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Archive for the ‘19th Century’ Category

The temperance movement has had a long tradition in Ireland from the efforts of individual priests during Penal times to the current Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. One of the most famous crusaders for this cause was Fr. Theobald Mathew. Mathew was born in Tipperary and became a priest in 1814. In 1838 he founded the Cork Total Abstinence Society in response to the widespread drunkenness he was witnessing.

From his modest beginnings he became known worldwide. He visited England and the US and gave the pledge to hundreds and thousands of people. In October 1842 Fr. Mathew visited Paulstown at the invitation of then parish priest Fr. Michael Brennan[1]. The following account is given in the Bengal Catholic Herald[2]:

The very Rev T. Mathew arrived at the residence of the Rev. T. Brannan the zealous pastor of Paulstown, diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, on Sunday week. Whilst in Goresbridge alone he administered the pledge to 5,000. He then left for the church at Paulstown, where he preached in aid of the new school there, and had a numerous and respectable attendance. After the sermon he administered the pledge to more than 7,000, in all 12,700; and distributed 25l (pounds) in charity, for the excellent parish priest.


[1] Repcheck, John Joseph. 1994. Father Mathew’s Irish Temperance Campaign 1839-1846. Madison: University of Wisconsin.

[2] Author Unknown. 1843. The Bengal Catholic Herald Volume IV. Calcutta: P.S. D’Rozario and Co.

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The Irish World Newspaper was published from 1890-1905 and served the Irish community in New York City and beyond. Below are one marriage and five death notices that were published in the paper.

Married – 1890                                                                                                                                                                                                              Patrick Maher and Margaret, only daughter of the late Nicholas Comerford, Killen were married at St. John’s Church on April 15th by Rev. J.P. Mulhall, Paulstown.[1]

Died – 1896                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Mrs. Patrick Rowan of Paulstown, died 26 April, widely respected. Requiem services were held in Paulstown.[2]

Died – 1898                                                                                                                                                                                                                      James Healy Brennan – 6 January at Paulstown Co. Kilkenny. Internment at Paulstown. Office and High Mass were held in the chapel. Funeral largely attended.[3]

Died – 1902                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr. Thomas Hanlon of Ennis-Court (probably Fennis Court?), Pugnalstown (probably Bagenalstown?), passed away on 13 April, at the age of 61 years. The Office and high Mass in Paulstown Church and the funeral to Old Leighlin cemetery was very numerously attended.[4]

Died – 1904                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mr. John Hanlon of Greenwood, Shankill died 11 December to the great sorrow of his family and friends. The funeral took place in Paulstown and was largely attended by all classes. Office and High Mass took place in Paulstown Church. Celebrant Rev E. Hipwell, Goresbridge. The other clergy present were Rev. R. O’Brien, Paulstown; Rev. J. Coyle, Leighlinbridge; Rev. J. Foley, Leighlinbridge; Rev. P. Murphy, Bagenalstown; The chief mourners were: John, Richard, Michael, Patrick and Joseph Maher, sons; Martin Meaney and Simon Meaney, grandsons; Philip Murphy, E. Wynne and J. Wynne, nephews; James, Michael, Thomas and Denis Hoynes, Jeremiah, Philip and Martin Maher, cousins.[5]

Died – 1904                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The death of Mr. Walter Walsh, Courtnabohilla, 23 June occurred. The funeral was one of the largest witnessed for a long time. Rev. Father Lalor of St. Paul’s, Paulstown officiated. Chief mourners: Laurence, Patrick and James Walsh, brothers; Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Mulrooney, sisters; Thomas and Patrick Walsh, Patrick Ryan, John and Thomas Murphy and C.W. Mulrooney, nephews; Kate, Ellen and Mary T Walsh, Kate and Ellen Ryan, nieces;  Martin Murphy, Edward Mulrooney and Pierce Ryan, brothers-in-law.[6]


[1] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The New Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 15 May 1890, p.2; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

[2] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The New Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 23 May 1896, p.3; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

[3] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The New Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 29 January 1898, p.3; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

[4] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The Irish World (Leinster – Carlow section), 10 May 1902, p.7; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

[5] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 30 January 1904, p.9; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

[6] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 23 July 1904, p.9; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

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Anyone who studies local history is never really surprised by the unusual guides and information they come across. One such publication I recently found out about is Devia Hibernia: The Road and Route Guide for Ireland of the Royal Irish Constabulary.[1] It was published in 1893 and was complied to “provide a road book of reliable and comprehensive character, for the use of cyclists and tourists, of Irish travellers, and others of the public who may desire to travel through our beautiful island”.[2]Paulstown had an RIC station or ‘barracks’ at the time of publication and the following information was provided.

Paulstown (Rural Location)

Barony: Gowran

Parliamentary Electoral District: North Kilkenny

County: Kilkenny

Provence: Leinster

Telegraph Office: No

Fairs: No

Markets: No

Nearest Railway Station : Bagenalstown 4 miles away

Service by railway company : Great Southern and Western Railway

Time at which letters arrive at local post office : 8am

Hours at which boxes are cleared for dispatch mail : 6pm

Nature of the postal business:  PO (Post Office) – Yes, MOO (Money Order Office) – Yes, SB (Savings Bank) – No

Post Cars or Vehicles for Hire: No

Interesting Places in the Locality : No

RIC Officer  who supplied information: Patrick Walsh, Sergeant

Nearest RIC stations: Bagenalstown 3 miles / Baurnafea 5 miles / Goresbridge 5.5 miles / Gowran 4 miles


[1] Dagg, Edwin and George A de M. 1893. Devia Hibernia: The Road and Route Guide for Ireland of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Co.

[2] Ibid., p.i

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On 4 July 1898 Ellen Lawlor, about 70 years of age, was found dead in her home near Paulstown. She had been murdered.[1] While murder has always occurred, no doubt the news of an elderly woman being killed sent shockwaves throughout the area. Patrick Holmes, a farm labourer, and a man by the name of Brophy were caught within a couple of weeks. They were charged with Mrs. Lawlor’s murder and remanded in custody.[2] Lawlor lived alone in a secluded house “from where she ran a huckster’s business and the local people thought her to be a wealthy woman”.[3]

At the Leinster Winter Assizes in Waterford the jury failed to reach a verdict so a second trial was ordered. [4] The evidence presented showed how Holmes robbed her then battered her to death to prevent her identifying him.[5] Before the end of the year Holmes was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged in Kilkenny in January 1899. [6] Kilkenny had long been considered one of the more peaceful counties in Ireland, with the Tithe Wars of the 1830s providing the last serious violence in the county. The authorities had to erect a new scaffold as it was over fifty years since the last execution in the county. Before his execution Holmes left a statement with the governor of the gaol.[7] A man by the name of Scott was the hangman and Holmes “walked firmly to the scaffold and betrayed no emotion”.[8] He was executed on Saturday 7 January 1899.[9]

No mention is made in any of the sources as to what happened Brophy.

[1] Fielding, Steven. 1994. The Hangman’s Record Volume 1. London: Chancery House.

[2] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 20 August 1898, p.3; America’s Historical Newspapers http://www.newsbank.com: accessed 24 May 2011

[3] Fielding, Steven. 1994.

[4] Author Unknown, Execution in Ireland in Western Mail, 9 January 1899, p.5; 19th Century British Newspapers http://www.newspapers.bl.uk :accessed 26 May 2011

[5] Ibid.

[6] Author Unknown, News from Ireland in The Irish World (Leinster – Kilkenny section), 31 December 1898, p.3

[7] Author Unknown, Execution in Ireland in Western Mail, 9 January 1899, p.5

[8] Ibid.

[9] Fielding, Steven. 1994.

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The following report comes for a 1902 edition of the St. Louis Republic newspaper.[1] Two nuns at the Visitation Convent in St. Louis, Missouri celebrated their golden jubilee on the same day. One of the sisters, Mary Beninga Craden, was reported as having been born in Paulstown 75 years previously, in about 1827. When she was 19 years of age she went to the US, travelling to St. Louis. She stayed with relatives for a number of years before entering the sisterhood in 1850. After their coronation mass a reception was held in their honour.


[1] Author Unknown, Golden Jubliee of Two Sisters in The St. Louis Republic, 29 August 1902, p.14; Chronicling America http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov accessed 17 April 2011

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During the ravages of The Famine a man by the name of James Fraiser toured Ireland and produced a publication, A Hand Book for Travellers in Ireland.[1] He briefly mentions squalid and wretched poverty when travelling through Galway town[2] but that is the merest of mentions that is given to what was a desperate time to be touring Ireland. One of his journeys takes him from Dublin to Kilkenny, where he travels through Paulstown, calling it “the hamlet of Shankill”. As usual with these publications, the only people that are mentioned are the local gentry.


[1] Fraiser, James. 1849. A Hand Book for Travellers in Ireland. Dublin: James McGlashen.

[2] Ibid., p.366

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I have come across two obituaries in newspapers from the state of New York for people who were originally from Paulstown.

The first is for what looks like the name of Michael Fenelon. The page of the newspaper is very worn. He died on 1 September 1891 in Brooklyn, New York City.[1] His parents were James and Catherine Fenelon. He was about 56 years of age when he died and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn. An address of his last place of residence is given. Again, the page is quite worn here but it looks like 83 Amity St, which is in Brooklyn.

The second is for Catherine O’Haire who died on 3 May 1931 at the age of 92 in the town of Niagara, NY.[2] She was born in the parish of Paulstown about 1839 and came to the United States in 1863. Her husband was John O’Haire and the obituary says that he died 33 years previously. They had two daughters and three sons and she was buried in Riverdale Cemetery.


[1] Author Unknown, Died in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 2 September 1891, p.5 ; digital image, Fulton History, http://www.fultonhistory.com ; accessed 02 April 2011

[2] Author Unknown, Mrs. O’Haire -92- Dies at Niagara in Niagara Falls Gazette, 4 May 1931; digital image, Fulton History, http://www.fultonhistory.com ; accessed 02 April 2011

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There are a number of articles in various local Australian newspapers about the life of Thomas O’Rourke. He was born in Paulstown on 8 September 1844[1] and emigrated to Australia with his mother, father and sister about December 1867.[2] His three brothers had emigrated before the rest of the family. He lived until he was 95 years of age and died on 24 August 1940.[3]

Some of the articles refer to his life before he moved to Australia. He talked about how he worked as a farm labourer in Paulstown and that the wage of the time was 4d (pence). The landowner that he worked for used to feed his workers and they were given “stir about” to eat.[4] This was a dish of coarse meal that was well boiled and eaten with milk. They were given this three times a day and got potatoes now and then. O’Rourke only ate meat once in his life before moving to Australia, stating that “I only tasted meat on one occasion and that was when my father and I were in Paulstown one day – we had a chop between us”. [5]

O’Rourke even had links to people in Paulstown who were born in the late 1700s. He outlined in one interview that when he was a boy an 80 year old man used to visit their house and tell them “tales of the early days”.[6]


[1] Author Unknown, Mr. T O’Rourke Celebrates 94th Birthday in The Longreach Leader, 10 September 1938, p.19; digital image, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au : accessed 1 April 2011

[2] Author Unknown, A Race for Life in The Longreach Leader, 1 December 1937, p.16; digital image, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au : accessed 1 April 2011

[3] Author Unknown, Death of Mr. T O’Rourke at Longreach in Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, 26 August 1940, p.8; digital image, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au : accessed 1 April 2011

[4] Ibid.

[5] Author Unknown, Mr. Thomas O’Rourke Celebrated 95th Birthday in Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, 13 September 1939, p.9; digital image, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au : accessed 1 April 2011

[6] Author Unknown, Mr. T O’Rourke Celebrates 94th Birthday in The Longreach Leader, 10 September 1938, p.19; digital image, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au : accessed 1 April 2011

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In the grounds of Shankill Castle there are the ruins of an old church and graveyard. This church would be quite old as it is shown in ruins on the Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland from the 1830s-1840s period.

Towards the end of the 19th century an organization called the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead was formed in Ireland. Members of this group spent their spare time visiting graveyards and transcribing the information on headstones, vaults and tombs. Many of these graveyards are in a total state of disrepair today and that makes the journal published by the association very valuable.

In the journal for the year 1900, a Mr. C.J. Hobson writes about how he visited this church and graveyard and transcribed what he could.[1]The relevant genealogical information from his transcriptions are reproduced below.

Elizabeth Ayleward, alias Butler, died 21 October 1708.  She had two daughters. Monument erected by her husband Peter Aylward in 1719.

John Gorges Hely Mulhallen of Malcolmville, Carlow died 1 April 1860 age 66. Erected by Frances.

Mary Cody, alias Purcell, died 31 February 1782, age 51 years.

Dennis Ryan, died 9 May 1800, age 70 years.

Erected by Michael Cooke in the memory of his father Thomas Cooke, late of Kellymount, died 16 December 1801, age 70 years. Headstone carved by John Brennan, stone-cutter, Royal Oak

Gregory Murphy, died 29 April 1768, age 21 years.

Michael Murphy, died 26 January 1771, age 60 years. Erected by his son Michael. Also, son Joseph died 26 December 1787, age 45 years.


[1] Hobson, C.J. 1900. Shankill or St. Kill Parish in Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead. Vol.4 No.3 Part 1, pp.432-434.

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This is the second post that has a compilation of surnames from the Paulstown area. The first post covered the townlands nearest the village of Paulstown. This post covers the neighbouring townlands to those nearest the village. They are Ballytarsna, Ballyvalden, Butlersgrove, Coolcuttia, Coorleagh, Garryduff and Kilmacahill. Please see the first article, via the link above, for how the names were compiled.

You can open the list as a pdf file via the link below.

Surnames of Paulstown II

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