Category Archives: Ireland

Owen O’Conor, the O’Conor Don 1763 – 1831

Owen O’Conor, the O’Conor Don (1763 – 1831), of Belanagare and Clonalis, co. Roscommon was the brother in law of Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832). He was married to Judith Moore’s eldest sister Jane. So he’s a 5th great-uncle.

He was the first Catholic M.P. for Roscommon since his ancestor Sir Hugh O’Conor Don (1541-1632) ,  his son and two grandsons were also M.P’s. He was a friend, and colleague of Daniel O’Connell, who wrote to his son Denis after his death

” The death of my most respected and loved friend, your father, was to me a severe blow … How little does the world know of the value of the public services of men who like him held themselves always in readiness without ostentation or parade but with firmness and sincerity to aid in the struggles which nations make for liberty … I really know no one individual to whom the Catholics of Ireland are so powerfully indebted for the successful result of their contest for emancipation … His was not holiday patriotism … No, in the worst of times and when the storms of calumny and persecution from our enemies and apathy and treachery from our friends raged at their height he was always found at his post. “

He was only an M.P. from 1830 – 12 June 1831, but the seat was inherited by his son Denis who was an M.P for sixteen years, and later his grandson Charles Owen O’Conor who was an M.P for Roscommon for twenty years.

The O’Conors were descended from the ancient kings of Connaught through a younger son of Sir Hugh O’Conor Don (1541-1632) of Ballintubber Castle, sometime Member for county Roscommon. Owen’s grandfather Charles O’Conor (1710-91) was a noted antiquary and his father Denis and uncle Charles (1736-1808) of Mount Allen, as heirs to one of the oldest and most extensive Irish landholding families in the province, participated in the Catholic agitation of the late eighteenth century.

Owen, who served as a Volunteer in 1782 and was one of the Roscommon delegates to the Catholic convention in 1793, was also active in this campaign and probably became involved with the United Irishmen. However, except for his remark to Wolfe Tone in January 1793 that he was prepared for extreme measures, he steered clear of revolutionary activity, unlike his radical cousin Thomas (of Mount Allen), who in 1801 emigrated to New York; it was there that his son Charles (1804-84) became a prominent Democrat lawyer.

Denis O’Conor’s fourth cousin Dominick O’Conor (d. 1795) had left Clonalis ( the family house, and estate)  to his wife Catherine (d. 1814) and then to Owen as future head of the family. This was disputed by Dominick’s younger brother Alexander, who succeeded him as the O’Conor Don and had delusions of establishing himself as a self-styled monarch in a rebuilt Ballintubber Castle; he and his next brother Thomas, who predeceased him, were described by Skeffington Gibbon as ‘men of high and noble birth, but from their eccentric, secluded, pecuniary difficulties and habits, hardly known beyond the walls of the smoky and despicable hovels in which they lived and died’. After protracted litigation that reduced the value of the property, O’Conor purchased Clonalis outright in 1805, and on Alexander’s death in December 1820 he inherited the headship of the Don part of the old Catholic clan of the O’Conors. 

By the early 1820s the O’Conor Don was one of the most influential of the older generation of reformers in the Catholic Association. He played a leading part in the regular petitioning by Catholics in Roscommon, where he gave his electoral support to the pro-Catholic County Members. He spoke against the introduction of Poor Laws to Ireland and the increased Irish stamp and spirit duties. He stood in the general election of 1830,  pledging to support a range of radical reforms and to devote the rest of his life to the Irish cause. He was returned unopposed as the first Catholic to represent Roscommon since his ancestor Sir Hugh.

Poverty in Ireland – 1904

Poverty in Ireland.—The annual reports of the Irish Local Government- Board, says The Freeman’s Journal, are annual reminders of the nature of that “progress” about which our governors make boast. They give us statistics of Irish poverty covering three decades. The latest report carries us back to the year 1873, when there were 5,327,938 people in Ireland ; and
furnishes us the figures of pauperism for the year ending March, 1903, when the population was about 4,413,655.  [The Irish census taken in 1841 recorded a population of 8,175,124, and that of 1851 a total of 6,552,385 with approximately 1,000,000 dying during the famine. The Irish population dropped by 46%, and 3,000,000 people emigrated] 

With nearly a million people gone, it might be expected that we should have fewer paupers among those who remain. The depopulation of the country, we have often been assured, was a necessary step in its progress. It meant an increase of prosperity to those left behind. Strange, then, that there should be a far higher proportion of paupers in 1903 than in 1873. The five and a third millions supplied only 40,837 inmates to the workhouses at the beginning of the year 1873; the four and two-fifths millions provided 42,784.

In 1873 there were only 206,482 admissions to Irish workhouses ; in 1903 there were 333,729, an increase of 127,247, or over 60 per cent. That is the measure of the ” improvement ” effected by the disappearance of nearly a million of the population. Nor is that the whole story. We gather from another portion of the report that in the decade preceding 1873 the total number of dangerous lunatics certified by the, dispensary medical officers was 6,561 ; while in the decade preceding 1903 it was 21,354. An increase of 60 per cent. in indoor pauperism, an increase of over 200 per cent in lunacy, the blood-letting of a country so strongly recommended by the political “Sangrados”, [quack doctors] produces strange effects upon the national wealth and health. On the average, one out of every forty-four of the population was on the daily paupers’ list during the year ending March 31, 1903.

The above text was found on p.18, 7th May 1904 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Lords Walter and Frederick Fitzgerald. The Kildare Observer 24th October 1898

Frederick (1857 -1924) and Walter Fitzgerald (1858 – 1923) were younger sons of the 4th Duke of Leinster. They were the eighth, and ninth, children respectively, and the third , and fourth sons. Both seemed to have lived mostly ay Kilkea Castle which was one of the family homes, but not at Carton House, in co. Kildare, which was the family seat in the nineteenth century, until its sale in 1920’s to pay the gambling debts of the 7th Duke. Lord Walter Fitzgerald was an antiquarian, and Irish historian.

The Kildare Observer 24 October 1898

The Leinster Family – Lords Walter & Frederick Fitzgerald

References to the old family of the Fitzgeralds were made recently in the “Daily Independent.” Writing with regard to Lords Walter and Frederick, the “Independent” says: –

Aerial View Kilkea Castle

“Lord Walter Fitzgerald resides at Kilkea Castle, Co. Kildare, a charming old residence which has been for centuries one of the family places of the Earls of Kildare. Now that the tradition of 1798 have been revived, sombre interest is attached to the place, by reason of the fact that Lord Edward Fitzgerald interested himself to procure a lease of the Castle and lands from his brother, the Duke of Leinster, for his friend, Thomas Reynolds, one of the Leinster Council of the United Irishmen. But Reynolds lived, never suspected of the deepest treachery which ever disgraced the name of Irishman. This Reynolds it was who gave information to the Government, which resulted in the arrest in Bond’s house of the Revolutionary Directorate just a few days before the appointed date of the Insurrection. He bargained his price and he was paid it. In Kilkea are some valuable family paintings, and perhaps, the best portrait by Hamilton, of the ill-fated Lord Edward hangs upon the walls of the Library.

Lord Walter takes a keen interest in the life and times of Lord Edward, for he is a thorough Irishman, and delights to dwell upon the glorious traditions of the House of Geraldine. He is a well known archaeologist and is an authority upon Celtic nomenclature. When the editor of the “Weekly Independent” was compiling material for his article for the Christmas Number of that newspaper, Lord Walter gave him much valuable information and, unhesitatingly placed at his disposal many documents which were of rare value and historical worth. Perhaps the most significant, certainly the most pathetic treasure in Kilkea, is the plastic cast from the inscription cut in the wall of the cell in the Tower of London, by “Silken Thomas” over four hundred years ago. It reads: “Thomas Fitzger.” The Lord of O’Fally was dragged to the headsman before his hand had finished the inscription. It was at Kilkea that the Wizard Earl of Kildare practised the black arts; and there is a story accredited to present day, that on breaking down a wall in the place long ago, a secret chamber was discovered, wherein sat the figure of a grey haired man poring over a parchment covered with strange characters. With the rush of air the form crumbled away, and nothing remained but a handful of dust.

Beneath the shadow of Kilkea Castle is an old burying ground, moss and lichen overspreading many a forgotten slab and grave. There is humour in all things, and Lord Walter Fitzgerald will not let you depart until you take a look at one headstone which is a perpetual joke. It reads: –

Erected by
THOMAS O’TOOLE.
1779,
In memory of his posterity.

A Scottish antiquarian strayed down to Kilkea once upon a time, and the humour of this penetrated into his brain, and in the excess of his astonishment he offered to purchase the tombstone. Needless to say, he left without even taking away even a rubbing of the grim piece of humour that laughs on one hundred years after the good-hearted Thomas O’Toole was laid to rest. Lord Walter has, since the publication of “The Geraldine,” been pleased to express himself extremely gratified at the way Lord Edward’s life has been treated by the Editor of the “Weekly Independent.”

Lord Frederick Fitzgerald, the late Duke of Leinster’s eldest brother, is the guardian of the present young duke, whose charming personality has been noticed in this column. Lord Frederick, like his brother Lord Walter Fitzgerald, was pleased beyond measure when he heard that the story of Lord Edward Fitzgerald was to be made the subject of the Christmas number of the “Weekly Independent.” Like most others, he recognised that no brief and continuous narrative of Lord Edward was in existence, and he did his share in helping the editor of our contemporary in making his sketch authentic and complete. He placed the documents he had in the Carton [ Carton House, co. Kildare was the main family seat from 1815 until the 1920’s.] collection at the disposal of the editor of the “Weekly Independent,” and permitted Mr. W.C. Mills to make sketches of any historical articles or pictures which might be of interest. Of these latter, the pike presented by the United Irishmen to Lord Edward takes first rank.

Carton House, Maynooth, co. Kildare.

Lord Frederick Fitzgerald held a position in the Rifles, and saw a considerable amount of active service. Perhaps the most interesting part of his military career was when his battalion was on eviction duty in the North of Ireland. The peasants invariably drew a hard and fast line between the military and police, and whereas the R.I.C came in for all the contumely, the Rifles were “Never bothered at all, at all.” One day an old peasant, who had been reading in the “Derry Journal” that the men who resisted extermination following in the footsteps of Tone and Lord Edward Fitzgerald, came up to Lord Frederick as he stood in front of his company and asked “Tell me yer honour, aren’t you a relative of Lord Edward?”   “I am” answered the Major of the Rifles. “An’ why are ye here,” asked the peasant, “an’ Lord Edward such a friend of Mr Parnell’s?” Lord Frederick was dumbfounded, but managed to reply “Well, you see, Lord Edward is dead for nearly hundred years.”  “Divil may care,” replied the hardy peasant; “if he was alive wouldn’t he be on Parnell’s side?” “To tell you the truth” answered the officer, “I believe he would be.” That night the healths of Mr Parnell, Lord Edward, and the commander of the Rifle detachment were drunk in three times three in the house by the cross-roads.

An Irish outing – 1894

This just makes me smile..

The fourth Annual Excursion Meeting [of the County Kildare Archaeological Society]  took place on Tuesday, the 18th September (1894), at Castledermot, Kilkea, and district.

A special train was run from Kildare to Mageney, in connection with the morning trains on the main line.

Ruins of the Franciscan Abbey, Castledermot, co. Kildare.

On the arrival of the train at Mageney, the company betook themselves to the vehicles which were provided by the Society for the conveyance of the Members to the various places to be  visited during the day, and under the conductorship of Lord Walter FitzGerald, who, with Mr. Arthur Vicars, Ulster, had charge of the arrangements for the day, a long procession of vehicles started for Castledermot, three and a-half miles distant, where the forces of the Society were augmented by others who had driven from contiguous parts of the county. All assembled in the ruins of the Franciscan Abbey to hear a Paper of deep research read by the Vice-President of the Society, Most Rev. Dr. Comerford, who traced the history of the old abbey down from remote ages.

The next move was for the Church, where Lord Walter FitzGerald gave a short dissertation on the Round Tower attached to the church, on which subject he had already written a Paper in the Journal.

The chief interest in the churchyard however, was centred in the Old Celtic Cross, which had been restored by a former Duke of Leinster.

The Southern Cross, Castledermot cemetery, co Kildare

Miss Margaret Stokes (Hon. Member of the K.A.S.) gave a most interesting lecture on the fine Old Cross, describing the various scenes carved on the sides, and touching generally on the archaeology and history of Old Celtic Crosses, on which subject Miss Stokes is one of our greatest authorities.

The peculiar “hole stone” close by was pointed out and discoursed on by Lord Walter FitzGerald, after which luncheon was the order of the day. The company proceeded to the adjoining schoolhouse, kindly lent for the purpose by the Rev. C. Ganly, where Lord Walter FitzGerald had made most ample arrangements for those who had sent in their names for luncheon a few days before.

The Members and their friends then drove to Kilkea, some three and a-half miles distant, first visiting the ruins of the old church of Kilkea, Rev. C. Ganly shortly detailing its history, after which they proceeded to the Castle a few yards off, where they were received by the Ladies FitzGerald, and having taken up their position on the terrace, which formed an admirable natural lecture theatre, with the Castle in the background, the Rev. C. Ganly commenced a Paper on Kilkea Castle, which will be published in the Journal.

Kilkea Castle, co Kildare.

The whole Company then adjourned to the interior of the Castle to inspect the quaint old building, which is an admirable specimen of an Irish feudal castle, adapted to modern usage, with walls of prodigious thickness. Many antiquities were to be seen in the hall, and some interesting historical portraits, but we must remember that although this is the original residence of the FitzGeralds of ancient days, still Carton is now the principal seat of that family, where naturally are to be found its chief treasures and objects of historical family interest.

The Ladies FitzGerald had kindly invited the Society to tea, which formed a very welcome termination to the day’s proceedings. Mr. Mansfield having photographed those present in the Castle grounds, and it being now late, the party separated on the return journey to Mageney and Athy, to catch their various trains, having spent a very enjoyable day in most magnificent weather. On the whole the Members of the Society have reason to congratulate themselves on their annual excursions, which hitherto have always worked so satisfactorily, and given the Society quite a reputation for its Excursion Meetings.

Kilkea Castle, co Kildare.

The following Members and Visitors took part in the Excursion : —

The Earl of Mayo (President) ; The Countess of Mayo; Most Rev. Dr. Comerford (Vice-President), Mr. and Mrs. Cooke Trench; Mr. D. Mahony ; Mr. H. Hendrick-Aylnier, High Sheriff (Hon.Treasurer); Colonel Bonham ; Miss Bonham ; Mr. Mark Taylor ; Mr. Casimir O’Meagher; Mr. and Mrs. Mackay Wilson ; Lord Walter Fitz Gerald (Hon. Secretary) ; Mr. Arthur Vicars, Ulster King-of-Arms (Hon. Secretary) The Dean of Kildare, and Mrs. Cowell; Rev. C. W. Ganly ; Very Rev. Thomas Tynan; Rev. Denis Murphy ; Lady Weldon; Captain Weldon; Miss Margaret Stokes, Hon. Member, K.A.S. ; Colonel Vigors ; Mr. and Mrs. Grove White ; Mr. W. R. J. Molloy ; Mr. S. J. Brown; Rev. J. F. M. Ffrench ; Mr. T. J. Hannon; Rev. W. Elliott; Mr. J. R. Sutclitfe; Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Sweetman ; Mr. and Mrs. Carroll, and Miss Carroll; Rev. E. O’Leary; Rev E. Hogan; Rev. J. Dunne; Major and Mrs. Rynd; Rev. M. Devitt; Very Rev. Dr. Burke; Rev. M. Walsh ; Mr. L. Dunne; Colonel Wilson ; Mrs. Wall and Miss Scovill; Surgeon-Major Keogh; Miss Archbold; Lady Eva FitzGerald; Lady Mabel FitzGerald; Mr. J. Whiteside Dane; Mr. George Mansfield and Mrs. Mansfield; Rev. Canon Travers- Smith ; Rev. D. Meake ; Mr. Gerald FitzGerald; Mr. A. Wharburton; Mr. Morgan Mooney ; Miss Power; Miss Manders ; Mrs. Ross; Miss Browne; Mrs. Blake; Mrs. Engledow ; Rev. A. Kirkpatrick; Rev. P. Connolly ; Miss Jones ; Mr. R. L. Weldon ; Mrs, and Miss Taylor ; Mr. W. T. Kirkpatrick ; Mr. and Mrs. Vipond Barry ; Rev. J. D. Osborne, and Mrs. Osborne; Miss Braham ; Miss Elliott ; Miss Awdry; Miss H. M. Heathcote ; Miss M. Manders ; Mr, Thynne, C.B. ; Mrs. Woollcombe ; Mr. R. L, Woollcombe ; Rev. Mr. Mackey ; Rev. Mr. Gormley ; Miss Burroughs ; Miss Boyd ; Mr. Nicholas J. Synnott; Rev, J. Bird; Mr. Arthur Hade, C.E. ; Rev. B. C, Davidson Houston; Rev. James Adams; Mr. Thomas Greene; Mr. R. R. Kennedy, R.M.

From the Journal Of The Co. Kildare Archaeological Society And Surrounding Districts. Vol. 1. 1891 – 1895 . p. 352 – 353.

Marriage settlement of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen and Mary Roche 1807

Transcription Of The Marriage Settlement Of Henry Hewitt O’Brien And Mary Roche, Dated 27th October 1807, No.404481

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for Registering Deeds Wills & so forth

Memorial of an Indented Deed of Settlement bearing date the twenty seventh day October, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven, and made between Henry Hewitt O’Brien of Broomly in the County of Cork, Esquire, of the first part, John Roche of Aghada in the County of Cork, Esquire, and Mary Roche, Spinster, only daughter of the said John Roche of the second part, and John Roche the younger, of Aghada aforesaid, Esquire, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien of the City of Cork, Esquire, Doctor of Physic of the third part, and what was made previous to the Marriage of the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien with the said Mary Roche, whereby the said John Roche did agree to give as a portion with his said Daughter, Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per cent funds, By which said Deed whereof this is a Memorial the said John Roche for the consideration therein mentioned did grant assign transfer and set over unto the said John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, all that the said Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per Cent Funds.  

To hold the same unto the said John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, and to the Survivor of them his Executors Admst & Assigns up [sic] Trust, to permit the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien and his Assigns during his life to take the interest money, dividends and produce thereof for his own uses and after his death, to permit the said Mary Roche (in case she shall happen to survive the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien) and her Assigns during her life to take the interest money, dividends or produce thereof for her own use, by way of Jointure from and after the death of the survivor of them the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien, and Mary Roche, as to the said Sum of Four Thousand Pounds upon Trust for the Issue of such Marriage if any shall be, but in case there shall be no Issue or in case there should, and that all such shall dye before any of them shall be entitled to their respective shares of the said Sum, then as to the entire said Sum of Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per Cent Funds and all benefit to be had thereby, upon Trust, for the survivor of them the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien and Mary Roche his intended Wife, his, or her Heirs Exrs Admrs and Assigns and it is by said Deed expressed that the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O’Brien shall when thereto required by the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien invest the entire of the said Trusts Money, or any part thereof, in the purchase of Lands in Ireland which Lands when so purchased are to remain to the same uses and Trusts as are mentioned and expressed in every aspect as to the Trust Sum of Four Thousand Pounds in the Irish Five per Cent Funds to which Deed the said John Roche Henry Hewitt O’Brien & Mary Roche put their hands and Seals,

Witness thereto and this Memorial are John Cotter of the City of Cork Merchant, and John Colburn of said City Gent.

The Will and codicil of John Roche, January 1826:

Lower Aghada, co Cork

The Will and codicil of John Roche, January 1826: 


Whenever it happens that the Aghada estate, is absent of male heirs, to wit, of the said James Joseph Roche, or by any other contingency reverts wholly to me, I hereby leave it in as full a manner as I can convey it to my nephew, William Roche, to be enjoyed by him and his lawful begotten heirs male for ever ; and, as I have perfected leases to be held in trust, of the demesne and two adjoining farms of Aghada, subject to a yearly rent accord-ing to a valuation made, I leave him my interest, if any I had, in those leases ; and in case of his not coming into possession of the estate by the means before-mentioned,  I leave him  £6,000 of my £4   per cent. stock, to be held by trustees, the interest of which is to pay the rent of the demesne and two farms above mentioned ;

  • to my eldest grandson, James (sic)  J. R.  O’Brien   I leave   £10,000   £4 per  cent. stock ;
  • to my grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien, I leave  £4,000 £4 per cent. stock ;
  • to my daughter, Mary O’Brien,  I leave the  £4,000  £4 per cent. stock I settled on her as a marriage portion on her marriage, for her use and that of her younger children ;
  • to my niece,  Ellen Verling,  I leave  £1,000 £4 per cent, stock, with £30 a-year profit rent I leave on her brother Bartholomew Verling’s stores ;
  • to my grandson, J. Roche O’Brien, I leave also my interest in White Point, after his mother’s death ;  
  • I leave  £100 to my sister, Ellen Verling ;
  • to my sister, Julia Enery, £100 ;
  • to my nephew, Doctor Verling,  and his sister, Catherine Ellis, £100 each,  and I desire the stock on the farm to be sold to pay these legacies ;
  • to my nephew,   William Roche, and my grand-daughter,  Jane O’Brien, I give my household furniture, plate, &c., and it is my wish, if the rules of our church allow it, that they should be married and live in Aghada house ; may it bless and prosper them and their offspring.

To the parish of Aghada, I leave the school-house, and £20 a-year for its support, and also the chapel and priest’s house  I leave to the parish rent-free for ever, as long as they shall be used for such qualified purposes ; the five slate houses I built in the village, I leave to five of the poorest families rent free ; to David Coughlan I leave the house he now lives in during his life ; to my servant, James Tracy   I leave the house his wife now lives in ;    and to my wife’s servant, Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, her house rent-free during their lives ; and to each of those three, viz.,David Coughlan, James Tracy, and Mary Ahearne,  otherwise Finne, I leave £10 a-year during their lives : 

having had unfounded confidence in my unhappy nephew, James Roche,  I did not take legal means under  the settlement I made to secure those last bequests out of the Aghada estate ; I trust, and hope, and desire that whosoever is in possession of the estate do confirm these my wishes and intents. I appoint my trusty friend, Henry Bennett, (my present law agent) William Roche, and my daughter, Mary O’Brien as executors of this my last will.”

 The codicil to the will was as follows :—

 By my will dated the 5th day of January, 1826, I appointed my friend Henry Bennett, my nephew, William Roche, and my daughter, Mary O’Brien, executors to that will ; now, by this codicil, I annul that appointment, and appoint John Gibson, barrister-at-law, Bartholomew Hackett, of Middleton, distiller, and my nephew, William Roche, as my executors to that will, and do hereby empower them to name and appoint two trustees for the purpose of managing the sums I left to my nephew, William Roche, my grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien, and my grandson, J. O’Brien, as it is my intent and will that they should only receive the interest, and the principal to remain untouched during their lives, to go to their children ; out of William Roche’s interest the rent of Aghada which I have leased him is to be paid ; and I desire that he and my grand-daughter Jane, who are shortly to be married, will reside there. I leave William Roche all the stock, &c., on the farm, and to him and his wife all my household furniture, plate, and china, and make them my residuary legatees ; it is my will that my grandson, James R. O’Brien, shall live with them at Aghada until he is of age, which is to be at the age of twenty-five, and not before ; and the trustees are to pay him until that period £100 a-year to complete his education, and another £100 a-year during that period to his mother, and the remainder of the interest of his £10,000 to be paid William Roche to assist him in keeping up Aghada during that period, and I trust by that time he will have a profession by which he will add to his income ; I request and desire that nothing shall prevent his following his profession;  it is my intention that William Roche and his wife shall step into possession of Aghada house, demesne, and farms, which are leased to him in the same way that I leave it when it shall please God to take me ; in case of the death of William Roche before his wife, she is to be paid the interest of her £4,000, to be made up £200 a-year as her jointure ; and if she dies before him, he is to have the £10,000, provided she has no issue; but if she leaves issue, it is to go to them after William Roche’s death, as before directed.”

The Verlings of Cove [Cobh]

Cobh, co. Cork. with St. Colman’s Cathedral in the foreground.

For almost two years it has been clear that there was more than one Bartholomew Verling who were part of the story. John Roche’s will of 1826 left some very significant bequests to various members of the Verling family. One is a sister, and there are nephews and nieces. The key to who they all are was apparently an article in The Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society. It has taken a long while to track it down, but a lot of this post is based on that article.Dr. James Roche Verling by Dr. Gabriel O’Connell Redmond, in The Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society,  1916,  Vol. 22, No. 110, page(s) 64­ – 71]  Gabriel Redmond is a third cousin, three times removed, and is also a great grandson of both John and Eleanor (Ellen) Verling, and Daniel O’Connell. Ellen Verling is John Roche’s sister, and John Verling is John Roche’s wife’s (Mary Verling) brother.

Anyway to quote from Dr Redmond…

“The Verlings had long been settled at Cove and were one of the principal families in that place, of whom I am able to supply the sub-joined genealogical notice.

The surname Verling is of rare occurrence in Ireland, and is almost peculiar to the County Cork, where for centuries branches of the Verling family have been located, and became wealthy and influential, The exact period when the Verlings settled in Ireland cannot now be ascertained with any precision. But that they were of Danish extraction there appears to be no reasonable doubt. The form of the name suggests a Scandinavian origin. It has been found spelled in various ways, viz., Verling, Verlang, O’Verlang, Verlin and Verlon; and it is not improbable that the Verlings may have settled in the south of Ireland contemporary with the first of the Coppingers, Goulds, Skiddys, and other Co. Cork families who claim to be of Danish descent, whilst others assert that they came from the Low Countries. The first of the name of whom the writer has any record is Richard Verling of Aghada, Co. Cork, who was living in 1594, was mar­ried, had several daughters and two sons, from one of whom were derived the Verlings of Cove, whose pedigree is annexed.

Henry Goold, son of Adam Goold, Alderman of Cork, who died in May, 1634, had by his first wife Ellen Rochford, a son John, who married Eleanor, dau. of Henry Verlon of Cork, gent. Henry Goold’s second wife was Elan (sic.) dau. of John Verlon of Cork, gent. O’Hart identifies the surname Verlon with Verling, into which he states it has been modernized. But it appears more probable that Verling is the more ancient form of the name. A William Verling was Recorder of Cork in the 18th century. He married Martha, dau. of Hodder Roberts of Bridgetown and other estates in Co. Cork, who died in 1747. (See “ Burke’s Landed Gentry,” 1863, under Roberts of Cork). “

And to paraphrase from the pedigree referred to above:

Bartholomew Verling of Cove, co. Cork married Anne O’Cullinane, or Cullinane who was the daughter of Edmond O’Cullinane, whose mother Helen was a Kearney of Garretstown. [It’s slightly guesswork but he, BV, must have been born around 1715.] They had three sons, and two daughters

  1. John Verling m. Eleanor Roche of Cove
  2. Garrett Verling ‘died at sea”
  3. Edward Verling “Staff Captain R.N” m. Anne Ronayne of Ballinacrusha, Cuskinny
  4. Catherine m. 1st Rogers, 2nd Captain Sellars R.N
  5. Mary m. 1st Captain Hall 2nd. John Roche of Aghada

Cousin Gabriel isn’t particularly helpful here, because he is very much more concerned with the male line(s). But John and Edward Verling both have families, and I think Catherine Verling didn’t but Mary Roche (neé Verling) did. Again, it is speculation, which I try to avoid; but John Roche [Mary Verling’s second husband] had a son called John, and a daughter called Mary. We know this from Mary Roche’s marriage settlement of  1807, given the names involved, John and Mary. It doesn’t take much of a leap of the imagination to assume that John Roche and Mary Verling had a son and daughter each named after themselves, in addition to Mary’s son Robert Hall, who was named after his father, and gave the same name to his bastard son.

 

John Verling and Eleanor (or Ellen) Roche had five sons and two daughters.

  1. Bartholomew Verling (1786 – 1855) of Cove
  2. James Roche Verling (1787 – 1858)
  3. Edward Verling d. unmarried.
  4. Hugh Verling d. unmarried.
  5. John Verling d. unmarried.
  6. Ellen m. James Fitzgerald of Lackendarra, co. Waterford
  7. Catherine m. Henry Ellis “Surgeon R.N.”

Edward Verling and Anne Ronayne had two sons and a daughter

  1. Bartholomew Verling (1797 – 1893) of Oxclose, Newmarket, co. Cork
  2. Patrick Verling Parish Priest of Charleville
  3. Mary m. Capt. Leary R.N.

So Bartholomew Verling of Cove has two grandsons also called Bartholomew Verling who are first cousins. The elder Bartholomew Verling (1786 – 1855) of Cove is John Roche of Aghada’s nephew twice over. His mother is John Roche’s sister, and his father is Mary Roche’s (nee Verling) brother

The younger Bartholomew Verling (1797 – 1893) of Oxclose, is also a nephew but only as the son of Edward Verling and Anne Ronayne, – a brother-in-law, and sister-in-law.

The notes on Bartholomew Verling of Cove from the Pedigree of the Verlings of Cove published in 1916 are as follows:

Bartholomew Verling of Ringmeen, Cove (Queenstown) owned considerable property there including Ringlee, Cuskinny &c. He was a man of influence there, greatly respected and beloved. A story is told of him which shows his kindly disposition and consideration for those around him. In 1849, when the effects of the Famine which broke out in 1847, were still being felt, a brig called the “Westmoreland” lay at anchor at Cove laden with potatoes for England. This so aroused the anger and indignation of the townsfolk that a number of the young men of Cove boarded the vessel, landed the potatoes, and distributed them amongst their needy fellow townsmen. They were of course arrested and sent for trial, the penalty, if found guilty, being transportation to Botany Bay. Mr Verling, however, came to their rescue. He and some friends drove off to Dublin in one of Bianconi’s cars – at that time a long and tedious journey – obtained an interview with the Lord Lieutenant, and so successfully pleaded extenuating circumstances that the Lord Lieutenant pardoned those youths who raided the “Westmoreland”. A song was composed to commemorate the capture of this vessel which is now almost entirely forgotten.

Mr Bartholomew Verling was one of the deputation which waited on the late Queen Victoria to obtain H.M.’s permission to change the name of Cove of Cork to Queenstown when she landed therein August 1849. Letters of his to the Cork Press still extant show that he was an able advocate of Queenstown’s claims to be made a Naval Station and Mail Packet Port.

And the notes on Mary Verling are as follows:

The only child of Captain Hall and Mary Verling was Robert Hall who was knighted for distinguished and conspicuous bravery while serving in the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean. he died unmarried while in command of a naval station in Canada where a fine monument was erected to his memory. In recognition of his courage and daring he was presented with the Freedom of the City of Cork in a valuable silver box inscribed:- “With this box the Freedom of the City of Cork in Ireland was unanimously given to Captain Robert Hall for his Gallant Conduct in His Majesty’s Navy the 22nd of August 1809.” An obelisk was erected to his memory in Aghada Wood by his stepfather John Roche of that place.