Kilmurry-Ibrickane Parish is in the Barony of Ibrickane in West County Clare. There are a number of O'Brien families living in the parish that I believe are related. I invite you to look at their records and stories on the blog to consider if your O'Brien Ancestors may have originated from this area.
Kevin James O'Brien/Caoimhin Séamus Ó Briain
I would like to hear your comments and any history on your family.
Kevin J. O'Brien in Killernan Graveyard, County Clare, Ireland June 1981
Kevin J. O'Brien in Killernan Graveyard, County Clare, Ireland June 1981
Any Genealogist with Irish
Roots who had never set foot on Irish soil would put a trip “home” at the top
of their Bucket List (for those unfamiliar with this idiom, it refers to the
film of the same name where aging best friends decide to do all the things they
have always wanted to before they “kick the bucket”).
I am not ready to die yet nor
is there any foreboding reason for me to make a Bucket List of my own, but after
telling a friend, Bonnie O’Hara at Buffalo’s
IrishCenter about my recent adventures in Ireland she
said, “Well, you can cross that one off your Bucket List.”I never thought about this but she was right.This was a dream come true for anyone with
Irish heritage and even more profound for a genealogist.
My brother, Ned and I visited
last year for 10 days and stayed at our cousin’s house in WestCountyClare outside of the tiny
Village of Mullagh.This is about 4 miles south of Miltown Malbay.While there, we visited the O’Brien Ancestral
Farm in Killernan Townland, CountyClare.
My grandfather, John O’Brien,
1875-1959 left his home in May of 1900 for America.His family lived and worked the farm until 1948
when his spinster sister, Maria O’Brien sold the farm to young man, James O’Connor
who helped her work the farm. Maria was
up in years and moved in with her niece, Delia Lahiff in the Kilnaboy Parish, CountyClare.Delia was a daughter of Katie O’Brien Ryan of
At this time the O’Brien
Ancestral home and farm was vacant.The
new owner, Matt and Teresa Hogan of Ennis were using the farm as a “holiday home.”Matt Hogan loves the scenic area of small
farms, low hills and small rivers, just a few miles from the Atlantic
Ocean.They found it a
perfect place to raise a few horses and his pet donkeys. The daily farm chores
of the farm fell to a neighbor, Michael Walsh - Michael’s ancestors were neighbors
of the O’Brien family for over two hundred years.Our families are listed in the 1826 Tithe
Applotment Books as paying tithes to the protestant church in the parish and
again in the 1855 Griffith’s Valuation of Lands.I am
sure, if the records exist, one would find a marriage somewhere in our lineage between
the O’Brien and Walsh families. In Ireland the boys and girls didn’t
look far to find suitable matches.
As Ned and I drove up the
lane to look at the house Michael Walsh
was feeding the horses and donkeys.After receiving a warm welcome, he offered to show us inside.His son, a plumber was working on the heating
system that had been added to the home.Ned
and I crossed over the threshold and entered the home of our ancestors.We were thrilled to be in the place and took
plenty of pictures.Who knew if we would
ever get back inside this “our home”?
Before we left Ireland we
stopped by the Walsh’s home to personally thank Michael and his wife, Geraldine
for this wonderful experience. Michael wouldn’t let us go without a cup tea.We sat by the warm fire and talked.As it happened, I found out that Geraldine
and I are third cousins through my paternal grandmother, Molly Moroney.This led to a long conversation about
relations and ancestors during which she asked if Ned and I would be interested
in staying at the O’Brien farm on a holiday.“Of course,” I said, stifling a shout.She explained that Mr. Hogan was very particular about his holiday home
but since we were family after all, she would ask him.I immediately promised the labors of my brother,
Ned.I told her to be sure to let Mr.
Hogan know Ned would wash the floor everyday, feed the horses, clean the stalls
and anything needed on the farm.
The following week Geraldine
Walsh let us know that Matt and Teresa Hogan approved our request to spend our
holiday at the ancestral home.It didn’t
take long to make reservations and plan the trip.We decided to go at the same time the following
year, as February has reasonable flights and there are not as many tourists
driving on the wrong side of the road trying to kill you.We only have to worry about ourselves being
on the wrong side.
We arrive early one afternoon
at “our home.”Matt Hogan’s, nephew was
working in the horse stalls and gave us the keys to open the house for our two
week stay.It is hard to describe the feeling
that went through me as I entered this house knowing I would be calling this our
home for the next two weeks.The house
has changed over the years with the addition of modern conveniences that we all
find necessary. But the walls of the home are original and over two feet thick.The windows and entrance doors are recessed
from the inside of the house leaving a two foot shelf for each window and a
small entranceway at each door.That
evening, Ned and I lit a turf fire in a small cast iron stove in the west
bedroom to take the chill out of the house.We settled down, eased ourselves into our beds and went to sleep like
our ancestors hadfor 200 years.We were home.
Visiting the final resting
place of an ancestor is the aspiration of every family historian.This is the place where the story may end for
some or may just begin for others.My
pilgrimage gave a kind of closure and a unique opportunity to place my surname
and family in a time and place of great importance in Irish History.
This was definitely on my “Bucket
List” of things to do before I join my ancestors I have so desperately tried to
Brian Bóroimhe, or more
usually Brian Ború), was an Irish king who united all Ireland for a short time and died
at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 fighting the foreigners. The O'Brien Clan
regards him as their progenitor.
After a number of trips to
Ireland and over thirty years of extensive genealogical research, including a promising
DNA match to The O'Brien, Prince of Thomond, The 18th Baron Inchiquin (Lord Inchiquin), 10th
Baronet of Leamaneh, Conor Myles O’Brien and other O’Brien male descendants
from various parishes and townlands across County Clare, I decree my family as
descendants of Brian Boru.
My brother, Ned O’Brien and I
were visiting my wife’s McCabe family in MonaghanTown,
CountyMonaghan when we decided to take the
short drive to the city of Armagh
and visit the resting place of our ancestor.It was our first trip to Northern
Ireland which added to the excitement.When you approach Armagh
you can see the two cathedrals in the skyline.Our first stop was to Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral
in Armagh.There we found the memorial plaque mounted on the outside wall to honor
our ancestor, Brian Boru.After a short
prayer for our O’Brien family, we toured the inside of this magnificent
cathedral and there I lit 3 candles for my children and offered a prayer for
their health.This was a first for me,
lighting candles and saying prayers for my children in a protestant
cathedral.After our visit we drove down
the hill and up the next hill to the present Catholic St. Patrick's Cathedral
Northern Ireland.This was built to replace the medieval
Cathedral, St. Patrick's
Cathedral, Armagh, which has been retained by the Church of
Ireland since the Protestant Reformation.We walked in just after the Mass had started
and took our seat and until the Mass was over.
Ned O'Brien says a
prayer at the burial site of ancestor Brian Boroimhe,
High King of Ireland at St.
Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, Co. Armagh,