The Tobins of Kilcrohane, West Cork, from Catholic Church Records, Muintervara from 1819, the Seven Sisters of Gloun early 19th Century and John F Kennedy Connection, 1740s Lease of Donemark Mills, 1820s Lease of Part of Whiddy Island, Richard ‘King’ Tobin and Lord Bantry, Road Contractors, Richard Tobin, Letter, Member Bantry Board of Guardians.

There was a certain amount of difficulty associated with the Whiteboys up to the 1820s at the western end of the Muintervara peninsula. The times were unsettled with a slump caused by the end of the Napoleonic wars. This formed a small part of n Lord Bantry’s estate which was managed by Mr Bird. Lord Bantry remarked that Tobin of Lower Letter had done more than all the magistrates to root out ‘Whiteboyism’ and that he was ‘King of the West’ after which he was known as ‘King Tobin’.

It was said locally of the Tobins that they would be seen on a horse, with a gun and a dog.

The Kilcrohane ‘King’, Tobins were part of a network of prosperous Catholic families in the general area. These would include The McCarthys and Murnanes of Letterlickey from 1820s leases of Hutchinson estate. The Catholic Shannons of Brahalish who married into the Tobins would be in the category, there were Wards Minor Landlords of Glenlough and Droumatinaheen early 1800s. The Rosses of Glendart and Crowleys of Ballyourane, Caheragh. These families even though far apart tended to inter marry and as the 19th century went up produced clergy, teachers and later professionals.

Richard Tobin Junior, probably in the 1850s in Durrus but from Letter, Kilcrohane, was probably a member of the Bantry Board of Guardians from the late 1850s and represented Cess Payers at meetings of Magistrates. One of the Richard Tobins was probably the contractor with Thomas Donovan who got the contract for the road repair from Durrus to Kilcrohane 1869 for £2.

Contract July 1864 for new road from Skibbereen to Dunmanway and Bantry and also Inchigeela to Richard Tobin, Daniel Gallagher, James Fitzgerald for £272. The Tobins were intermarried with the Baltimore Fitzgeralds who were the same family as JF Kennedy’s mothers. The Kilcrohane Gallaghers were also related by marriage. Skibbereen Eagle 16th July 1864.

In the family lore it is believed that an early form of gelignite was used in the roadworks. Many of the extended family were later to go to the USA and engage in road works as well as settling in Casper, Wyoming..

A 3 year contract from O’Donovan’s Cove to Ahakista with George Bird (also Agent to Lord Bantry) to keep road in repair: Skibbereen Eagle 17th January 1863.

There is were also Tobins members of the Church of Ireland in Fahane possibly associated with the Atteridges.
The local O’Donovan Landlord Family:

Reverend/Father Daniel McCarthy and the Blairs:

In the surname distribution post 1845 in the Registration districts:

The name is clearly based in the West Waterford, South Tipperary and South Kilkenny areas. There are outliers in Clonakilty and Bantry. The Bantry ones are most likely based in Kilcrohane or people who were originally based there.

There are long standing links between Waterford and Kilcrohane. In the 1780s ledgers of the Cathedral of St.Finbarrs of Cork there are townland of Kilcrohane listed. This probably arises from the Norman Monastery of St. Catherines? of Waterford or Youghal having an interest inland and tithes which later transferred to the Earl of Cork.

In family lore the seven Tobin sisters were from Gloun in the farm currently farmed by Charlie Donovan. One of them is reputed to have married a Fitzgerald of Baltimore and they are the ancestors of US President JF Kennedy’s mother of Boston.  The other version is that the other Kilcrohane Tobin line has that connection.

In the Kenmare Estate records of the 1740s a Richard Tobin is leasing the Mills of Donemark outside Bantry. There is a later lease on the Bantry Estate c 1820 involving the Tobins. Interestingly one of the lives named is one of the children of Timothy O’Donovan, of O’Donovan’s Cove, a Catholic Landlord and Magistrate.

In the 19th century the Tobins of Kilcrohane were the local agents to that part of the Bantry Estate. One, the ‘King’ became notorious. In one reputed instance he cleared an area of the smaller tenants. One of their descendants who emigrated to America, did very well and had a lifetime ambition to urinate on the grave of the ‘King’, in later life he succeeded in doing so.

Richard Tobin of Durrus originally Kilcrohane was in the late 19th century a very successful businessman, with a hotel in Durrus probably now Rosses, landing sea sand opposite the Good Time Cafe and paying royalties to the Bandon Estate, He was also renting large tracts of land. In the 1901 census his daughter was an art student most unusual for the time.  He either owned or was enting Blair’s Coe in 1909 as he is listed as having pedigree cattle by the Congested Districts Board.

He made his money in the Australian Gold Rush (according to local lore) in the 1860s and returned. His family is most likely associated with the memorials in Durrus Church built 1900 and the enormous Celtic Cross Tombstone just opposite the church. He may also be of the same.

Tobins and related O’Mahony major fish merchants at the time.