From the 1901 Irish Census, I determined that my grandfather was living with his father’s parents, John and Hanorah (sometimes referred to as Norah or Norry), in the Bridgeland East area of Rathormac — Ráth Chormaic, meaning “Cormac’s ringfort“. It is an area that is now farmland, just north of the River Bride on the east side of R639 as you enter Rathcormac from Cork City. The land is behind the Bride Villa and extends to behind the Rathcormac Inn.
This is a screenshot from Google Maps that show the exact area:
At a family reunion in Batesville, Indiana in July 1996, a month after my dad died, distant O’Flynn cousins gave us coffee mugs with a picture of the tenant housing that my great, great-grandparents lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They said that these particular housing units were located directly behind the Rathcormac Inn (which was considered part of Bridgeland East at the time). In 1998, when Stephanie and I visited Ireland, we took a tour of the Rathcormac Inn and asked if we could see their storage buildings — the same buildings that my grandfather would have lived in around 1901 when he was attending school in Rathcormac. I took a few pictures of the buildings, which were demolished later in 1998 and not available for inspection by my brothers when we visited in 1999. Here is one of those pictures
It was in these buildings that John and Hanorah/Honora Flynn raised their six children: Julia (1866-1897 — who moved to Ohio in the late 1800s); Daniel (1868 – ? who moved to Toronto and sponsored my grandfather in 1925); Catherine (1870-? — who also moved to the U.S. and maybe even married Julia’s husband Hugh O’Connor after Julia died in 1897); Norah (1873-1926 — who remained in Rathcormac); Denis (1875 – 1947 who was my great-grandfather); and Mary (1879 – ? for whom I don’t have any information).
John Flynn was born and baptized in Glanmire Parish on 29 November 1836 and was the son of Daniel Flynn (1794-1866) and Johanna Murphy (1814-?). Here is a screenshot of John’s baptismal record from 1836:
I have fewer details of Hanorah Hogan except that she was born about 1845 — this was taken from her marriage and death certificates. Her father was Daniel Hogan and I have no information on him. From the Griffith’s Valuation book, printed in 1853, you can see that a Daniel Hogan lived on Bride St. in Bridgeland East — so again, we take a great leap of historical researcher’s faith and say that this must be Hanorah’s father and this is where she grew up and lived all her life. Here is a screenshot of that record:
Honora/Hanorah and John married in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rathcormac on 11 May 1864. Here is a screenshot of the church marriage registry:
Source: Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Microfilm Number: Microfilm 04995 / 02 (1864).
John, an agricultural labourer, died between the 1901 and 1911 censuses — I have two potential years as either 1902 or 1910. Hanora died on 6 May 1920. A screenshot of the registration of her will is below. Note it lists her daughter Norah Leahy as her executor. It is interesting to note that Hanora still lived in Bridgeland East even up to the time of her death.
I have no information on where either John or Hanorah are buried — hopefully I will locate their burial plots on my trip back to Ballybrowney. It is interesting though, that through my examination of the records of my great, great-grandparents, there never appears an “O” in front of their names. Did they give it up or did they never have it? Some Irish families gave up the “O” under British rule and joined the Anglican Church. But we have no indication of that happening to the Rathcormac Flynn clan as the marriage record of Hanorah and John are from the Catholic Parish registry. So perhaps it was dependent on the degree that you felt you needed to display your patriotism in the mid to late 1800s.
There is no doubt that these were also difficult times, both economically and politically in Ireland, especially in the south. As tenant farmers, with their small plot of rented land to house their own animals and grow their own food, they owed their existence to their landlord. In 1901, John and Hanorah Flynn rented their 3rd class dwelling from John Ring — a local farmer, grocer and vintner, who also owned a public house in the same area (perhaps this was the public house where the Rathcormac Inn now stands). Their house was made either of mud, wood or perishable materials and their roof was also made of either thatch, wood or also perishable materials. It had less than four rooms and had two windows in the front. John and Hanorah also had two out-buildings associated with their dwelling: a piggery and a fowl house.
In the mid to late 1800s, some of the land around Rathcormac was controlled by Viscount Riversdale, the owner of the Bride Villa and Lisnagar Estates, and leased out to Edward Barry, a local doctor. In 1912, the estate and lands of the Viscount was sold off to those who were able to afford portions of the land. I’ll have more to say about this when I discussed the Cahill family’s farm at Ballybrowney.
Politically, the Rathcormac area had a history of rising up against the local landowners and British rule. On 18 December 1834, a group of tenant farmers, who were refusing to pay their tithe to the local vicar (Church of Ireland), were killed by British soldiers just outside of the town near the Bartlemy Cross. The Rathcormac or Gortroe Massacre resulted in the death of upwards of 20 local farmers.
So perhaps even the O’Flynns, who were tenant farmers, didn’t want to rock the boat and decided simply to be known as Flynn.