Kevin J. O'Brien in Killernan Graveyard, County Clare, Ireland June 1981

Kevin J. O'Brien in Killernan Graveyard, County Clare, Ireland June 1981
Kevin J. O'Brien in Killernan Graveyard, County Clare, Ireland June 1981

The O’BRIEN, EGAN, HAREN and RYNNE connection in Killernan Townland,

The O’Brien, Egan, Haren and Rynne connection in Killernan Townland,

County Clare, Ireland

In February 1910 I met Michael Rynne on the road that meets the lane that goes up to the Rynne Farm in Killernan townland.  I was interested in meeting Michael Rynne who lives as a bachelor in the house next to the ancestral home of my O’Brien family.  I knew that the two farms to the East of the Rynne farm were formerly O’Brien farms and suspected that the Rynne farm was once part to the O’Brien Ancestral lands in Killernan.

When I introduced myself as Kevin J. O’Brien and told Michael Rynne that my grandfather was born in the Jamsie O’Connor farm he told me that there were there three O’Brien farms in Killernan:  Brogan O’Brien, Stephen O’Brien and his farm.  The Annagh River is the boarder at the North of the three farms.  This was the first time anyone of the local residents told me that these lands at the Western end of Killernan Townland were O’Brien lands.

The record that lists the specific farm land and is mapped and numbered was 1855 Griffith Valuation of Tenements.  In this document Patrick Egan is listed as Occupier of farm know as #20 with 31 acres; Honoria O’Brien # 15, 16, 17 with 26 acres and Michael O’Brien # 18 & 19 with 20 acres.

1855 Griffith Valuation of Tenements

Patrick Egan was married to Ellen O’Brien and they raised a large family on this land listed as #20 on the Killernan map.  Their oldest daughter, Bridget Egan born 14 Dec 1850 married Michael Haren of Shanaway on 24 Feb 1874. 

Michael Haren baptized 26 July 1846 was the son of Michael Haren of Shanaway and Catherine O’Brien of Killernan.  Michael’s mother, Catherine O’Brien Haren was either a sister or first cousin of Ellen O’Brien Egan of Killernan.  

Michael Haren and Bridget Egan had one daughter, Maria Haren.  Maria Haren was raised by her grandfather, Patrick Egan in Killernan who was widowed in 1897.  Maria Haren’s  grandmothers were both O’Brien’s.  She married her second cousin or possibly her third if her grandmothers were first cousins.  Maria Haren was living on the Egan farm during the 1901 and 1911 Census with her grandfather Egan and uncle.

On the 17 Feb 1912 Maria Haren married Jeremiah Rynne and this is how the farm listed as # 20 on Griffith Valuation of Tenements in 1855 became the Rynne farm.   Jeremiah Rynne’s  wife’s grandmother, Ellen O’Brien Egan  of Killernan was the daughter of Daniel O’Brien of Killernan who died in January 1851 from starvation after walking back from the Work House in Ennistymon.

Michael Rynne that is presently living on the farm in Killernan is the son of Jeremiah Rynne and his second wife, Bridget McMahon.  Jeremiah Rynne and Maria Haren had three children and when Maria died; Jeremiah remarried later in 1919 to Bridget McMahon.

Going back to the earliest property record available the 1826 Tithe Applotment Book for Kilmurry-Ibrickane parish we find that the land in Killernan Townland was held by Patrick O’Brien 3 acres, John O’Brien 2 acres, Michael O’Brien 10 acres. James O’Brien 10 acres, Daniel O’Brien 6 acres and John O’Brien Sr. (Ret) 4 acres. 

1842 Ordinance Survey Map.

This was still an O’Brien farm.  Daniel O’Brien was alive until 1851 and Ellen O’Brien married Patrick Egan circa 1848.

2010 Map

Notice that the Rynne Farm is now back from the road further as this is the

Leconfield house that was built in 1875.

When you compare the 1826 Tithe Applotment Books to the 1834 Tithe Applotment Books for Killernan Townland you find that John O'Brien Sr. (Ret) is not listed in 1834 version.  Daniel O'Brien is listed as having a second holding.  This 2nd holding was the land held by his father, John O'Brien Sr. (probably died 1826-1834).   In 1834 Daniel now has 16 acres of land.   This is the same size acreage as his brothers Michael O'Brien and James O'Brien lands.  In 1834 there were 3 O'Brien farms of almost equal size.  The other family members, John O'Brien and Patrick O'Brien had smaller holdings of 3 acres and 5 acres.   The land held by Daniel O'Brien in 1834 became the Egan holdings by marriage to his daughter, Ellen O'Brien in the 1855 Griffith's Valuation.  By 1855 all the O'Brien's land holdings in Killernan townland were consolidated into the 3 farms of Honoria O'Brien, Michael O'Brien and Patrick Egan. 

There was a deep well in the front of Honoria O'Brien's house that had to be descended by a stone spiral stairway  The water from this well was used by these three farms.  The well was covered over in the 1950's because one of Jamsie O’Connor’s daughters fell into the well and Mr. O’Connor had it cemented over.  Even after the Egan’s left the farm in 1912 the Rynne family used the well at the O’Brien and later the O’Connor farm.

These stories that were told to be by Michael Rynne of Killernan, Jamsie O’Connor of Killernan (RIP), Martin Cahill of Kildimo (RIP), Moira Darcy Sexton of Bonavilla (RIP) are supported by the civil records and parish church records.

The Egan’s have a large vault along the South wall of Killernan graveyard dedicated to Ellen O’Brien the wife of Patrick O’Brien and the death of Daniel O’Brien is documented in the Clare Journal on the 13 Jan 1851.

Egan Vault in Killernan Graveyard

Also, an interesting note here is the house that Michael Rynne lives in now was built in 1875 by the Landlord, Lord Leconfield.  It is a well built house and has a small gable over the front doorway.  In the 1911 Census it is listed as a 2nd class house with a slate roof with at least 5 rooms.  The homes of Brogan and Stephen O’Brien had thatched roofs and only 3 rooms.  This house is now on a list of historical homes in County Clare.



1875 Lord Leconfield House

Owned by Michael Rynne of Killernan, co. Clare, Ireland


  1. This is all quite interesting. I've been given a family tree that lists a Daniel O'Brien (husband of Mary O'Brien, nee Murphy) as my great-great-great grandfather!

    1. Jim,
      Thank you for your comment. Do you have any idea where your O'Brien family is from in Ireland?
      I would be interested in looking at your family tree to see if I could recognize anyone.

  2. Hi Kevin!
    Im so happy I stumbled across your page here, So interesting! although Im not an O'Brien, My Grandmother was Annie (Gorey) nee Rynne b. 1892 at Kinturk to David Rynne and Bridgett Rynne nee Gallery. her siblings were Charles, David, Mickey, Thomas Rynne and Mary Rynne Pauly. She emmigrated to US in 1913 w/ cousin Denis Murphy. She came back several times to visit later in her life, I have pictures of the farm and some older pics from early 1900s. I hope to make a trip to Co. Clare next year and am trying to learn of my family there.
    Best to you, Linda Gorey, Florida

    1. Hi Linda, I stumbled across this blog by doing a search on my grandmother's name, Mary Rynne Pauly. Your grandmother and mine were sisters. I had always heard about "Aunt Annie" but never met her. I do have a picture or two of her and my grandma. I would love to get in touch with you. My name is Theresa Pauly Gustafson you can find me on Facebook or I will check back here to see if you have responded. Btw my husband has been compiling genealogy info and would love to compare notes. Thanks! Theresa

  3. Hi Kevin,
    I'm so interested in the great information you have documented here. We are descendents of Wm O'Brien 1793-1851, son of John O'Brien abt 1765, son of James O'Brien 1730-1800, son of Donal O'Brien d 1768, son of Wm O'Brien 1666-1691. We are visiting Ireland for the first time this Sept and would love to drive by this O'Brien ancestral farm as well as the Killernan graveyard.

    Pam O'Brien