Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ireland Road Trip part 1 - Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny.

Every so often I take off on a road trip which allows me to do some more focused and in-depth local research, find stuff that just isn't out there on the internet, and meet some remarkable people.

The first place I visited was Graiguenamanagh in County Kilkenny, near the borders with both County Wexford and County Carlow. Kilkenny isn't a county which has native Fitzhenrys apart from one family which we have featured before. We have had previous contributions from Matthew Fitzhenry and Alan Hagenson who are both members of this family group.

What we knew already from descendants of this family:
Martin Fitzhenry (family unknown) married Judith or Julia Doyle of Clohasta, County Kilkenny (marriage date unknown).
Julia Doyle stated at her second marriage in 1857 that she had 5 children living and one dead, but up until now, only 4 of the 6 had been identified.
These were
Mary (1838, Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny)
Martin John (1845 Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny)
Bridget (1846
Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny)
Michael Herbert (1854, Australia)

In the 1850 Griffith's Valuations of Ireland, a Judith Fitzhenry was renting land in her own name in Moneen, a townland of Graiguenamanagh.
In 1854 she emigrated to Australia, apparently on her own, leaving her children in Ireland and gave birth to another son Michael Herbert "while she was still in the immigrant's depot".
She married a Patrick Bourk in 1857.
Her daughter Bridget came to Australia in 1863 and died in Sydney in 1865 aged 19.
Her son Martin John came to Australia in 1871 after spending some time in India in the British Army.

Graiguenamanagh is a small town on the north-west curve of the River Barrow. In days past, the town was centred on Duiske Abbey, which was dissolved in 1536, the ruins taken over by the Protestants and returned to the Catholic community in the 1800s. The main church was rebuilt and completed in the 1980s.
The present day town surrounds the rebuilt church and old buildings from the abbey can still be found dotted around the town.
On the inner bend of the river on the South-East bank is the town of Tinnahinch, which is in County Carlow, although parochially it still comes under Graiguenamanagh.

The Abbey Centre is one of the old Abbey buildings on the northern perimeter of the Abbey church grounds, which now sits next to a modern local library and health centre. The Abbey Centre sells religious books and artworks as well as books focusing on local history and personalities. And... they hold transcripts of the Baptism and Marriage records for the Parish of Graiguenamanagh, transcribed by the Graiguenamanagh Local History Society back in 1984. Bless you, Local History Society for this, and thank you to Mary who was manning the Centre that Tuesday when I went there.

The Graiguenamanagh marriage records covered the period 1818-1910 and also gave the townland (the outlying farming area) where the bride and groom came from. There were two marriages of interest.

27 February 1838
Martin Fitzharris - Clohasta
Judy Doyle - Clohasta
(Register 1, page 62)

16 August 1865
Martin Farrell - Clohasta
Mary Fitzhenry - Clohasta
(Register 3, page 132)

Although Martin had styled himself Fitzharris rather than Fitzhenry, there is no doubt that this is our Martin-Judy couple. We have seen previously that the variant Fitzharris was used interchangeably in the Irish Fitzhenry families. Clohasta is a townland just to the west of Graiguenamanagh.  

Amendment 15 August 2012: Clohasta (Spelt Cloghasty in Griffith's Valuations in the 1850s and spelt Clohastia today) is upriver of Graiguenamanagh, a few miles north-East, on the West bank of the graceful curve of the River Barrow.

Who is Mary? I believe that this is the eldest child of Martin and Judy, who was 15 years old when she was left in Ireland while her mother went to Australia.

The Baptism registers covered July 1818 to December 1910 and again gave the townland. Remember that these are baptism dates, not birth dates.

8 December 1838
Mary daughter of Martin Fitzhenry and Judith or Judy Doyle
of Clohasta

22 October 1840
Bridget daughter of Martin Fitzhenry and Judy Doyle
of Stackley
This means that when Bridget died in Sydney in 1865, she was 25 years of age rather than 19.

13 November 1842
Martin son of Martin Fitzhenry and Judy Doyle
of Stackley

4 February 1845
James son of Martin Fitzhenry and Judy Doyle
of Stackley

16 May 1847
Ann daughter of Martin Fitzhenary [sic] and Judith Doyle
of Stackley

This now accounts for all six of Judith Doyle's children,along with Michael Herbert born in 1854. We know that Mary (married in 1865), Bridget (died in 1865), Martin (emigrated to Australia in 1871) and Michael (1854-1910) were all still alive in 1857. Either Ann or James died before 1857.

Tomorrow - Judith Doyle in the Griffith's Valuations, and Mary and Martin Farrell's family

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  1. James, one of the sons of Martin and Judith, was mentioned in a local newspaper (in Aus) as still living in Ireland when Judith died here in 1901.

  2. Hello from Virginia. I found your blog by doing a Google search for the word, "Clohaste"
    I read that you said it is a "Townland west of Graigeunamanagh" I can not find Clohaste in "IreAtlas Townland Search" or anywhere else...Any advice? I have a person, a Mary RYAN, who was Baptized at Graigeunamanagh on March 11, 1849; Mary's parents were married there in 1847..Each of the two records from listed "Clohaste" as the "Address" for the Ryans...I am trying to find Clohaste on a map with negative results. Thank you very much for any and all help
    Rick Barrett, Clifton, VA.

  3. Hello Rick
    Thanks for writing to us.
    I looked again at my map and found that I had got the relative positions of CLOHASTA and GRAIGUENAMANAGH round the wrong way in my post, something I've now edited. In fact CLOHASTA is North East of Graigue, on the West bank of the River Barrow.

    The townland variously spelt CLOHASTA and CLOHASTE in the parish records was officially spelt CLOGHASTY in the Griffith's Valuations (the Government land survey of the 1850s).
    There are two townlands of CLOGHASTY, North and South, which can be found on this excellent and free site:

    There is an Elizabeth Ryan renting a house in Cloghasty North in 1850. As she is a woman renting in her own right, this would indicate that she was a widow. Would this correspond with your ancestor?

    The modern official spelling is CLOHASTIA and Googling this gives a few hits and its position on Google maps.

    Hope this helps. Please let me know if I can help further by emailing