While we have drawn an ancestral line from the Flynn’s of Kitchener to the Flynns/O’Flynns of Rathcormac, dating back to the birth of Daniel Flynn on 15 January 1794 in Cork City, it’s time to take a 40 minute walk from Bridgeland East to the lush fields of Ballybrowney, also known as Ballybrowney Lower.
In that area, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a small parcel of land was farmed by Patrick Cahill and his wife Hannah Egan — my great-grandparents. My grandmother, Mary (Molly), was the second oldest of 11 children that Patrick and Hannah raised on the farm at Ballybrowney — six boys (Bill, Denis, Michael, Tom, David and P.John) and five girls (Mary, Johanna (Jossie), Catherine (Kitty), Sheila and Patricia.
While the farm at Ballybrowney was outside the little postal townland of Rathcormac, the world for the Flynn, Hogan, Cahill and Egan families was rather small — Fermoy was less than 10 kms away and the big city of Cork was about 25 kms from the centre of Rathcormac. For the most part, life was lived within a 5 kms radius between Ballybrowney, Rathcormac and Kilshannig (the English manor home where my grandparents worked together).
I’m looking forward to spending some time in Rathcormac with my cousins Pat Cahill and Joan Hoskins (children of P. John and Peg Cahill) in May 2016 to dig deeper into our Cahill and Egan roots. What I do have is this: it looks like my great-grandfather Patrick Cahill purchased the land they farmed from the estate of the Esther Mary Alcock Stawell Riversdale in May 1912 (this was the estate of the Viscount Riversdale that dates back to the 1700s). The record suggests that he purchased about 20 acres for about 200 pounds. Here is a screenshot of the listing from the estate proceedings:
Before Patrick Cahill married into the family in 1896, the land was farmed by Hannah’s family the Egans (Denis and Johanna) and before that, Hannah’s grandmother’s family the Callaghans (Patrick and Mary) worked the land.
Johanna Callaghan was born at Ballybrowney on 26 August 1835 to Patrick Callaghan and Mary Foley. Patrick and Mary were married in Rathcormac on 22 November 1834. Below is a screenshot of the marriage registry from the Catholic Parish Registers listing:
Denis Egan, Molly’s grandfather, was born on 2 January 1834 in Castlelyons to Thomas Egan and Mary Mullane. I have very few details of Tom and Mary, other than that they were married in Castlelyons sometime in 1822. Mary was born in 1806 and died in 1876 in Rathcormac — although when I now look at the record I have for Mary I am less convinced that it is a correct representation of the year of her death.
In my next post, I will focus on the family of Denis and Hannah Egan and the beginnings of the Cahill Clan of Ballybrowney.
There is one interesting fact about the Ballybrowney area, that would be known to those living in the area now, that I found to me most fascinating. During the planning and construction phase of the new M8 highway, that now cuts off direct routes from Ballybrowney to Rathcormac, a middle Bronze Age settlement was discovered. Archaeologists suggest that the settlement dates back 10,100 years to a group of hunter-gathers who lived on the lands. For an excellent summary of the findings and some interesting photos/artist depictions see this article from the Archaeology News Network.
The article doesn’t state where these hunters/gathers came from but perhaps my DNA test that is now being analyzed by Ancestry.com might give us some insights into our genetic forebearers.
This is an artist’s depiction of what the settlement might have looked like in 8,000 BC.