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Cardinal Paul Cullen is one of the giants of Irish Catholic Church history. He was the first Irishman to be made a Cardinal and created the concept of papal infallibility. Cardinal Cullen was born in Prospect, Kildare most likely on 29 April 1803[1] and has a link to Paulstown through one of his grandparents.

Cardinal Cullen’s mother was a woman by the name of Mary Maher.[2] While the Maher name has been evident in records concerning Paulstown for hundreds of years this is not where the link is. Mary Maher’s parents were Patrick Maher and Catherine Moore.[3] Catherine Moore, Cardinal Cullen’s maternal grandmother, was born in Paulstown.[4]

She has been described as “full of the ardour of true piety, and of that devotional zeal for which the faithful of Kilkenny have been at all times so remarkable”.[5] As well as this it seems that Catherine Moore Maher was not easily scared or intimidated.

A story is told by Patrick Francis Moran, bishop of Ossory in the 1870s, where her son-in-law, Hugh Cullen (father of Cardinal Cullen) was made a prisoner and charged with aiding the 1798 rebels. Cullen was being transported and was denied the opportunity to have food or water. Catherine Moore Maher, ignoring the armed guards escorting Cullen, got up on the chaise he was being transported in, handed him a bottle of wine and said “cheer up my son, God will soon send you back victorious to us”.[6]

It is always worth noting that Moore’s birth information is taken from a secondary historical source which, unfortunately, does not reference any Church or civil record. As any good genealogist knows, primary sources are always preferable.


[1] Three different dates of birth are given in various publications. See p.208 of O’Carroll’s 2008 publication Paul Cardinal Cullen for more details.

[2] MacSuibhne, Peadar. 1955. The Early Cullen Family in Reportorium Novum: Dublin Diocesan Historical Record. Vol 1. No. 2 p. 192.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Moran, Patrick Francis. 1877. The Letters of Rev. James Maher, D.D., Dublin: Browne and Nolan p.iii

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid. p.iii-iv

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Known as the “Old Man Registration”, these records come from the draft registration of older men that were collected for World War II.[1] All the men registered were born between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 and were not already in the military. It was the fourth draft registration and was conducted on 27 April 1942. Two men, one from New Jersey and one from Massachusetts gave their place of birth as Paulstown. Records for eight states were destroyed and are incomplete for other states.

Thomas Carroll / Age:56 /   Born: Paulstown, Ireland / Residence: 307 Heights Road, Ridgewood, NJ / Date of Birth: 15 August  1885 / Emergency Contact: Amos P. Foy, 307 Heights Road, Ridgewood, NJ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bernard Patrick  Cavanaugh  / Age:55 / Born: Paulstown, Ireland / Residence: High St, Woodshole,  MA / Date of Birth: 17 March 1888 / Emergency Contact: Catherine Cavanaugh, same address / Employer: M. A. Walsh Estate, Woodshole, MA.


[1] Ancestry.com. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Database. Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: 2010

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When the Famine struck in Ireland relief committees were set up all over the country to try and help the destitute, hungry and dying. The names in the document below come from subscribers to the Paulstown Relief Fund, County of Kilkenny compiled by Samuel Jefferies of Gowran.[1] Names such as Flood, Brenan, Maher, Healy, Byrne, Drennan, Harding, Wynn and Brophy are all listed.

At the end of the list of subscribers is a short note from the fund treasurer James Maher. It reads:

I acknowledge to have received from the forgoing subscribers to the Paulstown Relief Fund the several suries(?) attached to their names making a total of £171 received by me up to this date.

James Maher

Treasurer

13 June 1846

Irish Famine Relief Commission Papers 1844-1847


[1] Ancestry.com Ireland Famine Relief Papers 1844-1847 from The National Archives of Ireland Incoming Letters Numerical Series RLFC3/1/ 2010 accessed 19 May 2011

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Many parts of Ireland can lay claim to people who fought in World War I and World War II. Paulstown is no different. William Neary, born in Kilkenny City[1] in 1906[2], and who lived in Paulstown from a young age[3] until his emigration at the age of 22[4], fought in World War II with the U.S. Army.

Neary fought with the U.S. Army in the Pacific arena. Indeed he was captured by the Japanese and served as a Prisoner of War (PoW). Few U.S. soldiers managed to ever escape from the Japanese PoW  camps, but along with two Mayo men, Neary did just that.[5] Having escaped he stayed in Asia and served with the army throughout the rest of the Pacific campaign.

Neary came to the U.S. in 1929, departing from Cobh on 24 March. He sailed on the Baltic and arriving in New York on 2 April.[6] His passenger list states that he was going to the U.S. permanently, like countless other Irish people. His ultimate destination was to a cousin, Patrick Walsh, who lived in New Haven, Connecticut.[7] Whether he was actually meaning to go to New Haven is unknown but in the next year he turns up living and working at a United States Marine Hospital in Manhattan, New York City.[8]

Neary’s parents were William Neary Sr. and Mary Cody (Coady on some documents).[9] William Jr. had at least four brothers and sisters: Catherine, John, James and Margaret.[10] Neary and Cody were married in mid 1898[11] with William Sr. having also been born in Kilkenny City[12], most likely in 1873[13]. Mary Cody and her father were also born in Kilkenny City.[14]

In the first decade of the 20th century William Neary Sr. and his young family lived with his father-in-law James Cody. In 1901 the family resided on Kennyswell Street on the eastern outskirts of Kilkenny City, in the civil parish of St. Canice.[15] Their accommodation was modest, a house with a few rooms and a thatched roof.[16] James Cody was a widowed cattle dealer with his son in law, William Sr., working as a labourer, possibly in the cattle business with James.[17]

By 1911 the Neary family and James Cody had moved to Paulstown, living in the townland of Kilmacahill. William Jr. was 5 years of age at this time. William Neary Sr. is listed as the landholder and they seem to be living in slightly better accommodation as their house has a slated roof. [18]By this stage there is no mention of James or William Sr. working in the cattle business as both are listed as labourers.[19]

Cody/Coady is a name that has a long association with the Paulstown area. It turns up in every major set of Irish genealogical records going back to the Tithe Defaulters Lists of the 1830s. This could be a reason as to why the Neary family and James Cody came to Paulstown, perhaps he had family in the area and land became available to rent.


[1] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Kilkenny Urban, Townland/Street Kennyswell Street, Form A, Number on Form B 1 (stamped),house 30, William Neary; digitial image, The National Archives of Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000926560/  : accessed 12 May 2011; original manuscript not cited.

[2] Ireland Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958, database, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/search/recordDetails/show?uri=https://api.familysearch.org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/MNMW-YD4/p1 : accessed 12 May 2011), entry for William Neary

[3] The National Archives of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Paulstown, Townland/Street Kilmacahill, Form A, Number on Form B 1 (stamped),house 7, William Neary; digitial image, The National Archives of Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai002638171/ : accessed 12 May 2011; original manuscript not cited.

[4] “New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957”, database, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com: accessed 12 May 2011), entry for William Neary, age 22, arrived New York, New York, 2 April 1929 aboard the Baltic

[5] Doherty, Richard. 2002. Irish Volunteers in the Second World War. Dublin: Four Courts Press. p.340. Story told to author in interview with Ed Brett of New Jersey, USA.

[6] “New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957”, Ancestry.com, entry for William Neary; accessed 12 May 2011

[7] “New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957”, Ancestry.com, entry for William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[8] Ancestry.com, 1930 US Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, City of New York Borough of Manhattan, 34th Election District, 1st Assembly District, Sheet x, No House number, No family number, William Neary; digital image, Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 12 May 2011; citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1545

[9] The National Archives of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[10] The National Archives of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[11] Ireland Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958, database, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/search/recordDetails/show?uri=https://api.familysearch.org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/MF2Z-ZFD/p1  : accessed 12 May 2011), entry for William Neary. The corresponding entry for Mary Cody has matching registration district, year, quarter, page and volume numbers. Their 1911 census form says they have been married for 13 years.

[12] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[13] The National Archives of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[13] Ireland Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958, database, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/search/recordDetails/show?uri=https://api.familysearch.org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/MFR7-MGG/p1   : accessed 12 May 2011), entry for William Neary

[14] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[15] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[16] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Kilkenny Urban, Townland/Street Kennyswell Street, Form B1, No Number, house 30, Dwelling of James Cody; digitial image, The National Archives of Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000926529/ : accessed 13 May 2011; original manuscript not cited.

[17] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

[18] The National Archives of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Kilkenny Urban, Townland/Street Kennyswell Street, Form B1, No Number, house 7, Dwelling of James Cody; digitial image, The National Archives of Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000926529/ : accessed 13 May 2011; original manuscript not cited.

[19] The National Archives of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, William Neary: accessed 12 May 2011

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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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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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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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