Monday, 13 December 2010

John Joyce - a meeting with a remarkable man

Back to Graiguenamanagh which I'm now going to refer to by it's local shorthand, Graigue.
Mary in the Abbey Centre (where I found the baptism and marriage records, and the St Mullins memorial texts) suggested that I talk to one of the local historians Owen Doyle who had written several books about the town. Mr Doyle said that he couldn't help me as he had no records of Fitzhenrys living in Graigue and suggested I talk to John Joyce, who is considered the local expert on the area.

One phone call later and I was being invited round to take tea with Mr Joyce the following afternoon. Although he had no records of Fitzhenrys living in Graigue in the past 100 years or so, he showed me some letters he had which were part of his late wife's family history which showed that there was a link to a Fitzhenry family in County Wexford.

John Joyce's wife had been a Prendergast before her marriage. Her grandmother was born Kate O'Gorman. Kate married Edward Prendergast, a well to-do merchant in Graigue.

You may remember that on the second Fitzhenry stone at St Mullins graveyard, the wife of
James Fitzhenry (1773 - 1847) was
Margaret nee Gorman
(1775 - 1840).
This is the link between the Prendergasts and the Fitzhenrys via the O'Gormans (or Gorman in their more Anglicised version) and the letters leave no doubt that this is the family group in question.

Mr Joyce is a mine of information about the locality of Graigue, the family groups who lived there and the political history of the area. He has written several books about the town. It was truly a wonderful experience to have the benefit of his knowledge and I am very grateful to him for his hospitality that afternoon.

The next post will look at the letters between the Prendergast and Fitzhenry families and the people described in them.

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  1. I am enjoying your posts-- how exciting to be able to meet with the people you have, gather the information you have been able to! Thank you so much for all the hard work although I am sure it is quite fun also!

  2. Sharon
    This trip was so much fun.
    Just wait to see how much more fun I had when I visited the Fitzhenrys of County Galway on the same trip!