynn
    David Flynn
    Daniel Flynn
    Bridget Flynn
    Mary Flynn
    Margaret Flynn
    Maria Flynn
    and Possibly a James Flynn

    there father Daniel Flynn, Born abt 1819 was a Shoemaker by trade
    On Census records Re-My 3x Great-Grandfather David flynn Marriage to a Esther Selina Worrad in 1866 at St Chad's Cathedral Birmingham England
    States father as Daniel Flynn, Shoemaker & David Flynn Born in Galway in 1844

    Do know some of the Flynn's went to Ohio US,
    Not Certain Re Mother-Mary's Surname, But did find a marriage with a daniel Flynn to Mary Burke...

    If anyone has any connections Please drop me a Line

    Found what was written above Re-Flynn's of Galway really Interesting!!



  4. This Is a Link to Our family history of Finn & Flynn's from Galway Eire to Birmingham England to Ohio Usa, a Great Illerstartion put together by Pete Millington, with Contribtion from myself & Steve..Please take your time to read & let us know if your able to Contribute with any family Connection's

    Thank you


  5. My Dad was Thomas Flynn Born in 1940 in Roscommon. My Mother was Mary Machugh Born in 1943 in Galway . Sadly both passed away now . My mother's Dad left her when she was young , emigrated to the USA . Sadly she did not see him again . Not sure if her father went on to have anymore children . Regards Maria Flynn

  6. Try DNA ancestry test
    Patrick O'Flynn


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