Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wexford Road Trip - the Wexford Library

I had phoned the Wexford library before I started my holiday, to make sure that they would be open and also that I would be allowed to use their facilities. As I have come to expect from librarians and archivists, they couldn't have been more helpful. I had expected the library to be a large modern building befitting the county town of Wexford, but in fact it was a (very) small and homely single storey building tucked away in the middle of Wexford city itself. Significant Other was dispatched off to amuse himself in Wexford for an hour and I settled down to find Fitzhenrys. One end of the reading room was taken up by a crowd of elderly ladies having either book club meeting or a parish council meeting (tea and biscuits provided). I found myself a small desk next to the microfilm readers and chatted with a late middle aged man from London who was trying to find the family of his illegitimate grandfather who had been adopted out as a baby.

I had gone to get copies of two articles about Jeremiah Fitzhenry, one of the leaders of the Irish uprising of 1798, published in the Journal of the Wexford Historical Society. By chance, in the local studies section, I also found a book* written and published by the people of Templeudigan or Templeludigan about their village. Here's where it is on the map.

One of the chapters about the priests of Templeudigan had two Fitzhenry mentions
Rev. James Fitzhenry was a native of Monamolin. Born in 1846 he was son of Michael Fitzhenry and his wife Mary (nee Meyler, Adamstown). Ordained to the priesthood, he ministered to the Cape Colony South Africa and died in Grahamstown on 30 April 1919. In August 1888 he donated the 14th station of the Cross to the new Catholic church at Templeudigan in memory of his parents.
Rev. Walter Fitzhenry was a nephew of the above Fr. James Fitzhenry. He was born on 22 December 1904 in South Africa, the son of Edward Fitzhenry and his South African born wife Mary J Coughlan. The family returned home to Monamolin. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome in 1928 and was a member of the Order of St Augustine. He died at St john's Priory Dublin on 5 February 1961.
I hope I can get permission from the book's authors to put the pictures of these two priests on this website as Father James is just the spitting image of my Dad as a young man - there must be some shared genes in there!

*Templeudigan - Yesterday and Today
Templeudigan Historical Society
ed. Seamus S. de Val

Dec 2001

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  1. Interesting and yes they are nice in Wexford Library. Have they shown you the file I left there of the research I had done on my branch of the Fitzhenrys of Cullenstown/New Ross? I must send the details: Thomas Fitzhenry, Blacksmith of Foulksmills who made pikes for the 1798 revolution with brother Moses (forge/house remains still extant) and others up to the 20th century.

  2. Dear Annie
    Thanks for leaving your comment on the Blog, and yes, we would love to see your family tree. Our Blog email address is at the bottom of every post and in the right side bar.
    I didn't ask the librarians about any other Fitzhenry related stuff, I was just grateful to be allowed to use the library facilties. I'm planning a return trip to Wexford in the new year.

  3. Hi my great great aunt was Mary fitzhenry the mother of fr James fitzhenry

    1. Hello Ann, my grandmother was Bridget Fitzhenry, her sister was Mary but I don't think she had children so are you looking at a generation back? My grandmother was born in 1875. You can email me at ann.furtado@gmail.com. I'd love to hear how you're connected.

  4. Anne K, thanks for getting in touch. Please email me at
    Any more information on this family is very welcome!