Technically the Grehans of Clonmeen are the senior branch of the family, because Peter Grehan is Thady Grehan’s eldest son by his first wife. The introduction to the Grehan Estate Papers at the Boole Library, University College Cork helps explain the origins of the estate.
“The Grehan’s, originally prosperous Dublin wine merchants, first acquired land in Co. Cork through a legacy of the lands of Clonmeen left by one John Roche in about 1830.” John Roche was Stephen Grehan Senior’s uncle twice over. His wife Mary Roche (nee Grehan) was Stephen’s aunt, and his sister Mary Grehan (nee Roche) was Stephen’s mother.Stephen Grehan Senior ( – 1871), the main beneficiary of Roche’s will, then set about acquiring more land in the area and also in County Tipperary. This work was carried on by Stephen’s son George ( -1885), who in about 1860 moved from his Dublin home at 19 Rutland Square, to take up permanent residence at Clonmeen, where his son Stephen Junior(1859 – 1937 ) was raised.
When the Grehans first moved to their property in Co. Cork they lived in a small Georgian house now known today as Clonmeen Lodge.
In 1893, Stephen Grehan who had married a fellow member of the Ascendancy, Esther Chichester in 1883, built the present day Clonmeen House. Large tracts of land were sold off by Stephen Grehan through the auspices of the Land Commission throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but Clonmeen remained a working farm until the death of Major Stephen Grehan in 1972, after which the property was sold.”
To provide the family context; Stephen Grehan Senior is Celia O’Bryen’s first cousin, once-removed on the Grehan side. He is also a second cousin on his mother’s side of Charles O’Connell, who was the MP for Kerry from 1832-1835, and married Catherine(Kate) the second daughter of Daniel O’Connell in 1832. Stephen is also a second cousin on his mother’s side of Garrett Standish Barry,elected to the House of Commons for county Cork in 1832, Garrett was the first Catholic Member of Parliament elected after the Emancipation Act of 1829.
Stephen Grehan Junior and Ernest O’Bryen are third cousins. This is quite a good illustration of how often families intermarried, and how strong their instincts were to keep the money within a tight circle.
It also entertaining that while Peter Grehan’s descendants made the move from trade to land, and it has to be said, kept the estate in the family for more than one hundred and fifty years right up until the 1970’s, it was his younger brother Patrick who married into the Old English and Gaelic aristocracy through his marriage to Judith Moore. Either way, I think it fair to say that the whole family is not “Ascendency” as described above, but are better described as prosperous, landed, upper-middle Catholic Irish.
This is the entry for a branch of the Grehan family from Burke’s Landed Gentry published in 1912.
STEPHEN GREHAN, of Clonmeen, co. Cork, J.P. and D.L., High Sheriff 1883, born. 1858 ; married. 1883, Esther, daughter of Col. Charles Raleigh Chichester, of Runnamoat.co. Roscommon (see CHICHESTER- CONSTABLE of Burton-Constable, Yorks.). She died 11 April, 1900, having had issue,
1. George, died an infant, 1892.
2. STEPHEN ARTHUR, b. 1896.
3. Kathleen, m. 18 Aug. 1910, Richard, only surviving son of George Edward Ryan, of Inch, co. Tipperary (see that family).
THADY GREHAN, of Dublin, died in 1792, leaving, with a daughter, Mary, who married John Roche, three sons,
1. PETER, of whom below.
2. Andrew, who married the daughter of Patrick White.
3. Patrick (Senior), who married Jane (sic) Moore, of Mount Browne, and had a son,
Patrick (Junior),who married Catherine, daughter of George Mecham, and had,
Patrick (III), who married in 1842, Frances, daughter of John Pitchford, and
The eldest son,
PETER GREHAN, married Mary, daughter, of Stephen Roche, of Limerick
(see ROCHE of Granagh Castle), and had issue, two sons and five daughters.,
2. STEPHEN, of whom next.
1. Margaret, who married John Joyce.
2. Anne, who married in January 1800, Thomas Segrave, of Dublin, who died in 1817, having had issue (see SEGRAVE of Cabra).
3. Mary, who married in 1804, Hubert Thomas Dolphin, of Turoe, co. Galway, and had issue (see that family) . He died 1829.
4. Helen, who married Alexander Sherlock.
5. Lucy, who married Christopher Gallwey.
The 2nd son,
STEPHEN GREHAN, of 19, Rutland Square, Dublin, married in May 1809, Margaret, daughter of George Ryan, of Inch, co. Tipperary (see that family), and had issue, a son,
GEORGE GREHAN, of Clonmeen, Banteer, co. Cork, High Sheriff 1859, born 1811, married 1855, Mary, daughter of Philip O’Reilly, of Colamber, co. Westmeath (see that family). She died in 1859. He died in 1886, leaving issue, an only child,
STEPHEN, now of Clonmeen.
Seat Clonmeen, Banteer, co. Cork.
Clubs Windham and Kildare Street.
Burke’s Landed Gentry 1912