Patrick Francis Cronin, (1865-1953),  Bantry Born Canadian Journalist and Political Activist.  Burned Eviction Papers for Glenbeigh Evictions, Dedication of Celtic Cross at Grosse Île Quarantine Station, Quebec,  To Honour Those Irish Who Perished from Famine Fever.

Patrick Francis Cronin, (1865-1953),  Bantry Born Canadian Journalist and Political Activist.  Burned Eviction Papers for Glenbeigh Evictions, Dedication of Celtic Cross at Grosse Île Quarantine Station, Quebec,  To Honour Those Irish Who Perished from Famine Fever.


Immigrants at Grosse Île Quarantine Station, 1832-1937

The Records

In the 19th century, an increasing stream of people was leaving Europe to rebuild their lives in North America. Around 1830, an average of 30,000 immigrants arrived annually in the City of Québec, the main port of entry to Canada. Approximately two-thirds of these newcomers were from Ireland. This unprecedented immigration on the St. Lawrence River took place at a time when major cholera and smallpox epidemics were sweeping through Europe. In order to help control the spread of the diseases, the quarantine station at Grosse Île, located in the St. Lawrence River downstream from the City of Québec, was established in 1832 and operated until its closure in 1937.

In 1974, the old quarantine station became a national historic site under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada. More information on Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada is available on the Parks Canada Web site.

Data on immigrants was compiled by Parks Canada from a number of different records held in various archives. Under an agreement between the Québec Service Centre of Parks Canada and Library and Archives Canada, this database regarding immigrants who passed through Grosse Île is now available on this website.


Canadian Collections:


1953 Electrifing Beara

The case for Rural electrification

Work did not start on rural electrification until the end of the Second World War or as it was called in Ireland the ‘Emergency’.

It was not until the Rural Electrification Scheme (1946) and the Electricity Supply Amendment Act (1955) were passed that the electricity network started to reach the most rural and isolated communities in the country.

Dr Thomas McLaughlin,  the driving force behind the Shannon project and now the Managing Director of the ESB believed that rural electrification represented:

‘the application of modern science and engineering to raise the standard of rural living and to get to the root of the social evil of the “flight from the land”.‘ (5)

It was hoped that electrification would ‘raise the standard of rural living and get to the root of the social evil of the “flight from the land”.

The task that faced the ESB was herculean, a suitable modern-day comparison would be the challenge the state has in installing rural broadband. Thankfully in the ESB the state had an organisation with men and women up to the task.

The State was divided into 792 areas – roughly along parish boundaries. This was a clever strategy as the ESB recruited at least one local influencer in each area who could encourage their friends and neighbours to sign up to get connected to the new network.

Rural electrification began in earnest when the first pole in phase one was raised on November 5th, 1946, at Kilsallaghan, in north Co Dublin. The first lights of the scheme were switched on at Oldtown, Co Dublin, in January 1947. (6)

Promoting Electricity to Rural Ireland

One of the most potent propaganda tools in rural Ireland at the time was the parish priest in the pulpit. Throughout rural Ireland the ESB worked with the local clergy, who were then used to extoll the virtues of the new technology and the benefits of electrification.

Although it would never be economically viable to connect some sparsely populated areas the strategy was simple, the more people who wanted a connection the sooner their area would be visited and worked upon.

The approach in every district was the same. The ESB asked householders if they wanted to sign up for electricity, then held local information meetings.

In the first long phase of electrification, which ran from 1946 to 1965, it was sometimes your hard luck if you wanted to be connected but your nearest neighbours did not.

From the 1940s to the 1960s, householders signed up voluntarily to be connected to electricity. Not all wanted, or could afford to.

This was because the ESB deemed it uneconomic to run lines to just one house. The areas with the highest take-up were first to be connected.

Although some people did not want change, and others worried about whether the wires might set their thatch roofs on fire, most people who refused connection did so for financial reasons.

That “uneconomic acceptance” was a category on the forms which showed how widespread rural poverty was. The scheme was heavily subsidised, but, depending on the size of the premises, householders had to pay a connection fee, along with future bills, and to wire their homes before they were connected.

The people who first agreed to sign up but then changed their minds were called ‘backsliders’.

In May 1954, in Ballivor, Co Meath, 290 people said they wanted electricity. Nineteen changed their minds, for reasons that are stark examples of poverty in 1950s rural Ireland such as:

“No funds. House semi-derelict.” “Refused supply due to lack of funds.” “Has large family and could not pay fixed charge.” “Both labourers out of work.” “Recently widowed. No funds.” (7)

Throughout the length and breadth of Ireland politicians of all political shades lobbied the ESB for their area to be electrified. It wasn’t just politicians who tried to exert their influence

In July 1957, the parish priest of Ballycroy county Mayo wrote to the Rural Electrification Office. He said that his parishioners were anxious and that they believed he could influence decisions at the Dublin head office. “Sometimes people get an idea that the PP isn’t taking any interest in these matters. I need not add that I have a very deep interest in the light coming to Ballycroy.” (8)

Sadly, his appeal fell on deaf ears, due to economics and it wasn’t until April 1964 before electricity at last came to the parish.

A Herculean effort

Workmen ‘electrify’ a rural village.

The Rural Electric Scheme was a massive project, the work would require over 1 million poles erected with 78,754km of wire used. It would eventually cost £36m equivalent to €1.5bn today.

The first phase of the scheme ended in 1965 and by then, over 300,000 homes were connected.

Post-development plans and extensions ran until 1978 when Blackvalley, Co Kerry received electricity. By 1975, 99% of Irish homes were connected to the same electricity grid.

The Rural Electrification Scheme employed up to 40 separate units of 50-100 workers, spread across 26,000 square miles. Many of these units were stationed in remote localities, and daily face-to-face communication was impossible. (9)

By 1975, 99% of Irish homes were connected to the same electricity grid.

Such a widely dispersed workforce presented the Rural Electrification Office (REO) with a challenge – how could it ensure fast and efficient communication among its staff?

The solution was suggested by the chief engineer in charge of the project William Roe who quickly recognised the vital importance of good communication across the nation to ensure the success of the scheme. He told the ESB:

“If a high standard of performance was to be achieved, the staff needed not alone to be well briefed and motivated from the start, but to be constantly refreshed with information on the progress of the scheme, advised of developments in all aspects of the work, sustained when difficulties arose and motivated to give of their best at all times” (10)

Roes’ solution was simple but innovative for the time he created a magazine for employees called REO news.

In December 1947, the first edition informed all those working on the scheme that:

“In order to keep the rural staff informed of the progress of the rural Electrification scheme it is intended to issue REO news monthly”. (11)

It covered a variety of topics, including personnel and transfers of staff; the delivery and distribution of materials; sales figures and league tables; area notes; engineer and progress reports; news items and articles of interest; as well as sports and social pages, letters to the editor, and photographs.

A focus on progress, staff league tables and sales figures all succeeded in instilling a sense of rivalry among the workers, inspiring them towards greater effort.

There were 168 issues of REO News published between December 1947 and November 1961, growing from 3 to over 20 pages. In 1953, the magazine was given a glossy cover, and included a number of black and white photographs, and by 1959, REO News was published in a fully printed format. From 1948, REO News also printed a special December issue. (11)

1886 Address from Some of Bantry’s Inhabitant to the Earl of Bantry, on His Return from Abroad.  1885, House of Commons, London, A Lash of Tim Healy’s MP,  Tongue, The Earl of Bantry Off Chasing Kangaroos in Australia instead of Sitting on Cork Lunacy Board.

1886 Address from Some of Bantry Inhabitant to the Earl of Bantry, on His return from Abroad.  1885, House of Commons, London, A Lash of Tim Healy’s , MP,  Tongue, The Earl of Bantry Off Chasing Kangaroos in Australia instead of Sitting on Cork Lunacy Board


William Hedges Eyre, 4th Earl of Bantry (1801-1884), who until then lived at Macroom Castle, which he had inherited from his great-uncle, Robert Hedges Eyre. William (who became the 3rd Earl of Bantry in 1868) married Jane Herbert (1823-1898) of Muckross House, Killarney, Co. Kerry, and they had five daughters, Elizabeth, Olivia, Ina, Jane, and Mary, and an only son, William (1854-1891). In 1884 William became the 4th and last Earl of Bantry.  1885, House of Commons, London, A Lash of Tim Healy’s , MP,  Tongue, The Earl of Bantry Off Chasing Kangaroos in Australia instead of Sitting on Cork Lunacy Board

In 1886, William married Rosamond Petre (d. 1942). They had no children and on William’s death in 1891 the title of the Earls of Bantry became extinct. The estate passed through his eldest sister, Lady Elizabeth (1847-1880), the wife of Egerton Leigh of High Leigh, Cheshire, England, to their son, Edward Leigh (1876-1920). He assumed the additional name of White in 1897.

At the time of the address in 1886 politics  locally was fairly fraught with the Land War in the background multiple evictions.   The cabal who signed the address would  be the local conservative/loyalist section aligned to the Bantry Estate and its local agent Mr. Payne.  He unsuccessfully ran for election as an MP and James Gilhooly of the Irish Parliament Party, many times  jailed, was elected.

Old Gaelic Script. Cape Clear 1952

‘Tá lampa dFocal do mo mar Choraibh’ Thy words are a lamp unto my feet. Sacred to the memory of Thomas Olden, D.D., M.R.I.A.,, Historian of Church of Ireland, Gaelic Scholar, for thirty years Vicar of Ballyclough Parish, Co. Cork. Born 1st March, 1823. Died 29th October 1900. An eminent Irish Scholar, Antiquarian and Church Historian. He served God in his generation. Erected by a few friends.

From Colonel Grove White:

Click to access gw1_141-150.pdf

Thomas Olden, son of Robert Olden, of Cork. T.C.D.; B.A., 1846′ M.A. 1888; B.D. 1897; D.D. (Honoris Causa) 1898; M.R.I.A. 1870. Obtained honours in science, gold medal in logic and ethics, and first-class Div. Test. He was ordained deacon, 12th July, 1846, at Down, for the curacy of Cullen, Cork; and priest, 30th May, 1847, at Midleton, by * Laban signifies mud, dirt, or perhaps the meaning may be Leath (Lah), Half-La-bawn, half-bawn. REV. THOMAS OLDEN, D D. » I – • • BALLYCLOUGH (LAVAN ) PARISH AND CASTLE ’47 Bishop of Killaloe. Wa s curate of Tullilease, Cloyne, i860, and vicar of same, 27th August, i860 to 1868 (vide his important work in that parish). He married on 28th July, 1853, Sophie Elizabeth, dau. of the Rev. James Morton, V. Clonfert (Brady), and by her, who died 27th December, 1899, had issue—1. James Morton Ruxton Fitzherbert, b. 25th May, 1854, who was unfortunately drowned, together with his cousin, Robert Aidworth, when at Rossal College, in Lancashire, in 1868; 2. George Gustavus, ob. juv. ; 1st, Olivia; 2nd, Sophia Jane Louisa; and 3rd, Dorothea Emily Morton, wife of Rev. John Harding Cole, B.A., last R.V. of Leighmoney, Cork. Dr. Olden was a scholar of much distinction, a learned antiquarian, and well versed in the Irish language. He published many valuable writings, amongst them being—The Epistles and Hymn of St. Patrick (3rd ed. S.P.C.K., 1894); A History of the Church of Ireland (2nd ed., 1895); ZTre Scriptures in Ireland One Thousand Years Ago, a translation from the Wurtzburg Glosses; sixty-three “Lives of Distinguished Irishmen,” in the Dictionary of National Biography; numerous papers in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, the Royal Society ‘of Antiquaries, and the St. Paul’s Ecclesiological Society, etc., etc. In recognition of his merits, his University conferred upon him (Honoris Causa) the Degree of D.D. in 1898. Dr. Olden resigned Ballyclogh, owing to ill-health, in July, 1899, but retained his stipend and glebe; and the parish of Ballyclogh, with Dromdowney was added to Castlemagner union (q.v.) Dr. Olden died at his vicarage, Ballyclough, on the 29th of October, 1900, aged JJ years. Of him, the Bishop of the Diocese said, in his annual pastoral letter, January, 1901 :—”We were proud of him in this diocese. We felt it to be an honour that he was numbered amongst our Clergy. By his learning and ability he has done a great work for the Church. As an Irish scholar, there were not many that could surpass him. But it is as the historian of the Church of Ireland that he will ever be remembered. Although he was so learned, and so distinguished, hse was kind and gentle and unassuming in his manner, and was dearly loved by his family and his friends, and by the people amongst whom hie ministered for thirty-one years. A mural tablet has been erected to his memory in Ballyclough Church by his parishioners and friends.” The late Rev. Dr. Olden also wrote:— St. Patrick and his Mission, Dublin, 1894, an(* a now very scarce and valuable pamphlet: Some Notices of St. Colman of Cloyne, Bishop and Poet. Cork: T. Morgan, 1881. To the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries he contributed a paper on ” The Voyage of St Brendan,” 4th quarter, 1891. To the Cork Historical and Archceological Journal he contributed a paper on “Kilmaclenine” in No. 39, July-Sept., 1898, besides some interesting notes to the article on St. Beretchert of Tullylease, that appeared in the No. for February, 1895, and he also contributed still more frequently to the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, of which he was a ember. The wording of his mortuary tablet will be found later on in the portion of the present series relating to Ballyclough Church. . (Lewis, pub. 1837), under “Ballyclogh”





1822, The Troubles of a Struggling Farmer, Mud Cabin, Heavy Taxes, Tithes, Cess, and Rack Rents, Wintry Wind, by Poet Mícheál Óg Ó Longáin (1766-1837), Caheragh,  (lived later Glanmire), Co. Cork.


1766–1837),poet and scribe; born to the Ó Longáin learned family in Carrignavar, Co. Cork.
1766-1837; b. Carrignavar, Co. Cork; son of Mícheál mac Peadair; orphaned young, his parents dying in 1770 and 1774; employed as cowherd; returned to education, 1784; assisted United Irishmen, 1797-98; wrote for Whiteboys, 1785; ‘Buachaillí Loch Garman [Boys of Wexford]’, 1798; m. 1800; worked as scribe, labourer, and teacher in Co. Cork; settled in north Kerry and East Limerick, 1802-07; wrote on poverty and oppression; employed as a teacher and scribe by Rev. John Murphy, Bishop of Cork, 1814; copied manuscripts, 1817-1820; sons Peadar and Pól, and Seosamh, also became scribes; died. on his son Pól’s 11-acre holding in eleven acres in Knockboy in Carrignavar.

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Breandán Ó Conchúir, Scríobhaithe Chorcaí 1700-1850 (1982)

It is likely that poet JJ Callanan sent quite a while in Caheragh through Bantry Doctor Dr. Thomas Burke in the 1810s who had associations in the area.

The Ó Longáin Family


From the 18th century to the late 19th century the surname ‘Ó Longáin’ was synonymous with ‘scribes.’  Working as a scribe meant copying stories, poetry, histories and religious texts from manuscripts and printed works for patrons. Working as a scribe also involved translating texts from Irish to English.  Frequently their patrons were from Cork merchant families, were Cork scholars themselves such as John Windele or from Cork clergy such as Bishop John Murphy. Working as a scribe had previously been a position of privilege but as the Gaelic order disintegrated following the Flight of the Earls in 1607, scribes found their living situation growing perilous and frequently lived in poverty. Micheál mac Peattair, his son Micheál Óg and his grandson Peadar were based in Carrignavar, Cork. Grandsons Pól and Seosamh were primarily based in Dublin. Seosamh transcribed manuscript facsimiles for publication on behalf of the Royal Irish Academy. The Ó Longáin preserved a tradition and ensured access to countless texts through their scribing endeavours.

Caheragh Poets:

Courtesy Father Patrick Hickey, Famine in west Cork.

Fuacht na scailpe-se, deathach is gaoth gheimhridh,

Cruas na leapsa-sa’s easpa braith lae’s oíche,

Muarcuid teascnna, deachmaithe’s glaoch cíosa,

Tug buartha cáthach mé, easpaitheach éagaoinaointeach.

The cold of the mud cabin, smoke adn wintry wind,

The hardness of this bed and the lack of a mantle day or night,

Heavy taxes, tithes, and rack-rent demands,

Have made me troubled, in want, and lamenting.

Campaign against ‘Irishry’ from the 17th Century Plantations of Co. Cork, Attempted Eradication of Irish Place names and Townland Names, Bandon,Mossgrove/Garranaghooney, Carrigaline, Hoddersfield/Moneyvrin, Ringabroe and Killacrow, Doneraile, Annsgrove/ Ballynmock, Among Others.

The undertakers in the plantation were exhorted to eradicate all traces of ‘Irishry’ in language, dress, religion, culture and local place names and impose English ones.   In the listing of the Cork Magistracy from 1650 to 1922 there are very exotic names given to the Magistrates Castles and Demesnes.  They would sit comfortable in the West County of England but sounds strange in the wilds of West or North Cork.  In many ways the English West Country and Cork form a common economic zone with the short sea crossing.

The Cork Magistracy on one reading can be viewed akin to the US Military Forts in ‘Injun Country’ keeping the wild Irish in check.  The policy of cultural subjudication has a long one in  human history.   The current example being ISIS and their systematic destruction of Christian and pre Islamic cultural manifestations in the Middle East.

In Ireland the area with the lowest level of survival of Gaelic placenames is Leinster where the Normans transformed the landscape from the 12th century.  Surprisingly the highest level of survival in in Presbyterian Ulster.


Obituary, Faulkner’s Dublin Journal,  7th February 1756, Owen An Mheirín (The Little finger) McCarthy, at Aharlu, near Ross, Co. Cork, Well Known Gaelic Poet, Historian and Herald, in which his Superior Knowledge and Singular Talents had rendered him very agreeable to such as had the Happiness of his Company.


Snippets from the Life of a Busy Solicitor.  P.J. (Patrick J.), O’Driscoll, Bandon, (1877- ). 1911 All the family and Servants have Irish. Jasper Travers Wolfe, Crown Prosecutor, Solicitor T.D., Skibbereen. 1813-1879, Timothy McCarthy Downing, Solicitor, Skibbereen, M.P. 1942 Patrick Walsh O’ Donovan, Solicitor, Clonakilty aged 74, Funeral. Came of Old Stock. Taught by Master Madden, at The Mountain, Ardfield, Clonakilty, who also taught Michael Collins, Sam Maguire and His brother. Apprenticed to Henry T. Wright, Crown Solicitor whose Practice he Acquired. Admitted a Solicitor 1891. President West Cork Bar Association. 1903 One of the 3 Founders of Clonakilty Agricultural Society, Honorary Treasurer of Carbery Hunt and Race Committee. Tourism Pioneer. Built Inchydoney Hotel 1932. The Wright Brothers of Lawyers, Fern Hill House, Clonakilty, Probably Related to the Protestant Sullivans, Landowners of Dunmanway.

Snippets from the Life of a Busy Solicitor.  P. J. O’Driscoll, Bandon

Patrick J. O’Driscoll Solicitor, Cloughmacsimon, Bandon. 1898, apprenticed to Patrick Joseph McCarthy From farming family Knockanreigh, 1901 has Irish.  1911 all the family and servant have Irish. South Main St.   1914 secretary Bandon Agricultural Show. District Council 1914 assentors to Peter Murphy, Cavendish Quay. Attending funeral 1933, Joseph Cullinane, Solicitor, Clonakilty.  1933 Dr. J. J.Hennessy, P.J.O’Driscoll, Solicitor, J. Neville, Solicitor settling difference between shareholders of Bandon Co-Op.  1932 involved in company trying to attract sugar beet factory to Bandon. Message of sympathy 1923, Mrs. Nora O’Leary nee McCarthy Courtmacsherry, Woodlands, Dunmanway.  Wife of Jeremiah O’Leary Solicitor.    Funeral of  Maurice Healy (1859-1923), Bantry  Born Solicitor, Funeral 1941, Mrs. Rachel Wolfe nee Wood, Snugboro, Skibbereen, aged 95, mother of Jasper Wolfe, Solicitor buried Aughadown,.   Southern Star 25th January 1941    1944, 1947 Master Carbery Hunt.                                                                                                                                                    1937        Judge Calnan        Later High Commissioner, India        Funeral 1930 Mrs. Margaret nee Crowley, widow of Joseph Calnan, mineral water manufacturer and  stout bottler, Kilmoyle, Bandon        Her brother late Joseph Crowley, Chief Commissioner, Somerset House, London .  1944 Master Carbery Hunt.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Attending the funeral 1950 of brother in law Father William Holland, PP Ardfield.  Father William Holland, Ardfield, Clonakilty,  (1876-1950). 1949 History of West Cork. Included genealogies of Barrys, De Courceys, McCarthys, O’Crowleys, O’Driscolls, O’Heas, O’Hurleys, O’Mahonys, O’Sullivans. 

Shebeen Dances. 1936 Solicitor Jasper Wolfe Attacks Pseudo-Virtuous Acts of Parliament. Charge of A Breach of Dance Hall Acts by Denis McCarthy, Bookmaker, Kilcrohane of having a Dance in His House. Dismissed by Justice.

1928.   Busy Bees Barred at Crookhaven But they Buzz Boisterously at Skibbereen Court. Jurisprudence of Bees in Crookhaven, Bees are Animals. Bees when Burned Evaporate.  Music Hath Charms to Soothe The Savage Bee. You Can’t Bring  The IRA Now!’  A Swarm of Bees in May is Worth a Load of Hay, in June A Silver Spoon, July not Worth a Butterfly.

Apart From the quarrelling neighbours the solicitors were Jasper Wolfe, still alive in West Cork folklore for his wit. One time Crown Prosecutor for West Cork later Independent TD and President of the incorporated Law Society.

The Other solicitor Thomas Healy, state solicitor for West Cork

1884, 1917 Jasper Travers Wolfe Solicitor, Crown Solicitor, TD “Norton, Skibbereen, 1st place Law Society Final Exam, Director Skibbereen Eagle member Governing Body, UCC.  subscriber Zenith Marine Disaster, Baltimore, 1895.  1895 Funeral and wreath of Bantry Solicitor  Daniel O’Donovan aged 26.  Native Skibbereen:Returning officer west Cork constituency election agent James Gilhooley MP.  1906 consortium Richard Wheeler Doherty, Solicitor, Bandon, John Walsh, businessman, director Allmans Distillery, Bandon, Hugo Flinn, Fish buyer, Cork, Jasper Travers Woulfe, solicitor, Skibbereen, took over Skibbereen Eagle on death of previous owner. 1909 attending the funeral of Dr. William Jennings, J.P.   1914 RDC election nominated by Parish Priest Fr..Michael O’Callaghan.  1935 funeral of Dr.Edward Shipsey, Schull.  1937 attending Ned Roycroft, funeral. Roycroft had nominated him and supported him as TD,

1952, Enormous Funeral, Skibbereen Closes Down, of Jasper Travers Wolfe, Born 1872, Solicitor, Crown Prosecutor West Cork, Three Times Elected TD, ‘He Had all of Munster as His Client’, First Corkman to be President Incorporated Law Society.

The Wolfes are  probably part of the migration of English Protestants  mainly from the West County to the Bandon area from the 1590s.  Ironically many were no conformist.  In time many of these families broke into three separate segments: Church of Ireland, Catholic and Methodist.  From church and other records it is likely that the Wolfes migrated westward from Bandon to the Skibbereen area and to the Mizen from the late 17th, early 18th  century.

Letitia Camier nee Kingston who with her late husband Tommy Camier  runs the Gotnagrough Folk Museum outside Ballydehob has the Wolfe Genealogies.  Included is Danno Mahony, Dereenlomane, World Wrestling Champion a Wolfe.

James Gilhooley (1847-1916), Fenian 1867, Irish Parliamentary Party MP, West Cork, Member ‘Bantry Band’, children at Four Mile Water (Durrus) National School.  In later years his election agent was Jasper Woulfe, Solicitor, Crown Prosecutor and later TD, Skibbereen.

1813-1879,1835, 1847 Timothy McCarthy Downing “Apprenticed to F.H. Downing, Kenmare. Solicitor in Skibbeeen 1836. , MP. His parents were Eugene and Nellie. Eugene was from Kenmare and Nellie hailed from Kilfadamore ? Back in 1876 Timothy proposed to change the name of Skibbereen to Illenmore or Illentown, which was voted down. ” Skibbereen 1847 distress meeting. as Clover Hill. Addressed meeting 1848 in Skibbereen to celebrate Liberation of William Smith O’Brien. Seeking equality of endowment in Catholic education Prospect House 1859. Rental income from his estates £2,000. From around Kenmare and brother of Roger Downing, Merchant, Bantry also active in Repeal Told O’Donovan Ross he was a ’48’ man he had a cherished possession a green cap the 48 men had when they were on the run and he would have been the first to handle a pike if he thought it would be of any use but not with England’s Army and Navy.. “Downing McCarthy, (M.P. for Co. Cork) ; second son of Eugene Downing, Esq, of Kenmare, co. Kerry b. 1814 ; m. 1837. Is a J.P. and D.L. of co. Cork. First elected, 1868. Res.—Prospect House, Skibbereen, co. Cork; Reform Club, S. W.

1942 Patrick Walsh O’ Donovan, Solicitor, Clonakilty aged 74, Funeral. Came of Old Stock. Taught by Master Madden, at The Mountain, Ardfield, who also taught Michael Collins, Sam Maguire. Apprenticed to Henry T. Wright, Crown Solicitor whose Practice he Acquired. Admitted a Solicitor 1891. President West Cork Bar Association. 1903 One of the 3 Founders of Clonakilty Agricultural Society, Honorary Treasurer of Carbery Hunt and Race Committee. Tourism Pioneer. Built Inchydoney Hotel 1932. The Wright Brothers of Lawyers , Clonakilty

Orthography, Durrus District, 1842

Place names and the Ordnance Survey

The basic function of a placename is to establish identity and to assist communications. Placenames are a valuable part of our cultural inheritance.

The history of placenames in the Ordnance Survey began in November 1824 when the first survey of Ireland by the British Ordnance Survey commenced. The survey was at a scale of 6 inches to one mile.

At that time, local taxes were based on the Valuation of Townland units. Detailed mapping of townlands was required to make the tax system more equitable. There are over 51,000 townlands in the Republic of Ireland and each one is named. In this extract from the 6 inch plan Donegal 004-01, the townlands are outlined in red.

Special instructions, concerning the treatment of Placenames, were issued by the officer in charge of the survey Lt. Col. Thomas Colby.

  • The persons employed on the survey are to endeavour to obtain the correct orthography of the names of places diligently consulting the best authorities within their reach.
  • The name of each place is to be inserted as it is commonly spelt, in the first column of the name book; and the various modes of spelling it used in books, writings &c., are to be inserted in the second column, with the authority placed in the third column opposite to each.
  • The situation of the place is to be recorded in a popular manner in the fourth column of the namebook.
  • A short description of the place and any other remarkable circumstances relating to it are to be inserted.

This data was recorded in Namebooks which are now stored in the National Archive.

From 1830, Irish civilians were employed by the survey to collect and examine the evidence for the purpose of deciding a suitable English language spelling for each name which had not already an accepted standardised English orthographic form.
Generally speaking, the spelling in English of the names of towns and of some physical features had already been standardized. Most of the work still to be done was related to the numerous townlands [over 51,000][/over].

The vast majority of the names originated in the Irish language and the standardised forms were to be anglicisations.

There are many examples, here are a few of the more common ones:
Baile_________ became Bally__________,
Cill___________ became Kil____________,
Dún_________ became Dun___________ or Down__________. etc.,

The most famous of the researchers was John O Donovan from Kilkenny. Others involved were Eugene Curry from Clare and Thomas O Connor from Monaghan. The rise of Nationalism in the 1900’s led to renewed interest in the Irish language. The Gaelic League published a book in 1905,written by Seosamh Laoide. The book was called Post-Sheanchas and it gave the Irish language form of the names of the Post Offices in Ireland.

Around the same time Dublin Corporation began erecting bilingual street nameplates.

In 1946 An Coimisiún Logainmneacha was established.

The Placenames Branch of the Ordnance Survey was established with the purpose of researching the placenames of Ireland in order to provide authoritative Irish language forms of those names for both official use and for use by the general public. The research was focused on the names of the administrative units and the physical features.

Many sources were available when attempting to ascertain the original Irish forms of Placenames.

These sources include surviving native materials written in Irish and Latin between the 7th and 19th Centuries.

However, the majority of Irish placenames are found only in anglicised versions.

These include:

  • Rolls and Deeds relating to the Anglo-Norman period of the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • Inquisitions and Surveys which detail the seizures and land grants of the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • The Deeds and Estate Maps of the 18th century.
  • Documents relating to the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland, particularly the Namebooks and the Irish forms recorded by John O Donovan and his colleagues.

The Placenames branch provided Irish placename forms for a number of the Ordnance Survey’s maps. In the 1970’s , it was decided, as far as possible, that all the administrative names, townlands, baronies and electoral districts would be bilingual. Larger Geographical features were also to be bilingual.

The following extract from the OSi Act 2001 describes administrative units and how they evolved.

Extract from Sheet 3175-A showing the names of the E.D. and the townland bilingually.

Extract from 1:50,000 Discovery series showing the official English language version and official Irish language version of the mountain name.

Extract from Road Atlas of Ireland, 4th Edition, Page 34 showing the official English language version and official Irish language version of some town names.

Information extracted from Ordnance Survey In Ireland and The Placenames of Ireland in the Third Millennium.

These publications will help with any research.

Gasaitéar na hÉireann /Gazetteer of Ireland

  • 1989
  • Lists bilingually 3500 approx, of the most widely used placenames in Ireland.
  • Includes a National Grid Reference [ING][/ING]
  • A guide to the pronunciation of the Irish version of the name

Logainmneacha na hÉireann

  • 1990
  • will present all the documentry evidence for each form of the name.
  • Produced on a county basis

Liostaí Logainmneacha

  • 1992
  • Bilingual lists of the official Irish and English place names of all permanent administrative units in each county
  • includes townlands, civil parishes & baronies.
  • One book per county.

There is also a Gazeteer in The Complete Road Atlas of Ireland.



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1886 Attempted Eviction and Siege at Tim Hurley’s Castle (Mill and Farm) , Castleview, Clonakilty.  Landlord Francis Evans Bennett, (1824-1888), Cregan Manor, Rosscarbery.

1886 Attempted Eviction and Siege at Tim Hurley’s Castle (Mill and Farm) , Castleview, Clonakilty.  Landlord Francis Evans Bennett, (1824-1888), Cregan Manor, Rosscarbery.

The eviction eventually succeeded but was a pyrrhic victory as all the mill machinery had been moved and no one could be found to take the evicted farm.

To the present day relations of the extended Hurley thrive in various businesses in the locality.


1835. Alexis de Tocqueville in West Cork

‘In our open diligence there were two young men both very uproariously drunk. They talk to and made jokes at almost every passerby. All, men and women, answered with laughter and other pleasantries. I thought I was in France.


Bantry, 1842.  The town is most picturesquely situated, climbing up a wooded hill. with numbers of neat cottages here and there, an ugly church with an air of pretension, and a large grave Roman Catholic chapel the highest point of the place. The Main Street was as usual thronged with the squatting blue cloaks, carrying on their eager trade of butter-milk and green apples, and such cheap wares. With the exception of this street and the quay, with their whitewashed and slated houses, it is a town of cabins.

‘The wretchedness of some of them is quite curious: I tried to make a sketch of a row which lean against an old wall, and are built upon a rock that tumbles about in the oddest and most fantastic shapes, with a brawling waterfall dashing down a channel in the midst. These are, it appears, the beggars’ houses: anyone may build a lodge against this wall, rent-free; and such places were never seen! As for drawing them, it was in vain to try; one might as well make a sketch of a bundle of rags.  An ordinary pigsty in England is really more comfortable. Most of them were not six feet long or five feet high, built of stones huddled together, a hole being left for the people to creep in at, a ruined thatch to keep out some little portion of the rain. The occupiers of these places sat at their doors in tolerable contentment, or the children came down and washed their feet in the water. I declare I believe a Hottentot kraal has more comforts in it: even to write of the place makes one unhappy, and the words move slow. But in the midst of all this misery there is an air of actual cheerfulness; and go but a few score yards off, and these wretched hovels lying together look really picturesque and pleasing’.

He prophesied the demise of the Landoor system in a way everyone involved was shackled  and no winners.



Public meeting in Skibbereen re failure of Munster Bank in 1885

Skibbereen Meeting re Failure of Munster Bank

From  Should the Munster Bank have been saved?  Cormac Ó Gráda, University College Dublin  WP01/ 15July 2001

In the century and a half since Sir Robert Peel s Bank Act of 1845 only two major Irish banks have failed.  The Tipperary Bank, which folded in February 1856, was one of the swindles perpetrated by John Sadleir M.P.   Less drastic in terms of losses to shareholders but more interesting as banking history is the collapse of the much bigger Munster Bank inJuly 1885.  Though the problems which led to its demise were largely self-inflicted, several observers felt at the time that it could, or should, have been rescued.  Some even accusedIreland s then quasi-central bank, the Bank of Ireland, of allowing it to sink.  Was this an example of the Bank of Ireland failing to discharge its unofficial responsibility as the Irish Banking system’s lender of last resort (LLR)?  Or was it a case of the Old Lady of College Green acting so as to minimise the moral hazard inherent in that function


Convened public meeting in Skibbereen re failure of Munster Bank in 1885

Of those mention attending the meeting


Richard Carey, (1838-, Skibbereen, 188?,  son of Rev. Richard, Tipperary, ed Fermoy College, Manager Munster and Leinster Bank.  m Katherine d William Hill Cork 8 children.   Present at the opening of Skibbereen Railway, July, 1877.  1909 Funeral Dr. William Jennings, Doctor and  Magistrate, Skibbereen. Listed North Main St., Youghal, 1916

Dr. John Samuel Levis, TCD,  M.D., 1865, (1822-1902), Glenview, Skibbereen, Resident, £182.  Son of Samuel, Baronial Constable and major land holder.  Adjudicating Magistrate Skibbereen and Drimoleague Districts. Ex-Officio member Skibbereen Board of Guardians. Regarded as a tolerant Landlord well respected. Levis family pre 1800 usually described as Lavers of Huguenot origin.  Sitting Drimloleague 1866.1885 chairing presentment session West Division, West Riding.  1893, attending funeral of Michael Sheehy, T. C., P.L.G., Skibbereen. 1901 two servants. Probate 1903 to Bruce Levis, £2,472.

Thomas Downes, Solicitor, North St. “Born son Thomas Mitchelstown, Castleknock College, Gold Medalist, partner with McCarthy Downing MP 1870, land agent to Wrixon-Beecher, Local bodies and railways.  Subscriber (3 copies) Dr. Daniel Donovan ‘History of Carbery, 1876. Probably advanced money in 1888 and secured a mortgage to Whites (Lord Bantry).  Paddy O’Keeffe   1894 assistant John James Carmody.  1876 Andrew Collins. Attending  1893, Rev. Charles Davis, Parish Priest, Baltimore aged 63, Founder of Baltimore Fishery School. ” “1871 funeral Skibbereen, Timothy McCarthy Downing, solicitor, MP, landlord.   Married 1876, Teresa d late Charles O’Connell, RM, Bantry, and first Catholic MP for Kerry whose wife was the 2nd daughter of Daniel O’Connell.   subscriber Zenith Marine Disaster, Baltimore, 1895.  1877.   Opening  Skibbereen Railway

T. Downes  J. E. Marshall  Prominent in Carbery Agricultural Show.  Sent a carriage to the funeral of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Somerville D.L. (1824-1898), Clontaff, Drishane. Died 1904, probate to widow Theresa and Daniel O’Connell Esq Agent Bank of Ireland Effects £10,676 5s 6d…..

Ms. Carrie (Caroline Mary)  Townshend, (1859 -1951).  West Cork  and Dublin.  Popularity of the Irish Harp.  Teacher of Irish. Giving evidence in America of British Brutality During Troubles in Ireland.  Member Christian Science Church.  1915 Aeridheacht at Glandore with Madeline Townshend.  The name Caroline Townshend is known to only a handful of people in Ireland but if any deserves to be a household name, surely it is hers, for it almost entirely due to her efforts that the ancient Irish harping tradition became firmly re-established.

Ms. Carrie (Caroline Mary)  Townshend, (1859 -1951).  West Cork  and Dublin.  Popularity of the Irish Harp.  Teacher of Irish. Giving evidence in America of British Brutality During Troubles in Ireland.  Member Christian Science Church.  1915 Aeridheacht at Glandore with Madeline Townshend.  The name Caroline Townshend is known to only a handful of people in Ireland but if any deserves to be a household name, surely it is hers, for it almost entirely due to her efforts that the ancient Irish harping tradition became firmly re-established.

Re Peadar Ó hAnnracháin, (1873-1985). Peadar was a wonderful Conradh na Gaeilge organiser throughout a number of counties including Cork and he wrote several books as Gaeilge. He also wrote on the Southern Star as ‘Cois Life’ in the 1940s and 1950s. In that period he worked in the Pigs and Bacon Commission in Dublin.  The column often wandered over long lost history, family relationships and there was a touch of the ‘Seanachaí’ about them.  The daughter of the Gaelic Scholar, landowner and businessman in Ballydehob Thomas Swanton, Crianlarich, gave him her father’s papers.

The extended Townshend/Townsend family of West Cork have a rainbow of political opinion from bright Orange to bright Green.  Carrie is definitely on the Green wing.  One of the rarely matriarch of the family is Helen Gallwey alias Townsend1709 Wife to Philip Townsend and daughter to John Galway, of Cork, Esquire.  She is Ancestor of Skibbereen Townsends The Cork Galweys/Galways may be Hiberno-Danish in origin She appears in the Convert Rolls ac converting to the Church of Ireland due to the Penal Laws.


This account is very much in the style Peadar Ó hAnnracháin, (1873-1985).

One of Ireland’s Great Patriots. Sir Richard Griffith (1784–1878). Partial Reminiscences Dictated 1869. Lent by Ashley Powell SC.

Sir Richard Griffith Partial Reminiscences Dictated 1869. Lent by Ashley Powell SC.

Ashley Powell SC

Professor Ashley Powell, B.A., T.C.D., B.L., S.C. Barrister, 1913,  Judge Egypt to 1923 after practising Cairo in British and native courts, British Intelligence in Middle East, WW1, wounded Arabia, Reid professorship of Law TCD 1930,  Senior Counsel 1947, Bencher 1956, Registrar St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Member Church of Ireland Council, Son of Venerable Archdeacon Dace Powell, St. Annes Shandon.  Nephew Dr. Ashley Cummins, Professor of Medicine UCC. Grandson of Dr. William Jackson Cummins, South Mall.  Attending the 1953 funeral of Jasper Travers Wolfe, solicitor, Skibberen.  Went to Cambridge to study Arabic.  Married 1922 Dorothy Uniacke Townsend, Pairc-na-Saileoge, Enniskerry of West Cork family. 1941 funeral of Geoge Daly representing Protestant Barristers.  Jack Lynch, Circuit Court Office later Taoiseach, P.D. Fleming, B.L., Sean McBride, B.L., Mrs. Siobhan McCurtain-McNamara, B.L., F. Neville B.L., S. Fawsitt, B.L., T. Desmond, B.L., F. McCarthy-Cotter, Father of the Cork Circuit,  D .O’Donovan Junior, B.L., D.P. Forde., B.L., Jasper Travers Wolfe representing Incorporated Law Society, Prof C. K. Murphy UCC Law Department, Ashley Powell representing Protestant members of the Bar Funeral of  Maurice Healy (1859-1923), Bantry  Born Solicitor,  Jubilee Dinner given to him by the Bar at Victoria Hotel addressed by John A. Costello, father of Munster Bar, former Taoiseach. Son William Powell, M.D. Cork

1831, Sir Richard Griffith Report on Bridges he Built on Roads from Skibbereen to Crookhaven and Skibbereen to Bantry, Span, Cost, Location.

1824 Richard Griffith, Road Engineer, Progress Report, Skibbereen to Crookhaven, Wheeled Carts now Appear, where heretofore Loads were carried on the Backs of Horses, New Entrance to Town Of Bandon, Road From Courtmacsherry to Timoleague, Road from Clonakilty to New Fishery Pier At Ring, New Road Skibbereen to Bantry, Macroom to Killarney, with a Note on The System of Labour Organisation Used.

Griffith’s Roads: Report of Patrick Leahy, Civil Engineer, 1834 to Co. Cork Grand July of Progress of Road from Dunmanus Bay to Skibbereen, Nearly Completed, Extension to Ballydehob Approved, and Report of Edmund Leahy, County Surveyor to Grand July 1840 on Ballylickey to Crookstown, 27 miles Active, Bantry to Glengariff 10 miles Near Completion, Crookhaven to Barleycove, Ballydehob to Bantry To Be Finished Current Season.

Report of Richard Griffith Engineer on new road Skibbereen to Bantry 1823

Griffith, Sir Richard John Contributed by Jackson, Patrick N. Wyse Griffith, Sir Richard John (1784–1878), public servant, surveyor, and geologist, was born 20 September 1784 at 8 Hume St., Dublin (the house is marked by a plaque), son of Richard Griffith (qv), MP for Askeaton, deputy governor of Co. Kildare, and director of the Grand Canal Co. of Ireland, and Charity Yorke (née Bramston; d. 1789) of Oundle, Northamptonshire. His father had made a considerable fortune with the East India Co., but lost a great deal of money during the building of the canals. Griffith spent much of his childhood at his father’s estate at Millicent, Co. Kildare. He was educated at a number of provincial schools, in Portarlington, Queen’s Co. (Laois), and then Rathangan, Co. Kildare, and at the age of 15 joined the Royal Irish Regiment of Artillery in 1800. His army sojourn was short; following the enactment of the act of union in 1801, Griffith resigned his commission (but continued to receive full pay) and went to London, where he studied geology, chemistry, and mineralogy at William Nicholson’s Scientific Establishment for Pupils. At much the same time he also studied chemistry under Robert Perceval (qv) of TCD. In 1806 he was in Edinburgh, where he attended the lectures of Robert Jameson, and moved in the city’s scientific circles, becoming a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh the following year. Between 1809 and 1813 he served as one of a number of engineers appointed to investigate and map bogs for the Irish bog commissioners, and produced a valuable report on the bog of Allen. Recognising his newly acquired geological expertise, the Dublin Society in 1809 commissioned him to survey the Leinster coalfield; his report and map were published in 1814, and he followed this with similar reports for the Connacht coalfield (1819) and that of Co. Tyrone and Co. Antrim (1829). He served as the society’s mining engineer (1812–39), which required him to deliver a public course of lectures, and was engaged in road and bridge building in the south-west of the country (1822–36). During this period he was responsible for laying out 243 miles of roads and erecting eighteen bridges; his finest bridge is that of five arches which spans the River Feale at Listowel, Co. Kerry. Griffith is today mainly remembered for his work as commissioner of the general survey and valuation of rateable property (1830–64). He was responsible for overseeing two important surveys. The first general survey undertaken was the ‘perambulation’ or ‘boundary survey’, which mapped the extent of the 68,000 townlands in Ireland. The second tenement valuation survey, now known as the ‘Griffith valuation’, was established in 1846 and charged with estimating the value of land holdings, data that was then used to determine local taxation levies. From 1836 he was a commissioner of railways (the commission deliberated until 1838 on the most suitable routes for Ireland’s developing rail network), and later was appointed deputy chairman, and subsequently chairman, of the board of works, positions he held between 1846 and 1864. Through his own field observations and through those of a number of members of the valuation staff, most notably Patrick Ganly (qv), Griffith acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the geology of Ireland. He was determined to produce a geological map of the country that would match William Smith’s 1815 geological map of England and Wales, and in 1839 he persuaded the railway commissioners to publish such a map at the scale of a quarter of an inch to the mile; further revised versions appeared up till 1855. Griffith was very proud of his geological cartographic achievement but failed to acknowledge the major contribution of others in its genesis. His fossil collections were described in two monographs (1844, 1846) by Frederick M’Coy (qv), and these remain important sources for modern-day palaeontological research. Griffith was an active and founder member of the Geological Society of Dublin and its successor the Royal Geological Society of Ireland, serving on the council for many years and as its president (1836, 1840). He was elected an honorary member of the Geological Society of London (1808) and an MRIA (1819), and was president of the geological and geographical section at the 1835 Dublin meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. TCD conferred on him an honorary LL.D. (1849) and honorary MAI (1861). In 1854 he was awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society of London. He was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (1850–55; 1861–63). Griffith had a remarkable, long, and varied career as a public servant, and he was rewarded for this work with a baronetcy in 1858. He died 22 September 1878 at his home, 2 Fitzwilliam St., Dublin (marked, like his birthplace, with a plaque), and is buried in a prominent position in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin. A marble bust by Sir Thomas Farrell (qv) is in the possession of the RDS. He married (September 1812) Maria Jane Waldie (1786–1865) of Kelso, Scotland. They had one son – George Richard (d. 1889), who later took the surname Waldie-Griffith on inheriting his mother’s family Scottish estate in 1865 – and four daughters. His eldest daughter Jane, was thought to have eloped to America at the age of 16, and was apparently never mentioned in the family circle again. Sources G. L. Herries Davies and R. C. Mollan (ed.), Richard Griffith 1784–1878 (1980); G. L. Herries Davies, Sheets of many colours: the mapping of Ireland’s rocks 1750–1890 (1983); G. L. Herries Davies, article in ODNB (2004); R. Griffith, ‘Autobiography’, MS dated 25 Aug. 1869 (copies in NAI and NLI) PUBLISHING INFORMATION