The Journey Back to Rathcormac

On Day 2, I left Cork and my search for clues to the Denis O’Flynn families and headed back north, about 20 kilometers to Rathcormac — the birthplace of my dad and his mom. Rathcormac was originally on the main Cork to Dublin Road and I remember it to be a very well traveled roadway when we first visited in 1973. In fact my Uncle P. John’s Esso garage on Main St. in Rathcormac was well situated for passing travelers in need of a fill-up.  As a 13-year old I wanted to help out around the garage and often served the customers by filling their tanks. I remember on one occasion a Jaguar pulling up and the driver asking me to fill both tanks — I’d never heard of a car having two tanks and ran back into my Uncle and he gently explained that expensive English cars sometimes had two tanks. Who knew!

Well the main road in Rathcormac isn’t as busy now as a result of the construction of the M-8 which is a four-lane express highway through County Cork on the way north toward Dublin. In fact Rathcormac looks a little tired and in need of some revitalization. It is a small village that more recently has become a bedroom community of Cork City — by jumping on the M8 and taking the Jack Lynch Tunnel you can be in the Mahon/Blackrock area of the city in less than 20 minutes. So new homes have been built over the last 10 years but the growth hasn’t translated into a revival of the main business area — a common trait of bedroom communities.

When I drove through the town on Sunday, on my way from the Dublin Airport to Cork City, I got off the M8 to take the R639 through Rathcormac. I hadn’t been there since 2009 and wanted to see how the town looked. For the most part not much had changed but one upsetting change was at the house where my grandparents and dad lived before they immigrated in 1925.

The house is directly across the street from the Garda on what was known as Cannon St. It was a good-sized home for its day and about a 5-minute walk to his Aunt Norah Leahy’s house on the other side of the Ring Public House (now the Rathcormac Inn). It would have also been a quick bike ride or carriage ride (10-15 minutes) to Ballybrowney and for Jack and Molly about a 20 minute walk to Kilshannig House — where the both were working when they were married in 1920.


The O’Flynn Family residence on Cannon Street in Rathcormac (picture taken in 1998).

When I traveled through the village on my way to Cork, I was shocked by the condition of the house. Apparently a fire in the house in December 2012 killed the owner who, as my cousins told me, had the placed full of newspapers and junk. Here’s a link to the news story recalling the events of that fire: Elderly man dies in Cork house fire .

So this is now the condition of the home…anyone want to purchase it and preserve a little Flynn/Cahill family history?

Next up…a visit to ground zero, the homestead at Ballybrowney and the graves of my maternal great grandfather, Patrick Cahill and great grandmother, Hannah Cahill (nee Egan) — buried in two different cemeteries.


3 thoughts on “The Journey Back to Rathcormac

  1. Hi,
    I’m presently trying to research the origins and development of the two houses in your photographs above and was wondering if you had any evidence (such as the 1911 census return for house and outbuilding details) for the subsequently burnt house being a Flynn residence? Any more photos would be particularly useful.
    I’m really only focusing my research on the buildings themselves as distinct from family history but I’ll be happy to share my findings with you if they bring up anything new on top of the impressive work you’ve achieved to date.
    Kind regards


    • Eamonn, my apologies for not seeing this earlier. All I know is that my grandparents lived there sometime between 1921 and 1925. I don’t know anything about the ownership. Anything that you have would be helpful.


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