Turtle Bunbury

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A Family History by Turtle Bunbury







5 JOHN FINN (1798-1881)



8 CATHERINE RYAN (1852-1894)

9 PATRICK W. FINN (1843-1903)

10 TOM FINN (1887-1960) OF DRUMMOND



This is the story of the Finn family who have lived in the townland o f Drummin, near St. Mullins, County Carlow, since at least the 18th century. Family legend holds that they originated further east in County Wicklow, while the Irish annals mention various Finns who were kings, bishops and warriors in Munster long centuries ago, not least the mighty Finn McCool.

The first of the line to settle in Drummin, or Drummond as it is known today, is believed to have been Michael Finn. He may have been drawn to the area by its proximity to the River Barrow which, by 1783, was navigable as far as Clashganny, just upstream from Graiguenamanagh.

Michael’s son William Finn served with the United Irishmen in the 1798 Rebellion, possibly under General Thomas Cloney, and he lived until the eve of the Great Famine.

His son John was born in the same week of 1798 that the pikemen of south-east Ireland took up arms and lived through the eras of Catholic Emancipation and famine to see the passage of Gladstone’s groundbreaking Land Act in 1881. As a farmer, John was held in high esteem, assisting the Poor Law Commissioners with their detailed study of St. Mullins in the 1830s. As well as Drummin, he rented a small slice of land at nearby Bauck. John was married twice and fathered at least twelve children.

In his twilight years, John passed control of the farm at Drummin and the land at Bauck to his son Pat, or P.W. Finn. Pat became a forester of some skill, selling cross-cut timber on the River Barrow on behalf of the extraordinary Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh of Borris House. He also mastered the divining rod during the 1870s.

Pat and his wife Bridget had a large family but were dealt a considerable blow with the loss of three children in 1900, including their eldest son William. Pat himself passed away in 1903 and was buried alongside his father and grandfather in St. Mullins.

In the next generation, members of the Finn family appear in New York, Australia, Yorkshire and Carlow, while the farm at Drummin passed to Tom Finn, a veteran of the Irish War of Independence. In due course, the farm passed to Michael John Finn, Tom’s nephew, who now [2014] lives at Drummond along with the family of his second son Martin. Martin’s four sons represent the eighth generation since the original Michael Finn.

As well as providing some background history on the area around St. Mullins, this history encompasses many other families from the area, including Murphy, Keefe, Ryan Doyle, Rorke, Walsh, O’Neill, Phelan, Gladney and Corcoran. Some key details for these people came from the Finn gravestones in St. Mullins which were initially transcribed in the Journal for the Memorials of the Dead (1901), and subsequently so kindly provided by Michael Purcell for the Carlow’s IGP (Ireland Genealogical Projects) website. Indeed, for much of the following, I am indebted to the generosity of Michael Brennan, Michael Purcell and the manifold contributors to the Carlow IGP Website, as well as the wonderful memoirs of Michael Finn, Ann Boland and Bill Finn.

Another useful source is the Finn family archives at Drummond, although many of these primarily 19th century document are now barely legible. Other sources consulted include Google Books, The Times, the Irish News archive, the census and Tithe Applotment records, Griffith’s Valuations, the Australia News archives, the Ellis Island records, the Carlow Rootsweb and Ancestry.com


The name Finn is believed to derive from the word ‘fionn’, meaning ‘fair (haired)’, and Ó Finn thus means ‘descendant of Fionn’. The most famous Finn is, of course, Finn MacCool, or Fionn mac Cumhaill, the semi-legendary Leinster-born warrior. Given that the Finn family have been so intricately involved with the evolution of St. Mullins over the past 250 years, it would be nice to think they are somehow connected to Finn MacCool.

According to the 12th century Fenian text Acallam na Senórach (‘The Colloquy of the Ancients’), there was a warrior called Moling Luath in Finn MacCool’s entourage. The text suggests that Moling Luath lived at Ros Broc (as St. Mullins was formerly known) where he owned the original mile-long water-course. [1] Some hold that Moling Luath was one and the same man as St. Moling, the 7th century poet, artist and craftsman for whom St. Mullins is named. He built his monastery here on the banks of the River Barrow under the patronage of St. Máedóc (Áedan), first Bishop of Ferns. St Moling was made Archbishop of Ferns in 691 and died five years later.

If we go back four hundred years from St. Moling, we find Ohy Finn Fothart operating as one of the principal players in the court of his brother Conn of the Hundred Battles, King of Munster. Ohy Finn Fothart apparently played a key role in Conn’s assassination. When Conn’s son Art became King of Munster in 165 AD, one of his first acts was to banish his wicked uncle from Munster. Ohy duly made his way to Leinster whose king bestowed on him and his sons certain districts. Thereafter known as the Fótharta, his descendants dominated the baronies of Forth in both County Wexford and County Carlow. [2] Family documentation provided by Maurice Clarke and Stephen Finn indicates many Finns living around Bunclody in north Co. Wexford and Clonegal, Co. Carlow (where they ran a pub) in the early 19th century.

Another royal Finn was Murchad mac Finn, who was King of Leinster at the time of his death in 972 AD. Half a century later, the Annála Inis Faithleann (Annals of Inisfallen) apparently record an O’Finn who served as Bishop of Munster during the reign of Malachy II, High King of Ireland.

When Sir William Petty made his survey of Ireland on behalf of Cromwell’s government in 1659, he listed Finn’s living all over the country, particularly in County Cork.

Edward MacLysaght was one of 20th century Ireland’s most eminent genealogists, rising to become Chief Herald of Ireland and Chairman of the Irish Manuscripts Commission. In 1957, he published the first edition of his ground-breaking book ‘The Surnames of Ireland’, which gave his verdict on the origin of over 4,000 Gaelic, Norman and Anglo-Irish surnames. This is what he says about the source of the name and family of Finn:-

“(0)Finn O Finn (fionn, fair). There are three distinct septs of this name. Two, viz. of Coolavin, Co. Sligo, and of Kilcolgan, Co. Galway, survive. The name is now found also in Munster”.

Mr. MacLysaght pinpointed three main O’Finn clans in Ireland during the medieval age. The first lived on the shore of Lough Gill in County Sligo, and is still recalled today by the name Coolavin or Cuil O’bhFinn, meaning ‘the refuge place of the O’Finns’. In Geoffrey Keating’s History of Ireland, O’Finn’s were given as chiefs of Calraighe (Calry), a district adjoining Dartry, in the present barony of Dromahaire, County Leitrim, and close to the present parish of Calry in County Sligo.

The second Finn sept held church lands and property in Kilcolgan, County Galway while the third, who went by the name of MacFhinn or Maginn, belonged to the ancient territory of Oriel in present day Counties Armagh and Monaghan.

He made no reference of the Finns who have been living in south east Leinster since at least the 18th century, specifically in the counties of Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow.


According to family lore, the first known sire of the Finns of Drummin was Michael Finn who is presumed to have been born in the early 18th century. It is said that he came from County Wicklow but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to prove this. However, if the Wicklow connection were to be correct, there is a chance that Michael would have been connected by blood to three brothers called Laurence, Luke and Dan Finn who became legendary across south-east Ireland for their exploits during the 1798 Rebellion.

The Finn brothers initially served in a militia force on the Wexford-Wicklow borders commanded by Sir John Jervis-White of Ballyellis. This was initially raised to tackle an abortive invasion of Ireland by a French force under General Hoche and Wolfe Tone in 1796, as the following extracts from the memoirs of Myles O’Byrne relates. [3]

‘Sir Jarvis [sic] White of Ballyellis, Co. Wexford, raised a footcorps, and got great praise from the Government, as he had it equipped and armed when Hoche’s French Expedition came to Bantry Bay in 1796. If this corps was one of the first ready to march, it was also one of the first to be disbanded and disarmed [in 1798], for it was composed principally of Catholics, though the officers were Protestants.

‘Sir Jervis White of Ballyellis ... was drilling and preparing some of the bravest fellows that ever pulled a trigger against tyranny. His corps … many of them excelled in dexterity and military acquirements. Three brothers of the name Finn - Laurence, Luke and Dan—rather small-sized men, distinguished themselves by their bravery and by their brotherly attachment; they seldom separated, and frequently saved one another in great danger.’

However, after the corps was disbanded, the Finns subsequently switched sides and served for the United Irishmen. The following incident relates to a cavalry charge near Ardee, County Louth, recorded by Myles Byrne.

‘My brother Hugh told me also of the extraordinary bravery displayed on [this] occasion by the two Finns, Laurence and Luke: the latter, being knocked down in the charge and ridden over and trampled down by all the cavalry, kept his musket notwithstanding, close by his side. When two of these cavalry men returning perceived he was not dead, they rode up to finish him. Luke sat up, let them approach, deliberately took aim and shot one of them, whilst his brother Laurence, who was looking on from behind the hedge, shot the other, and thus relieved Luke, who, now completely recovered from the trance he had been in, got up, and escaped over the ditch to his brother and the other gunsmen. Those two Finns distinguished themselves in every battle and combat that was fought against the English in the county of Wexford. They were the first in every action, and always the last to quit the field of battle. After many adventures and dangerous enterprises they effected their escape into Dublin when the Insurrection was put down. They left their widowed mother and sister to the mercy of [Sir Jervis] White and the Orange ruffians of that neighbourhood.

The eldest brother, Laurence, went to America; Luke became a clerk and bookkeeper in a mercantile house; Dan, the youngest, had to become a waiter in a porter house in Patrick Street. Such was the reputation of the Finns that the worthy proprietor Thomas MacGauran, had to enlarge his establishment and open a second house next door, for all the good patriots of Dublin began to frequent it.

Soon after young [Dan] Finn married Mr. MacGauran’s niece and became his partner. When I [Myles Byrne] left Dublin [in 1803], they were making a fortune. In consequence of the explosion of the depot [during Robert Emmet’s Rising] in Patrick Street, in 1803, they [Dan Finn & Mr. MacGauran] were imprisoned and much injured in their business, though no charges whatever could be brought against them. Poor [Dan] Finn died some time after getting out of prison. [His will dated 1809 has been found].

MacGauran came [to France, where Myles Byrne was writing his memoirs] with all his family, after the peace, to reside at Ingouville, near Havre de Grace, and some years after he had the misfortune to take nitre instead of salts, of which he died immediately, much lamented and regretted by all the Irish patriots who knew him, and leaving several young children unprovided for.’

The Finn family were Catholic which is no surprise given that the parish of St. Mullins registered just three Protestant households in 1765, making less than one percent of the total. [4]

Drummin, which is sometimes spelled as ‘Drumin’ and ‘Drummond’, lies near the banks of the tiny river Drummin. This tributary of the Barrow joins the Pollmounty to form the extreme southern boundary of County Carlow. The name may be a corruption of Drummin, or Dhruim Fhinn in Irish, giving added gravitas to the suggestion that the Finns have been around these parts for a long time.

During the 17th century, the lands of Drummin belonged to Bryan na Stróice Kavanagh, a renowned warrior who is said to have been the tallest man in James II’s Jacobite army. He lies amid the ancient ruins of Saint Moling’s abbey, buried beneath a moss-covered tablet that reads:

‘Here lieth the body of Bryan Kavanagh of Drumin, of the family of Ballyleagh. A man remarkably known to the nobility and gentry of Ireland by the name of Bryan Na-Sthroka, from his noble actions and valour, in King James’s troop, in the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim. He died February 8th, 1735, aged 74 years. Also Mary Murphy his wife with four of their children.—R. I. P.’

Bryan’s son Morgan “Prussia” Kavanagh was also an exceedingly tall man and served in the Potsdam Giants, a Prussian infantry regiment composed of taller-than-average soldiers. Another son John Baptista Kavanagh left Ireland after the fall of Limerick and went on to become Baron Gniditz of Bohemia. The Baron married a daughter of another Kavanagh called Maurice who commanded some 6,000 Imperial troops for the King of Poland during the 1740s. [5]

We know no more of Michael Finn but the Finn family do appear to have been in the Drummin area by the 1750s and were perhaps even there when Bryan Na-Sthroka Kavanagh was alive. Their arrival into the area may have been connected to the increasing importance of the River Barrow, which was navigable to St. Mullins by 1783. In October 1788, a meeting of subscribers to the Barrow Navigation was held in the Courthouse, Carlow, and the Barrow Navigation Company completed the link between St. Mullins and Athy two years later.

Michael Finn of Drummin fathered at least one child, William, born in 1759. [6] Ancestry.com records a Patrick Finn who was apparently born in Drummond [sic] in 1753, and who may have been William’s brother. Patrick married Mary Freny and died in Drummond on 6th May 1801, leaving a son ‘John Finn of Drummond’ who, according to Memorial 280 in St. Mullins, ‘departed this life January 1837 aged 41 years.’ Ancestry also suggests that the John Finn who died in 1837 was married to Honor Murphy rather than John Finn I, son of William, whom we treat anon.

Mary Freny, wife of Patrick, may have been a kinswoman of Captain James Freney, the bold Kilkenny highwayman. According to the legends, Captain Freney had a hideout at St. Mullins and buried some of his stolen gold amid the megalithic remains of Dranagh Mountain on the south western end of the Blackstairs. The gold is said to lie at a spot ‘where the first rays of the rising sun over the Blackstairs would be touched by the last rays of the setting sun over Brandon’. There are still die-hards who scan the area and dig at sunsets on the off-chance the legend holds good. [7]


William Finn of Drummin was born in 1759, a year known in British history as the Annus Mirabilis, or ‘year of miracles’, on account of a series of British victories over the French in the Seven Years War, culminating in the capture of Quebec. It was also the year in which Arthur Guinness established his brewery on the banks of the River Liffey in Dublin.

We know little of William’s early life save that he was married to Anne Cody (1753-1833), a woman five or six years older than him. She was a daughter of Patrick Cody (born 1720) and his wife Mary (born 1724) and she grew up at Ballycrinnegan Hill, near Graiguenamanagh.

On 27th May 1798, Anne gave birth to a son whom they named John. It was an extraordinary date for her to have a baby because that was the very same day that the rebellion kick-started by the United Irishmen in Dublin four days earlier spread into south-east Leinster like wildfire. The Finn family were instantly caught up in the dramatic scenes that unfurled following the news that 36 unarmed rebel suspects had been summarily executed at Dunlavin Green on 24th May. The executions caused the Catholic Irish populace to mobilize with astonishing rapidity in the ensuing days. It was accompanied by mass hysteria that the Orangemen were coming to murder everyone. Thomas Cloney, an educated Catholic who lived at Moneyhore in County Wexford, was by no means the only person who believed an indiscriminate massacre of the Catholic population was about to erupt. ‘No one slept in their homes,’ he wrote. ‘The very whistling of the birds seemed to report the approach of the enemy’.

On 27th May, the day John was born, Father John Murphy and 1,000 rebels annihilated a detachment of militiamen from Wexford at Oulart Hill. As the word got out about Father Murphy’s emphatic victory – which left over a hundred Redcoat corpses on the battlefield – Crown forces and loyalist civilians ceded control of the countryside and retreated to towns such as Enniscorthy, Gorey and Wexford. By 30th May, the rebels had seized control of both Enniscorthy and Wexford Town.

While Anne Finn presumably stayed at home looking after her newborn baby, William Finn took an active role during the 1798 Rebellion. According to pages 42-43 of the Bicentenary booklet issued by the St. Mullins ’89 Commemoration Committee in 1998, William Finn of Drummond House “… fought at the Battle of New Ross on 5th June 1798 and returned home unwounded. Yeomen raided his houses on their way to Borris shortly after the Battle of Ross, as they believed that a “Croppy” was concealed there. William and his family would certainly have met their end had they not taken refuge in Drummond Wood”. The booklet adds that baby John is “said to have been born in Drummond Wood in the aftermath of the Battle of Ross”.

William was one of twenty-one St. Mullins men whose names were enshrined upon a commemoration plaque installed inside the gateway of the village graveyard to mark the 150th anniversary of the Rebellion in 1948. All twenty-one men served with the United Irishmen during the Rebellion and they were all later buried at St. Mullins. The other twenty were General Thomas Cloney, John Byrne, George Dalton, John Scolardy, James Doyle, Patrick Foley, Henry Hammond, Patrick Kearney, John Lacey, Murty Lawlor, Patrick Logan, George Malone, Frank Moore, James Rourke, Sean Ruadh, Darach Doyle, Laurence O’Keefe, John Whelan, Maurice Kavanagh and Colonel Morgan Kavanagh. [8]

It stands to reason that all of these men served in the same unit of United Irishmen which was under the command of the brilliant young Thomas Cloney, or ‘General Cloney’ as he was known to his men. If such speculation can be permitted, then William Finn may very well have served amongst the 200-strong raiding party commanded by Cloney who attacked the garrison at Borris House in pursuit of arms and ammunition.

Cloney was deeply reluctant to lead the raid because his family had been tenants of the Kavanaghs of Borris for many generations and the Kavanaghs were considered good landlords. Pat Finn, who worked closely with the Kavanaghs in the late 19th century, must have known whether his grandfather William Finn was amongst those who attacked Borris that day. Pat was a member of the Centenary Commemoration Committee who gathered for a Monster Demonstration in St. Mullins on Sunday 24th July 1898. The meeting was called ‘Who Fears to Speak of ’98?’ and was designed to raise funds ‘to decorate the graves of the rebels buried in St. Mullins graveyard.’

It is not known whether William ever spent time in gaol. General Cloney was captured and imprisoned at the notorious New Geneva Barracks near Passage East in County Waterford. The scars from the manacles he was forced to wear in the gaol were still visible decades later. Cloney appears to have been all set to reignite the rebellion in the south-east during Robert Emmett’s rising of 1803 but, when that failed to catch, he was again captured and incarcerated in Kilmainham Gaol. Released in 1804, he subsequently settled at Whitehall near Graiguenamanagh where he wrote ‘A personal narrative of those transactions in the county Wexford, in which the author was engaged, during 1798’.

Following General Cloney’s death in 1850, the following obituary was published in the Kilkenny Moderator and copied to The Times of London. [9]


The Kilkenny Moderator says~- “We have to record the demise of Mr. Thomas Cloney, of Graiguie, in this county, better known to the public as General Cloney, which event took place on Friday last, in the 76th year of his age. The General was born in 1774, and was in his 24th year when the insurrection of 1798 broke out, in which he took an active part, commanding a brigade of the insurgent army in most of their southern engagements, and leaving behind, in his well-known Personal Narrative, an interesting account of his adventures ‘by flood and field’ at that eventful period. Since ‘98 the rebel chief remained in private life, except that he occasionally emerged to lead a body of ‘Graigue hurlers’ at the monster gatherings of the ‘Liberator,’ the last occasion of his marshalling his forces for the’ pride pomp, and circumstance’ of a Repeal procession and diner, being the banquet given to ‘the martyrs’ in this city, in 1845.

Mr. Cloney was generally esteemed during a long life for many amiable and social qualities; and his remains were deposited on Sunday last in the cemetery of St. Mullins, by a large following of friends, compatriots, and sympathizers.”

General Cloney was not the only one still stirring up trouble in the St. Mullins neighbourhood in the first decade of the 19th century. In February 1804, The Times of London gave the following account of the capture of two outlaws. [10]

‘The two BYRNES, who belonged to Irish rebel CORCORAN’S gang, have been apprehended and lodged in Kilkenny gaol. One of them is severely wounded, having his leg broke and a ball lodged in his hp. While one of the Byrnes lay a prisoner in the guard-house at Borris, information was received there that the other was seen lying in a knot of furze in the Barony of St. Mullins, county of Carlow; a parry instantly went in pursuit of him, and on their approaching the place of his concealment, he fired at and wounded one of the yeomen. Several shots were then interchanged, until his ammunition was expended, and he lay incapable of further resistance, from the dreadful effects of his wounds.’

John Finn, who later succeeded to Drummin, may have been William and Anne’s only child. However, one wonders if William and Anne might also have been the parents of Alice Finn of St. Mullins who was married at St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1813. [11]

Anne Finn died in 1833. The following year, the Tithe Applotment Books show that William Finn of ‘Drummin’ held three lots of fourth grade land, totaling 22 acres and 19 perches, for which he paid rent of £13-10-2 and an annual tithe of 14 shillings and eight pence. William outlived Anne by thirteen years and had reached the age of eighty seven by the time of his passing on the eve of the Great Famine in 1846. His exceptionally useful memorial stone in the graveyard at St. Mullins reads as follows:

‘Sacred to the memory of William Finn of Drumond who died April 1846 aged 87 years. His wife Anne Finn died December 1833 aged 80 years. [12] Their grand-children. May they rest in peace.’

On the right side of this memorial, the following details about William and Anne’s grandchildren are inscribed:

• Johanna Murphy died April 1859 aged 30 years.

• Mary Bolger died April 1866, aged 25 years.

• Bridget Finn died April 1868 aged 18 years.

• Thomas Finn died May 1868 aged 21 years.

On the left hand side of the memorial is a cross with the words ‘In Hoc Signo Vinces’ above it. This is a Latin rendering of the Greek phrase ?ν το?τ? ν?κα or ‘en touto nika’, meaning ‘in this sign you will conquer’. Legend holds that the Roman emperor Constantine I adopted this as his motto after his vision of a chi rho in the sky just before the Battle of Milvian Bridge of 312AD in which he destroyed his enemy Maxentius. The battle inspired Constantine to become the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.

Also on the left side of the memorial are the records of two further family members:

• Mrs Catherine Ryan nee Finn died April 14th 1894 aged 38 years.

• Patrick William Finn, Doneraille Place, Tramore, died Aug. 30th 1966 aged 76 years. R.I.P.

JOHN FINN (1798-1881)

John Finn was born at Drummin on 27th May 1798. His birth coincided with the first days of the Rebellion in which his father served with the United Irishmen. Most of the action took place within the first four weeks of John’s life. By the time he was four months old, the rebellion was all but over and the leaders either dead or in prison. His father appears to have avoided gaol.

We know little of John’s early life save that it would have played out against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1805, the seven-year-old John Finn would have heard the news from Europe that Admiral Nelson had destroyed Napoleon’s fleet at Trafalgar. A decade later, the seventeen year old youth would have wondered about his future with news that the Duke of Wellington had defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Given that the Kavanaghs of St Mullins played such a prominent role in European warfare in the 18th century, there were no doubt plenty of opinions circulating about how the Iron Duke won the battle.


With Napoleon defeated and the advent of peace, an economic downturn followed, exacerbated by a series of potato blights. The landholders of St. Mullins struggled as much as any. In July 1822, Timothy Doyle of Grange in the parish of St Mullins wrote to William H Gregory, Under Secretary of Ireland, at Dublin Castle. In his letter he enclosed a memorial of landholders from the parish of St Mullins which was marked for the attention of the Marquis of Wellesley, older brother of the Iron Duke who was serving as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In the letter, Mr. Doyle and twenty-two fellow landowners from the parish requested an additional three months to submit payment of the county tax, or cess. This was a tax levied on their property by the Grand Jury to fund the payment of county officials and the building and maintenance of infrastructure, including roads. Doyle and his fellow parishioners explained they needed an extension because of ‘the distressed state of the inhabitants’. [13]

This was also the age of the tithes, arguably the most reviled tax of the early 19th century. Every farmer in Ireland, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike, was obliged to submit approximately one tenth of his or her annual produce to the Church of Ireland to pay for the upkeep of their local clergyman. Compiled between 1823 and 1837, the Tithe Applotment Books determined the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland. This tax was the main source of income for the parish clergy. The tithe traditionally took the form of corn, eggs and poultry. However, the Tithe Composition Act of 1823 enabled the clergy to demand the monetary equivalent for the produce. Such valuations were notoriously unjust, not least as the price of corn fell by almost 25% between 1820 and 1830. The 1823 Act also greatly increased the amount of land now liable to payment, extending its application to pasture, where previously they had been levied only on tillage.

The Tithe Applotment Books are a vital source for genealogical research for the pre-Famine period, particularly given the loss of the 1821-51 Census records. There is a manuscript book for almost every civil (Church of Ireland) parish in Ireland which provide the names of the occupiers of each townland, the amount of land they held and the sums due to be paid in tithes.

And so we learn that, in 1834, there were two households in ‘Drummin’ called Finn, namely William, the father of John, and Michael, who may have been his cousin. William was the larger landowner with three lots totaling 22 acres and 19 perches, for which he paid rent of £13-10-2. Michael had half as much – 11 acres and 38 perches, rented for £5-13-6. The land was all graded as 4th quality. William’s annual tithe was 14 shillings and eight pence, while Michael’s was 8 shillings and seven pence.

There had been resistance to the tithes in St. Mullins since at least November 1828 when the police were called in to disperse protestors. [14] The Finns must have been watching closely when the opening salvos of the so-called Tithe War were fired in Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny, in November 1830 with the seizure of a herd of cattle in lieu of payment. The following month, the Graiguenamanagh cattle were put on sale. Nobody stepped forward to buy them. The ‘no buyer’ concept fitted well with Daniel O’Connell’s campaign to achieve freedom through nonviolence.

It spread like wildfire throughout Leinster, with James Doyle, the Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, openly exhorting his flock to ensure ‘that their hatred of tithes [may] be as lasting as their love of justice’. ‘Can Ireland, the poorest nation in Europe, support the most affluent and luxurious priesthood which does not profess the religion of the people, nor minister the wants of the poor?’, he asked.

In 1831, John Finn of Grangeforth Parish in Carlow Barony was named as one of those who did not pay their tithes that year. [15] However, Grangeforth is just two miles from Tullow and this is unlikely to be the same John Finn unless, for some reason, he was farming over there while waiting to succeed his father at Drummond.

John Finn would have been about 32 years old when the first anti-tithe meetings began taking place across County Carlow, always under the attentive eye of the authorities. Over a thousand attended a meeting in Bagenalstown. Similar numbers turned out at Newtown, Slyguff, Lourm, Ballyellen and Borris. In May 1831, police opened fire at a fair in Castlepollard, killing seventeen people. A month later, the Yeomnary shot dead fourteen people at a tithe sale in Bunclody (Newtownbarry), Co. Wexford. Shortly before Christmas 1831, the tithe hurlers struck back, ambushing a police force near Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny, resulting in a further fifteen deaths. The meetings grew larger. Over 200,000 were reported to have attended one in Co. Cork, while 120,000 were clocked at one in Co. Longford. The government began to clamp down, imposing heavy fines and police sentences on those they deemed to be leading the campaign. Daniel O’Connell played cautiously throughout, condemning the tithes as unjust but urging that violence and intimidation would only serve to harm his greater campaign to repeal the Act of Union.


John Finn of Drummin was a married man by now, having wed Honor Murphy in 1825. Honor was the daughter of Garrett Murphy and Mary Doyle of Ballinalour, near St. Mullins. Traditionally known as ‘the town of the lepers’, the townland of Ballinalour had close associations with the Kavanaghs. [16] In 1765, Felix Kavanagh rented 728 acres of the townland from Thomas Kavanagh of Borris, which he then sub-let. It is thought that General Cloney’s ancestors were amongst his tenants.

In terms of the people he was friendly with at this time, John stood as a witness, alongside John Whitty, at the wedding of Martin Fitzhenry and Mary Fleming, which took place in St. Mullins on 26th February 1827. [17] John and Honor’s first child Judith was born in 1826. A second daughter Johanna followed in 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipation. They also had a son William, born on 8th March 1832, about whom no more is known.


At this point it is also worth drawing attention to two other Finn men living in the St. Mullins locality who must have been cousins, if not brothers, of John Finn. The first was James Finn (1817-1879) who, born at St. Mullin’s in 1817, emigrated to Newfoundland in 1841 or 1842 where he died in 1881. He could have been connected to Alice Finn of St. Mullins who was married in Newfoundland in 1813. The second was William Finn, also of St. Mullins, who emigrated to Boston in the early 1840’s. Establishing how these two men relate to the Finn’s of Drummond is likely to be an ongoing process with slim chance of success but the fact they were both amongst the hundreds of thousands of Irishmen who crossed the Atlantic in the 1840s is certainly worth noting. Some details of James Finn’s descendants can be found in the appendix.


Whether he paid his tithes or not, John Finn seems to have emerged from it all with the reputation of a responsible citizen, someone whose opinion the authorities valued. An extract from the 1831 census, published in the Freeman’s Journal on October 14, 1834, states that the parish of St. Mullins had 206 houses scattered across its eight townlands in 1831. All 1,277 inhabitants were registered as Catholics.

In 1836, John Finn, farmer, was one of twelve men from the St. Mullins community summoned to discuss the state of the area with the Irish Poor Law Commissioners. As well as four other farmers, the twelve men included the Catholic parish priests of Borris and St. Mullins, the Vicar of Clonagoose and the local constable, brewer and surgeon. The report of the Irish Poor Law Commissioners provides a particularly good insight into what life was like in St. Mullins during the 1830s for the poor and elderly. Bear in mind that John Finn’s mother Anne died in 1833 and his father William was a 77-year-old widower when the report was made.


Published in The Times, October 15th, 1836, p. 7.


Examinations taken by Captain White; T. Nugent Vaughan, Esq.


Persons who attended the Examination - James Byrne, farmer; Mr. Patrick Byrne, farmer; Robert Doyne, esq. J.P.; Mr John Finn, farmer; Mr Galavin, farmer; Captain Hugh Hawkshaw, constable of police; Rev. Mr. Kavenagh [sic], parish priest of St Mullins; Mr. Thomas Murphy, farmer; Rev. James Saunders, vicar of Clonagoose; Rev. Mr. Walsh, parish priest of Borris; Mr. George Whitney, brewer and farmer; John Wilcocks, esq. surgeon.

There are two periods of the year at which the great body of the labourers of the parish are nearly altogether thrown out of employment viz., from the 1st of December until the 20th of February; and in summer from the 1st of July till the 11th of August.

“At these times,” says Mr. Galavin, “were it not for the assistance of their friends and neighbours, they would often be reduced to one meal a day; even this degree of want is endured by some;” and Dr. Wilcocks has known three or four instances of it. There exists no fund to which they can appeal for assistance; and the consequence is that in many instances their wives and children have recourse to begging in order to find subsistence. They never beg in their own neighbourhood, but always at a distance; whilst people in similar circumstances resort to St. Mullins from other places. Prostitution, however, has not at any time been observed as a result of a state of destitution; nor have men been known to desert their families, though suffering under the most extreme want.

“A man”, observes Dr. Wilcocks, “who left his wife and four children in the adjoining barony of Borris, and who was thought to have absconded altogether, returned lately, after an absence of two months, during which, it appears, he had been successful in finding employment elsewhere.”

No one has ever been known to have committed a crime for the mere purpose of being sent to gaol for subsistence; but instances are not wanting where great distress has driven poor people to steal potatoes and other provisions. Dr. Wilcocks is induced, from what he has heard, to think the practice very frequent; and the Rev. Mr. Saunders states, “I have at the present moment a man in my employment who robbed me of potatoes, four or five yeare ago, when labouring under sheer privation, for which reason I did not prosecute him.” Outrages on the person, however, have never been traced to necessity.

When labourers are out of employment, they very frequently supply their immediate wants by getting provisions on credit, which they obtain by binding themselves to pay more for them than the market price at the time of the transaction. The usual difference is 1/2d. in the stone of potatoes, and about 2s. 6d. in the cwt. of meal. In the country the lenders of potatoes are generally the masters of the labourer; but meal it is customary to procure from the hucksters on the security of their employers. The debt in which the working man must necessarily involve himself under these circumstances is not so ruinous as might be supposed, as he has in most instances a pig, which enables him to discharge it; but he never could do so out of his wages.

Mr. Kavanagh is the only gentleman who employs more men than he requires, through a desire of relieving distress; this he does to the extent of nearly 20 workmen. A labour- rate has never been in operation. The ordinary rate of wages in the parish is l0d. a day without diet, or 6d. a day with two meals of potatoes; in harvest time, and when potatoes are being dug, 8d., also with diet.

The average number of days, according to Mr. Whitney, that a man is employed during the week, does not exceed four. It is unnecessary to add, that from these moderate earnings no man who has a family can lay by anything.


There are about 25 destitute persons in the parish, who are infirm through age; the most general period of life at which they became incapable of supporting themselves by labour having been at the age of 65. The proportion of 25 to 6,452, the number of population in 1831, is as one to 258. All these poor old people live with their relations, and none are supported either by the gentry or by collections made at places of religious worship, or by their neighbours or by begging.

The maintenance of the old and the feeble usually devolves, as a matter of course, on their nearest relations; and the claims of kindred are considered to extend in this way as far as to the second cousin. The heads of families in all instances look upon the support they derive from their children as a debt due to them, as proper possessors of the land, which they have surrendered to the latter; and in order to diminish the burthen which they would otherwise be on the industry of their offspring, it is customary with them, instead of remaining with any one child, to stay for a month at a time at the house of each, in order that they may not “wear out their welcome” in any.

In this manner their maintenance presses moderately on all, and is never the cause of complaints or ill feeling. Of those who do not continue to reside with their relations few live amongst their neighbours, getting their breakfast in one place and their dinner in another; but none of them derive any assistance from subscriptions made among the unmarried labourers, whose wages would not admit of such aid; and there is but a single instance where an old person has received a remittance from their friends who had emigrated; and this was a poor woman who inherited 6l (ie £6) and a watch on the death of her son, and obtained them safely from America. Those who are not maintained in either of the two preceding ways go about the neighbourhood with wallets, and endeavour to collect as much food as supplies their wants. The disinclination, however, to adopt this last resource is very great. It is looked upon as disgraceful, and severe and protracted privation often precedes it.

There are no gentry resident in the parish, and only three poor persons are maintained by the proprietors of the soil, of which the greater portion belongs to one individual, who resides in the adjoining barony. Money is not collected at any place of public worship, nor is there any almshouse in the parish.

The witnesses unanimously express a conviction that it would be quite impossible for a labouring man, in consequence of the lowness of wages, to make any provision during his youth against the wants of old age. But notwithstanding this declared opinion, there were some who, when consulted as to their sentiments on the propriety of some legal provision for the old, completely lost their temper “at the contemplation of a possible tax and vowed that they never would contribute either to a poor rate or any other rate”.

The second part of the above text comes from ‘Selection of parochial examinations relative to the destitute classes in Ireland: from the evidence received by His Majesty’s Commissioners for Enquiring into the condition of the Poorer Classes in Ireland ; by authority of Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Condition of the Poorer Classes in Ireland (Great Britain), p. 142-143. (Milliken, 1835; Google eBook)



Necessity may not have been the cause of deliberate brutality, as the Poor Law Commissioners claimed, but St. Mullins still had its share of violence. In October 1836, The Times published a Carlow Sentinel report on two Bahana men called John and Michael Cullen who had ‘inhumanly beat and kicked a woman named Catherine Byrne, who was in an advanced state of pregnancy, in such a manner as to cause her death.’ [19]

Just over two years later, St. Mullins was stunned by another savage murder when two policemen called Walsh and Galvin were attacked on their way home to their station at Glynn from the petty sessions in Borris. The two policemen had stopped for a refreshment in a public house near Clashganny where their assailants were also drinking. They were subsequently ambushed as they passed through Skaugh and so badly beaten up that Walsh died that evening while Galvin, hurled over a precipice and left for dead, was still clinging onto life when the story broke in the Kilkenny Moderator. Two members of the Kavanagh family were subsequently arrested and ‘committed to the county gaol by Mr. Charles H. Tuckey, resident’. [20]


Tragedy struck the Finn family in 1837 with the death at Drummond of John’s wife Honor at the age of 37. It seems likely she died during childbirth. She was survived by at least three children, the oldest of whom was only ten. John did not hang about. He was married secondly in St. Mullins later that same year to the considerably younger Bridget Walsh, daughter of Martin Walsh and Mary Deegan of Newtown, Borris. [21] John and Bridget would have at least nine children, who we will return to presently.


On 29 March 1837, ‘John Finn’ of Drumin / Drummin was registered as a £10 voter. 22 This enabled him to cast a vote in the by-election that followed on from the death of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris, a Protestant convert and major landowner who had been the sitting MP for Carlow. Perhaps John Finn was amongst the 10,000 mourners who are said to have attended Mr. Kavanagh’s funeral in February 1837. In the ensuing election, Nicholas Alward Vigors, a Liberal politician, defeated the Tory candidate Thomas Bunbury of Lisnavagh to secure the seat.

The 1837 election marked the start of a period known locally as the Reign of Terror in which politics became a dangerous game. In November 1840, for instance, the Carlow Sentinel reported on ‘one of the most daring outrages that was ever committed in violation of the freedom of election’ which had taken place at St. Mullins. The event ‘incontrovertibly establishes the fact that the ruffian agitators are past hors de combat, and have now no hope of success but through the agency of fraud, intimidation, and lawless violence.’ The story ran that on Thursday evening, a priest led a mob of 1,200 men into the barony of St. Mullins, entered the houses of 30 electors, dragged them out, and forcibly carried them away to Graiguenamanagh, where they were ‘detained by force, and thus set the law of the land at open defiance.’ [23]

We don’t know what John Finn made of it all but he was one of 140 voters in the barony of St. Mullins entitled to voted in 1841 election when the Conservative candidates Henry Bruen of Oak Park and Thomas Bunbury took on Daniel O’Connell’s son John O’Connell and John Ashton Yates. St. Mullins, a stronghold of the Conservative franchise, formed one of the main stages upon which the election contest played out. In June 1841, The Times scorned the manner in which ‘the most Satanic denunciations [had been] hurled against all who are not prepared to sell themselves, body and soul, to Mr. Daniel O’Connell’.24 The newspaper drew particular attention to a placard addressed to the electors of Carlow with ballad entitled “Black Sheep - Voters of St. ‘Mullins”, which begins-

“The sheep of St. Mullins are penn’d in the fold,
They are false to the faith of their fathers of old,
For beef and for bread they their liberty sell,
And their foul perjured votes are recorded in hell.”

And it ends-

“A curse on the traitors-a curse on their souls!
A curse on the black blood that in each vein rolls-
A curse on each limb-a deep curse on each head-
A curse on them living-a curse on them dead”.

In June 1841, John O’Connell, ‘accompanied by a retinue of priests and agitators’, made his inaugural attempt to win the votes of the people of St. Mullins. The Times of London applauded the manner in which ‘the Roman Catholic tenantry on that estate, a wealthy, brave, and intelligent race, feudally attached by ancient ties and customs to the family of Kavanagh, in whom the property of the land almost exclusively resides, received him very coldly ; and though he commenced his harangue at the head of an imposing force of bludgeonmen from the county of Kilkenny, he made no impression’. O’Connell was accompanied by the enigmatic ‘Honest Tom’ Steele. The latter nearly caused a brawl when he took objection to a series of cheers for Bunbury and Bruen by an anti-Repeal faction who showed up. [25]

There were many reports of undecided Catholic free-holders being attacked by the Repealers, of men dragged from Mass and beaten up, of abduction and indoctrination. In one instance, 120 voters were apparently captured, tied on carts, covered in straw and thrown on to a barge bound for Kilkenny. The police looked aside as these unfortunates were then locked away in an old Brewery until after the election had finished. Similarly ‘Silkey Charley’ Doyne, who would later cause Pat Finn such hardship at Bauck, is said to have imprisoned a number of St. Mullins freeholders in Borris House. [26]

On election day, the 12th July, John O’Connell organized a mass march of some 50,000 pike-waving Kilkenny supporters on Carlow Town. Both The Kilkenny Moderator and The Carlow Sentinel alleged that the purpose of this march was to intimidate and coerce potential Tory voters, ransack the Bruen’s home at Oak Park and burn and loot Carlow. An O’Connellite billboard poster of the day read:

Do they know what Bruen and his party call the people of Ireland? They call the Catholic people “SAVAGES”. They call the venerable and anointed Catholic priesthood “SURPLICED RUFFIANS” and “DEMON PRIESTHOOD”. They call the Catholic religion “AN ABJECT SUPERSTITION” and “VILE IDOLATRY”.

Daniel O’Connell arrived in Carlow at this time and, either losing his nerve or fearing that the mob was out of hand, warned the authorities in Carlow that he could no longer be responsible for the safety of the town. He and Tom Steele joined police in disarming the pikemen from 6am onwards. Colonel Jackson meanwhile organized the troops while the Constabulary took possession of the Court. The 6th Dragoon Guards and half a troop of Artillery were summoned forth with a 12 Pounder, while other detachments of red-coated Lancers and Hussars lined the main street and blocked off the Court House. As the evening came, so the crowds retired slowly and sullenly from the town “which would, in all probability, have been sacked but for the vigilance of the public authorities”.

The story goes that William Francis Finn - no relation to the Drummond Finns that we know of but O’Connell’s brother-in-law and Repeal M.P. for County Kilkenny from 1832-37 - was so confident of victory that he built a Ballroom at his home, Evergreen Lodge, in Cox’s Lane, for the Repealers to celebrate. However, it was ultimately Bruen and Bunbury’s supporters who had the last dance when Bruen and Bunbury emerged victorious. The Barony of St. Mullins was sharply divided; 20 voted for O’Connell and Yates, 18 for Bruen and Bunbury. In 1845, some of those who voted against the Conservatives found themselves in hot water when a middleman who held the farm at Marley in St. Mullins on behalf of the Kavanaghs evicted 70 tenants, including fourteen who had opposed the landlord interest at the previous election. [27]


Griffith’s Primary Valuation of County Carlow took place circa 1851/52, and included John Finn and Michael Finn, both of ‘Drummin’, as well as a Patrick Finn of Tinnahinch. Michael Finn is presumed to be a cousin of John and was probably the same man registered in the Tithe Applotment books of fifteen years earlier. A list of Carlow county land owners from circa 1875 compiled by Michael Purcell includes a Michael Finn of Carlow who weighs in with 234 acres.

Griffith’s also refers to a John Finn who held land at Bauck, a townland adjacent to Drummin and St. Mullins on the Carlow/Kilkenny border. This is the same man as John Finn of Drummin.28 We know this from a document in the Finn Archives entitled ‘A Brief on Behalf of Tenant’ which was submitted to Bagenalstown Sub-Commission Court by his son P. W. Finn, probably in 1884. In this document, P.W. Finn says his father acquired the land at Bauck in about 1850 or 1851 which he rented from Robert Doyne for £11 a year. John Finn and Robert Doyne had known each other since at least 1836 when they were amongst the twelve men representing St. Mullins who were examined by the Poor Law Commissioners. John went to considerable effort to clear the land at Bauck of stones, and to drain it, but only ever managed to till four acres of it. P.W. Finn took over the land in 1875 but would find his own efforts to improve the land hampered by circumstance.

The Finn Archives include a receipt from the New Ross Union which was paid by John Finn, via the Glynn Electoral Division on 4th June 1856. There is also a harsh ‘Notice to Quit’ from 1864 urging a tenant in Clonleigh, County Wexford, to pay the rent due or suffer the consequences. The letter appears to have been written by Mr. Waller but is hard to decipher. There is a possibility that the notice may have been either delivered or collected from the offending tenant’s wife by John Finn.


John Finn, whose childhood must have been dominated by the recollections of ’98 around the firesides of St. Mullins, lived long enough to see the Land League declared an illegal association and Charles Stewart Parnell flung in gaol. He died on 30th November 1881 aged 83. His widow Bridget survived him by an impressive 44 years before her death in 1925. John’s memorial at St. Mullins reads as follows:

‘Sacred to the memory of John Finn of Dromond. Parish of St. Mullins, Born May 27th 1798. Died November 30th 1881.

Here also lie interred the remains of Anne Finn alias Cody mother of the above John Finn died December 1833 aged 80 years.

Pray for Thomas E. Finn died 9th April 1960.

P.W. Finn died Jan. 1903. His wife Brigid Finn died 1925.

His children William J. Anna, Mary Ellen, Brigid, John & Martin.

May they rest in Peace.’

[This spelling of Drummond as ‘Dromond’ appears to be a once-off]


On one side of a cross at St. Mullins dedicated to William and Anne Finn, it lists four of their grandchildren who died prematurely, including Johanna Murphy who died in April 1859 aged 30. Johanna is assumed to be John and Honor Finn’s daughter who was married in St Mullins in 1853 to Richard Murphy of Dranagh (or Drannagh). [29] This mountain spur, located between Glynn and St Mullins, is where Captain Freny’s treasure is said to have been buried. Richard’s father William Murphy is presumed to have been a cousin of Honor Finn. Richard’s mother’s name is unknown. Johanna and Richard Murphy had four known children before Judith’s premature death in 1859. Like her mother before her, it seems she probably died during child birth. Her oldest son Matthew was born on 26th January 1854, followed by two more sons, James and John, in 1855 and 1856 respectively.

In 1858, Johanna gave birth to a daughter in Dranagh called Catherine Murphy. Just over two decades later, Catherine was married in St. Mullins on 25th February 1879 to Thomas Rourke, son of James Rourke, who may also have been from Dranagh. The Rourkes had just one daughter Joan, born in 1879, before Catherine’s untimely death aged 22 on 25th October 1880. Like both her mother and her grandmother Honor, as well as her mother’s half-sister Catherine Ryan (who died in 1894), young Catherine probably succumbed during childbirth. It is certainly notable that all four women were of a child-bearing age when they perished. John Murphy (1856-1952), the youngest son of Judith and Richard Murphy, died at Dranagh aged 96.


As well as at least three children by his first marriage to Honor Murphy, John Finn had nine with his second wife, Bridget Walsh. The children were almost certainly baptized in a Roman Catholic chapel recorded at Drummond in ‘The Catholic Directory, Ecclesiastical Register, and Almanac’ of 1838. The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland (1844) estimated the congregation of this chapel to be 700. The children were also presumably educated at the small Catholic school in Drummond which, for the year ending 31st December 1862, recorded 160 pupils taught by headmaster Thomas Murray and his work-mistress and assistant Bridget Murphy. [30]

Only two of John and Bridget’s children appear to have had children themselves, namely their second son Patrick W. Finn, who succeeded to Drummond, and their youngest daughter Catherine. It is possible that at least four of the other siblings also had children as we do not yet know what became of them or when they died.

To tackle these children in chronological order, the eldest was Michael Finn who was born at Drummond in 1839, the year in which Ireland was subjected to the infamous Night of the Big Wind. This was the most devastating storm ever recorded in Irish history and reputedly made more people homeless in a single night than all the sorry decades of eviction that followed it. It knocked a pinnacle off Carlow Cathedral and a tower off Carlow Castle. A mile of the wall surrounding Colonel Bruen’s demesne at Oak Park was levelled. Michael is thought to be the ‘grandson Michael Finn’ who died on 4th April 1846, perhaps in connection with the famine, and who is named on the St. Mullins tombstone of Martin Walsh of Newtown. [31]

John and Bridget Finn’s eldest daughter Mary was born at Drummond in 1841. She married a Mr. Bolger but died in April 1866 aged 25. She is recalled on her grandparents cross in St. Mullins. [32]

We will return to the second son Patrick W. Finn, known as Pat, in due course as he is central to this family history. Suffice it to say, he was born in Drummond in 1843 and married Brigid Doyle with whom he had ten children before his death in 1903. [33]

John and Bridget’s second daughter Mary Anne was also apparently born in 1843 so she was either Patrick’s twin or the Finn’s had ‘Irish twins’ with one born at the start of the year and the other at the end.

John and Bridget’s third son Thomas was born in Drummond in 1847, the worst year of the Irish Famine. He died in Drummond in May 1868 aged 21 and is recalled on his grandparents cross in St. Mullins. [34] This may have been from some form of contagious illness as his death came within a month of his younger sister Bridget who was born in 1851. She died aged eighteen and is also recalled on her grandparents cross in St. Mullins. [35]

After Thomas came three more daughters – Ellen, born in 1849 about whom we know no more; Bridget, mentioned above, who died in April 1868; and Catherine who was born in Drummond in 1852 and to whom we will return presently.

The final children were two sons – John Finn, born in 1856, about whom we know no more; and Martin Finn who was born in Drummond in 1858 and died in Drummond in 1917, aged 59. Martin does not appear to have been living in Ireland at the time of the 1911 census.

CATHERINE RYAN (1852-1894)

John and Bridget Finn’s youngest daughter Catherine was born in Drummond in 1852. In 1878, the 26-year-old was married in St. Mullins to James Ryan (1844-1920), son of James Ryan and Mary Nowlan (or Nolan) of Drummond. [36] Catherine had ten children before her death on 14th April 1894 aged 42. [37] Her death may have been a consequence of childbirth as her youngest son Patrick was born that same year.

James Ryan died in Drummond aged 76 on 22nd August 1920. At the time of the 1911 census, 58-year-old James was living in Drummond with his eldest sons James (born c. 1881) and Michael (born 1885), as well as his daughter Bridget (born c. 1892) and a servant called James Power.

Everyone in the house spoke both English and Irish and could read and write. It is not clear what had become of the Ryan’s other children. Their eldest daughter Elenor, who was born in 1884, is not mentioned on the 1901 or 1911 censuses. Three more sons, namely Laurence (born 1886), William (born 1890) and Patrick (born 1894) appear to have vanished by the 1911 census.

James and Catherine Ryan’s second son Michael was born in Drummond in 1885, married Ellen Murphy and had eleven children. Ellen was born in Dranagh in 1904, making her nearly two decades younger than him. She was a daughter of Michael and Mary Murphy of Dranagh who died in 1949 and 1952 respectively. The Murphys have a headstone in St. Mullins which reads as follows:

‘In loving memory of Michael Murphy, Dranagh, died 23rd Nov. 1949 aged 82 years.
His wife Mary Murphy died 12th April 1952, aged 81 years.
Their daughter-in-law Catherine Murphy died 21st June 1967, aged 43 years. R.I.P.
S/C: Walshe, Carlow.’ [38]

Michael Ryan died in Drummond on 16th April 1966 aged 80 and his widow Ellen died in Drummond aged 77 on 27th May 1981. [39] Michael and Ellen’s eleven children were:

1. Thomas Ryan, born in Drummond, married in St. Mullins in 1954 to Catherine Doyle of Coolehune / Coolyhune.

2. Matthew Ryan, born in Drummond, married in St. Mullins in 1976 to Bridget Ryan of Turra.

3. William Ryan, born in Drummond, married Alice Nolan of Ballinteskin.

4. John Ryan, born in Drummond, married Eileen Lennon.

5. Catherine Ryan, born in Drummond, married in 1961 in St. Mullins to Patrick Dillon.

6. James Ryan.

7. Laurence Ryan.

8. Michael Ryan, born in Drummond, married Mary Somers (Summers?) of Ballindoney.

9. Patrick Ryan.

10. Mary Ryan.

11. Garrett Ryan.

James and Catherine Ryan’s fourth son Thomas was born in Drummond in 1887. He was married in 1926 to Catherine ‘Katie’ Gladney, one of fourteen children born to the Glynn miller Richard Gladney and his wife Annie (nee Ryan). Both her parents had died a few years before the wedding. Thomas Ryan died in the USA on 17th July 1952, aged 64, and is buried in St. Mullins.40 Catherine is also said to have died in the USA.

According to a tombstone erected in St. Mullins by her younger sister, Mary Anne (or Marian), two of her brothers died in America, including Thomas who is described as a 14-year-old wool weaver on the 1911 census. [41]

There is some confusion about James and Catherine Ryan’s daughter Bridget. The family tree says she was born in Drummond in 1889 which roughly tallies with her given age of 11 at the time of the 1901 census and 20 on the 1911 census. However, a headstone erected in St. Mullins by her husband James O’Neill of Ballindonney pushes her date of birth back to 1881. James was a son of John O’Neill and Johanna Byrne and the headstone reads as follows:

‘Erected by James O’Neill Ballindonney in memory of his parents John and Johanna O’Neill. His brother John, and his aunt Margaret Ryan, Bahana. The above James O’Neill died 12th Feb. 1966, aged 88 yrs. Also his wife Bridget O’Neill died 22nd Dec. 1975 aged 94 yrs. R.I.P. S/C: Brennan, Bagenalstown.’

As for James and Catherine Ryan’s son John, he was born in Drummond in 1892 and clocked as an eight year old on the 1901 census. He is not obviously found on the 1911 census but we know that he died in Drummond on 11th February 1954 aged 60 and that he was buried in St. Mullins. [42]

PATRICK W. FINN (1843-1903)

Patrick W. Finn, variously known as ‘Pat’ and ‘P.W.’, was the second son of John and Bridget Finn. Born in Drummond in 1843, he became his father’s heir when his older brother Michael died three years later. 1846 was also the year in which his grandfather William Finn, the old rebel of ’98, passed away. We know nothing of Pat’s childhood years save that these were harsh times. In the spring of 1868, for instance, the 25-year-old lost two younger siblings in quick succession. His younger sister Mary Bolger had died two years earlier.

By 1871, Pat had turned his attention to forestry. He went to London and walked around the woods of Windsor Park, marvelling at the Apple, Hawthorn, Hickory, Lime, Locust, Maple, Mountain Ash and American Walnut trees. He even entered into correspondence with Windsor, challenging them over the naming and spelling of a Picea Pinsapo near Adelaide Cottage. That same year, he paid his subscription to become a 3rd class member of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society who duly recorded him as ‘Forester of Borris House’. The Finn Archives include the following notice signed by P. W. Finn in July 1871.

“I propose and agree to pay to Arthur Kavanagh, Esq, MP, the sum of te shillings 10/- per ton for the oak pitwood at Ullard and Ballykeenan woods, crosscut into lengths nine feet & six [?] feet six inches long each, not more than twelve inches diameter in largest and not less than three inches in smallest [?], the same being put out to the trade in woods easy of access by car or carts. I also agree to pay all expenses of [*** ?] removal, weighing & c. of said pitwood, and to pay cash for same before removal off the premises, and I engaged to have all the said pitwood removed off said premises on or before the first day of September next. Dated at Inistioge July [?]d 1871.’

These presumably account for various receipts in the Finn archives dated 1872 from the Barrow Navigation Office, signed by Arthur Kavanagh himself. Pat includes his own invoices, such as £2.10 for work done in Bahana Wood in August 1872.

Over the next three decades, Pat Finn appears to have worked closely with the Kavanaghs of Borris, operating as a forester in the woods of the Barrow Valley. On one invoice from T. Smith, timber merchant, of Waterford, dated May 18th (year unknown), he oversaw the sale of over £970 worth of larch and Scotch fir on behalf of his main benefactor or employer - Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh.


Mr. Kavanagh, who was twelve years Pat’s senior, was one of the most remarkable Irishmen to live during the Victorian Age. Despite being born without arms or legs, ‘The Incredible Mr. Kavanagh’, as he was known, had become an explorer of considerable renown in his younger years. In 1866, he was elected MP for Wexford and he remained a key figure in the Irish Unionist party until 1880, emerging as its effective leader at a time when Sir Isaac Butt’s Home Rule Party was in the ascendance. In Westminster, Arthur frequently spoke on tax, nautical laws and reform of both the Irish railway system and the Royal Irish Constabulary. But land was his foremost interest. He passionately supported the landlord system whilst simultaneously decrying absenteeism and the eviction culture that would bring Parnell and the Land League to power. Whenever Parliament met, the bearded adventurer sailed Lady Eva, his two-masted schooner, down the River Barrow from New Ross, across the Irish Sea and up the Thames where he moored it directly opposite the House of Commons. A servant then rowed him across the river, wheeled him into the House and carried him to his seat.

The Finn Archives include several documents from 1871 which were sent to Pat Finn by Mr. Kavanagh. There were variously signed or initialled by Arthur Kavanagh. Some were written on headed paper from the House of Commons in London. Others come from Ashley Clinton, near Lymington, in Hampshire, where Arthur stayed as a guest of the Clinton family.

It must have been astonishing for Pat Finn to work under such a man. When Arthur Kavanagh inherited the Kavanagh estates in 1853, they were in desperate condition on account of the ravages of famine and a succession crisis. But he quickly took control, placing himself in the role of manager, and turned the family finances around to such an extent that, by 1883, he owned nearly 30,000 acres near Borris, plus a further 10,000 acres at Ballyragget, worth approximately £8 million in today’s value. He also had a touch of the Victorian philanthropic. He sunk £20,000 into the improvement of his tenant’s holdings, offering them free timber to roof their houses from his new sawmill. In cold winters, he distributed beef and blankets around the parish. He rebuilt the villages of Borris and Ballyragget, for which designs he won a medal from the Royal Dublin Society. He helped his wife develop floriculture and lace-making to such an extent that Borris Lace found its way to wedding ceremonies as far away as Russia. He paid for the railway to come to Borris, spending a fortune on a mighty 16-arch granite viaduct that still stands today. A keen fisherman, Arthur kept a fishing lodge half a mile away from the Finn’s farmstead.


The surviving Finn archives tell us some useful trivia about the Finn family at this time. John Finn had at least three dogs in 1873 because there is a copy a dog licence issued to him on 31st March 1873 by the Clerk of the Borris Petty Sessions under the terms of the Dog Regulation (Ireland) Act 1865, a long-lasting Act that first introduced licences for dogs. Pat – or perhaps his father - kept an article on the growing of ‘Silesian Beet’ (ie: sugar beet). He smoked a pipe in which, it seems his tobacco of choice was Gallaher’s Two-Flakes, imported from Virginia.

The archives also include numerous receipts from this era are made to from James Devine, the Borris postmaster; E. Walsh & Son, leather store, in Waterford; T. Smith, the Waterford timber merchant; Richard Crean, tanner & wool merchant of Clonmel; Mrs B Finn for J.B. Hearn of New Ross; Richard Fennessy & Sons, Nursary & Seed Merchants, of 52 Quay, Waterford; Edward Phelan, draper, grocer and general merchant, Borris. One receipt from Eliza Byrne of Borris shows her to have been a Hotel, Drapery, Grocery, Wine, Spirit, Leather, Hardware, Ropes and Importer of Peruvian Guano and Seeds.


Pat appears to have been something of a ladies man in his younger years. This landed him in a spot of bother in 1873 when a Carlow farmer called Doyle took an action against him in the Waterford court, claiming Pat had seduced his sister. In their coverage of the case, The Irish Times noted that Mr. Finn was ‘in the employment of Mr. Kavanagh, of Borris, as a rent-warner’ (or bailiff) and that he apparently had ‘great influence in Carlow’. Mr. Finn did not deny the charge. [43]


In 1874, Pat acquired a new skill when he went to Cornwall to master the divining rod, an instrument held in high regard among Cornish miners. The Finn Archives include a document which reads: ‘I hereby certify that I have instructed Mr. P. W. Finn in the use of the Divining Rod for which he has paid me the sum of Twenty Pounds stlg. and that he possesses the Gift magnetically in the highest degree. The Divining Rod has been used for the discovery of Mineral by our family as miners for Generations. Dated July 13th 1874. Signed James Woody (miner), Cornwal, England.


The 1871 pitwood mission was evidently a success. Four years later, the Freeman’s Journal noted that ‘P. W. Finn’ of ‘St Mullins, Graigue, Co. Kilkenny’, was offering 300 tons of oak pitwood for sale at Bahana, County Carlow, all of it easily transportable on the River Barrow. [44] In May 1877, Pat was selling 400 tons of oak pitwood and 100 tons of larch ‘at Drummond Wood on the tidal river Barrow.’ [45] According to the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, he was still forester at Borris in 1875 and 1884, suggesting that he worked for Arthur for at least thirteen years. [46]

The summer of 1877 was one of the worst in living memory. Relentless rain throughout August destroyed the oat crops and left potatoes rotting in the ground all across Ireland. The harvest of 1878 was also poor while that of 1879 was the worst since the Great Famine. Indeed, 1879 was the coldest and wettest year since records began. It rained for 125 days in the six months between March and September, or two out of every three days. By the close of 1879, the Irish peasantry had been stirred into action, aghast at reports of widespread evictions of small tenant farmers who owed perhaps two or three years rent. The Irish National Land League was formed in October 1879 ‘to put an end to Rack-renting, Eviction and Landlord Oppression’. In the elections of April 1880, the Liberals under William Ewart Gladstone annihilated the Conservatives to take the reins of government.


On 10th November 1875, Pat became the principal beneficiary when his elderly father transferred to him the lease for life he had secured from the Kavanaghs in 1841. As well as the lands at Drummin, this also included the lands at Bauck which were held from Charles Doyne under a year-to-year tenancy. In recompense for the land transfer, Pat’s brother Martin was paid £200 while John Finn and his wife Bridget were “guaranteed lodging at Drummond House for the remainder of their days”.


In the summer of 1879, Pat Finn married Brigid (Bridget) Doyle. The marriage settlement, dated 2nd July 1879, put everything in trust for Pat and Bridget which, as Bill Finn of Toronto observed, was “an important development for subsequent disposition of the property when Patrick William [ie: Pat] died on January 23, 1903”. William John Finn, the first of their ten children, was born at Drummond in 1880. One hopes that old John Finn found some time to bond with his baby grandson before he passed away in his 83rd year in 1881. Pat and Bridget lost a baby daughter called Margaret in 1882.


1881 was also the year that Gladstone’s Land Act was passed. As far as P. W. Finn was concerned, one imagines the greatest impact of the Land Act was the widespread clearance of forests by landlords who, on the cusp of loosing their estates to their tenantry, were cashing in on their timber crops. This added to over 45,000 acres of Irish forestry that had been felled between 1841 and 1881.47 Likewise, the new tenant farmers, eager to make some much-needed money, cleared much of the remaining forests in order to make way for tillage and grazing.


In about 1884, Pat wrote to the Bagenalstown Sub-Commission Court to express his unhappiness at the way in which his efforts to improve the land at Bauck had not been suitably acknowledged by the landlord Charles Mervyn Doyne (d. 1924). Mr Doyne lived in County Wexford on the 3,203 acre Wells estate near Gorey which he inherited in 1870. His wife Lady Frances Fitzwilliam was the eldest daughter of the fabulously wealthy Fitzwilliam family who, as well as owning a substantial chunk of Yorkshire, owned a house and 90,000 acres at Coollattin, north of Gorey. The document is undated but I am confident that the Sub-Commission Court was held in Bagenalstown in June 1884. I have transcribed the document as best I can below.


‘I became the tenant in 1875 by transfer from my late father who held as tenant from year to year, his tenancy commenced about 1850 or 1851 – I do not remember his coming into possession – Charles Doyne the agent for Borris Estate was the landlord by purchase. My father took the farm originally at £11 a year. It was subsequently raised to the present rent because a man named Dalton, an excise man, offered that sum for the piece as well as the remainder of the townland, part of which he rented from Mr. Doyne. … There were a lot of improvements done by my father previous to the rise in the rent, on the way of clearing off stones and industries – and a main and submain drain which being over 20 years do not count [?] now … Ma [?] ordnance map, and not having any interest in the land at the present and left it in save about 4 acres of tillage land which he always ma****ed well in tilling, and cleared off stones from time to time. I have no record of amount expended by him, nor die he I believe keep any such a/c himself – I have always mannered [?] well and when tilling this land treated as well as possible. When I became tenant I applied for a reduction in rent and had the agent visit the land – when he said they would not reduce the rent, did not like reducing the rental, but would improve the land up to the next, and as it was the only thing I could do I agreed, remaking I would rather pay £2 per acre for good land than 5/ for bad land. I commenced the improvements by getting rid of 3 acres of furze, removing stones by blasting & general clearing, facing the estate fences – 41 Irish perches – got the 3 acres formerly of furze under cultivation - & had to return and never charge in my a/c for horse work or explosives 50lb [**] of which I used.

It was intended to fall a certain time if improvements by removing all useless fences and dividing theholding into 4 fields, then drain and break up the subsoil. As the thing is [?], the money expended is of very little use, the original design not being carried out and the work abandoned, the landlord having withdrawn the allowances – and before this farm can be tilled, the original design must be carried out by some further blasting, drainage, subsoiling. That being so, and the seasons having become wet so as to particularly affect the bogs, I again applied for a reduction, and after a time the landlord and agent visited the holding, and offered it to me at £12 per year –I considered this fat too high and refused – and after some correspondence it was agreed to leave it to arbitration to fix the fair rent, Mr Butler [?] being appointed by the agent. [It to] have a value on my part to meet Mr Butler who, when he did come, refused to act as arbitrator, saying he was not so instructed and so the present course was the only one open to me.

There is only four acres of tillage land on the farm and this was always well cared and manned [?] off the other farm I hold – which is near this – the remainder of the holding id Cutaway bog – the 3 acres I reclaimed by landlord’s assistance is now nearly back to its original state - I keep a dairy and if I left the cows on those bogs two days the butter off them would be so white as to be unsaleable. They are also dangerous to cattle, having lost a cow - value £24 – there two years ago ... [given?] stock do not thrive on it, I use it of late years mostly as a summer run for horses and nothing [illegible words] there being no grass.

I got no allowance of any kind since the improvements were abandoned, tho I believe it was common thro all Ireland to give some per centage in cases of a [**ck **d] – and had to pay 3 years rent together last Dec – under a threat – I would settle at any time with the agent if I got the rule of Borris estate 1/4 the valuation – the rule in wet land like this, no percentage or allowance when a settlement is made.

I have no thorough account of outlay or expense, having lost those papers, think its abt £48 – he could visit the agent to prove it.

Bauck is 5 miles from Graigue & 6 from Ross. Poor rate 2/5 m. £ Co.

Cess average £2/ a year.


Pat had taken on the land at Bauck in 1875 and he presumably took ownership of the farm at Drummond after his father’s death in 1881. He also appears to have continued working at Borris during this period. Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh had lost his parliamentary seat at the 1880 election. The voters, his tenantry included, understandably saw Home Rule as the first real chance for them to become landowners in their own right.

In 1883, Timothy Healy, a farmer-friendly nationalist politician and future Governor General, was making ‘seditious and inflammatory speeches’ in St. Mullins against landlordism. Ultimately this earned him a four month spell in jail alongside Davitt and Quinn.

The 1880 election result severely weakened Arthur’s zest for life. However, he did receive some bounce back when Gladstone, ostensibly his political enemy, appointed him to the Bessborough Commission to review Irish lad situation. He was also sworn onto the Irish Privy Council and served as Lord Lieutenant of Carlow.

On Christmas Day 1889, the 58-year-old workaholic succumbed to an attack of pneumonia at his London town house. At his request, his family sang Christmas carols as he slipped away. He was buried in the ruined church on Ballycopigan, a wooded hill in the demesne of Borris.

The Finn archives include a valuation of P.W. Finn’s land at Dromond [sic] from on 9th April 1889, which appears to conclude that 73 acres has a gross value of £34-9-3 which, once he’d deducted the costs of repairs and damages, left him with £25-8-3.


1894 was the year in which Pat’s sister Catherine Murphy died aged 38 and the Barrow Navigation Company sold out to the Grand Canal Company. It was also a year in which P.W. Finn of Drummond was asked to assess the damages incurred to his late sister by Philip Kelly which can be found on page 18 of The Irish Law Times and Solicitors’ Journal, Volume 28 (J. Falconer, 1894). [48]


In 1910, Gerald E. H. Barrett-Hamilton, author of ‘A History of British Mammals - Volume 1’ noted on page 90 how ‘Mr P. W. Finn sent me one taken from a hole in a barn in Carlow’. The author was referring to one of the lesser-spotted Leisler’s Bats.


In 1898, Pat was amongst those who attended a monster meeting commemorating the 1798 Rebellion in St. Mullins at which event funds were raised to decorate and maintain the graves of the St. Mullins rebels, including his grandfather William. He was one of those who supported the creation of a memorial to the men of 1798 and he contributed substantially to the fund.

However, there was considerable heartache for Pat and Bridget less than two years later with the deaths at Drummond of two of their children, namely William John Finn, their 20-year-old firstborn child, and fifteen-year-old Anna. Perhaps this double blow in 1900 was some form of contagious disease such as a cholera outbreak? For Pat, the events must have sparked horrible memories of 1868 when he lost two siblings in equally quick succession. The two youngsters were buried alongside their grandfather in St. Mullins. [49] Another of their children may have died soon afterwards – John Finn, who was born in Drummond in 1897 and recorded as a three-year-old on the 1901 census was certainly buried alongside them. [50] It is not clear when he died but he is not listed on the 1911 census.


At the time of the 1901 census, there were 82 Finns listed in County Carlow, fifteen of whom were living in the townland of Glynn. Patrick W Finn was 57 years old and described himself as a ‘farmer and servant’. He was living at ‘Drummin’ with his 45-year-old wife Bridget, and eight of their children, as well as a married, 35-year-old farm servant Luke Haloran. All eight children were under the age of 18, being three girls (Mary Ellen, Bridget and Margaret Mary) and five boys (Thomas, Patrick, Edward, John and Martin).

In January 1903, sixty-year-old Patrick W. Finn died at Drummond. He was buried in the same grave in St Mullins where his children, father and grandfather lay. [51] That same year, the Department of Agriculture converted Charles Stewart Parnell’s birthplace at Avondale House, County Wicklow, into a training center for forestry, paving the way for the establishment of the Irish Forestry Committee in 1907.

In 1911, Pat’s 52-year-old widow Bridget (Brigid) was still residing at Drummin with five of their sons and two daughters. Bridget, who died in 1925, is recorded as a farmer who can read and write. Amongst those children living with her was her eldest surviving daughter Mary Ellen Finn who, according to the census, was 27 years old at this time. Tragically, Mary Ellen died at Drummond later that year and was buried alongside her father, grandfather and older brother in St. Mullins. [52]

Patrick and Bridget’s daughter Brigid / Bridget does not appear on the 1911 census. Born in Drummond in 1884, it is said that she was married in 1921, during the Irish War of Independence, to Patrick O’Keefe of Mountlebawn, or Ballyeligh, in Ballywilliam, County Wexford. He was a son of Patrick Keefe and Brigid Kehoe. Patrick appears to have taken his brother-in-law Tom Finn to court in July 1942, see below. There were no known children and, on an unknown date, Bridget was buried beside her father and grandfather in St. Mullins.53 Many of the Keefe family are buried in the same graveyard. [54] We know little more of the fifth daughter Margaret Mary Finn, born on 18th September 1886. She was living with her mother and siblings in Drummond at the time of the 1911 census when her age was given as 24. According to Bill Finn’s memories, she died at about this time.


With the death of William John Finn in 1900, the next oldest son was Tom, aka Thomas Edward Finn, who was born in Drummond circa 1887 and consequently inherited the farm when he was about sixteen years old. Tom was still living at Drummond at time of the 1911 census. On 24th July 1921, ‘the Widow Bridget’, as Pat’s widow was known, deeded the land at Drummin to Tom on the occasion of his marriage to Ellen Ryan whom he wed on 1st September 1921. Tom’s brothers Martin, Patrick and Sonny were paid £100 in recompense. The present-day Finn family have a photograph of Tom and Ellen. However, like so many women in this tale, she died while giving birth to a baby, just over a year later, on 11th October 1922.

Meanwhile, Tom is believed to have served with the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence and to have played a key role in blowing up the bridge at Drummond, thereby preventing its usage by the Black and Tans.

On 11th August 1923, Tom married again. His second wife Mary Anne Phelan was born in Ballyknockvicar on 6th February 1881 and was known to the present-day Finns of Drummond as ‘Granny’. Her parents were Nicholas and Catherine Phelan while her maternal grandfather, who died before her birth, was Dudley Kavanagh of St. Mullins. [55] Bill Finn writes: ‘Another Marriage Settlement was drawn up but with a significant difference as this agreement specified a cash payment only of Nine Hundred Pounds to Mary Ann in the event her husband died before her and in the absence of any issue of the marriage. This turned out to be the case on both counts when Thomas Edward [aka Tom] died in 1960.” The period before Mary Ann’s marriage to Tom must have been particularly difficult for her because she had lost both her parents– her father Nicholas Phelan died on 7th March l921, aged 77, while her mother Catherine died on 9th November l922, aged 78. Mary Ann’s brother Martin Phelan died on 6th Oct. 1930 while another brother Thomas died on 19th April 1961, aged 73 yrs. The Kavanaghs and Phelans are also recalled by a headstone in St. Mullins. [56]

On Saturday 24th November 1934, Thomas Finn, Peace Commissioner, of Drummond, St. Mullins, Co. Carlow, was taken into custody on 1934. It’s believed he was charged with defaulting on his land annuities and that he subsequently had to give up some land between Drummond and St. Mullins which, as of 2013, is now owned by Jack Ryan. [57]

In July 1942, Tom was involved in an action at the Circuit Court brought against him by his brother-in-law Patrick Keefe of Ballyleigh. The relevant document, compiled by Patrick Keefe’s solicitors Colfer & Son of New Ross, is in the Finn Archives. Patrick Keefe appears to have sought ‘the relief claimed in the Indorsement of Claim in the Equity Civil Bill’ which had been served on Tom on 11th June 1942.

Tom Finn died in Drummond on 9th April 1960. He is recalled on the monument to John Finn I. [58] His wife Mary Anne Phelan died in Drummond aged 87 on 6th March 1968, the very same day that her brother-in-law Ned Finn was buried.


Pat Finn’s third son and namesake Patrick William Finn was born in Drummond at about the time of the Incredible Mr. Kavanagh’s death in 1889. He may have had a twin brother Walter who died as a baby at about this time. Patrick was still living with his widowed mother and siblings at Drummond at the time of the 1911 census. As Bill Finn observes, “he worked as an intelligence agent in the Irish Republican Brotherhood for Michael Collins from 1916 to 1922.”

Given that his brother Ned was in New York, it is possible Patrick was the ‘Patrick W. Finn’ listed as a Democrat voter living at 379 18th Street in Brooklyn in 1919.59 He spent some time as a bus and train driver in England, possibly based at Barnsley in south Yorkshire. In 1923, he was married in New Ross to Anastasia Murphy with whom he initially lived in a cottage opposite Corcoran’s farm across the wood from Drummond. This is where the first two of their children were born, namely Pat (born in 1924, who settled in Australia) and Kathleen (born in 1925, who married Donegal engineer John Gallagher and lived in Virginia, County Cavan). They later had another son Tom (who also settled in Australia) and daughter Daisy (who was living in Barnsley in 1959). Pat and Anastasia later moved to Yorkshire where Pat worked as a double-decker bus driver for the Yorkshire Traction Company, the largest bus company in the area. Route 76 if you know it. Pat’s brother Sonny would also settle in the area.

In later life, Patrick William Finn bought a house on Doneraile Place, Tramore, County Waterford, to which he retired. He died aged 66 in New Ross on August 30th 1966, just over 50 years after the Easter Rising, and was buried in St Mullins. According to Bill Finn, his contribution to the cause of Irish independence was such that an honour guard from the Irish Republican Army showed up at his funeral, unannounced, and fired a volley over his grave.

NED ‘THE YANK’ FINN (1892-1968)

Pat and Bridget’ Finn’s son Ned, or Edward, was born at Drummond circa 1892 and may have also had the second name of ‘Patrick’. He was recorded at Drummond on both the 1901 and 1911 censuses but emigrated to New York in 1914 and settled in Manhattan. His first wife was Catherine or Katherine Byrne, a neighbour from Dranagh who may have been his second cousin. (There are a number of Byrnes in St. Mullins

graveyard. [60] She gave him a son John T, or Jack, in 1919. After her death, Edward was married secondly to a Roscommon woman called Mary Ann Kelly (or Kenny?) whom he is thought to have met in New York. Ned and Mary Ann later returned to Ireland with young Jack and subsequently had a daughter Mary Theresa. Afflicted with polio as child, Mary Theresa spent many months in hospital in Dublin. The family settling in a house on Chapel Street in Carlow Town where Ned found work at Corcoran’s Mineral Factory. He was known in the town as “Yank Finn” or “The Mad Yank” on account of the time he spent in New York.

Tuberculosis claimed the life of Ned’s son Jack Finn in 1942. Shortly afterwards, Mary Ann died of heart trouble and was buried in St. Mary’s, Carlow. Mary Theresa was only fourteen at the time. I believe that she later emigrated to Australia, possibly via Canada, and is mother-in-law to a lady called Lesley Rea who is also researching the Finn family roots. In 1948, Ned was married thirdly, in Graigcullen, to Julia Doyle of Coolmanagh, Hacketstown. Ned died in March 1968 aged 77 and was buried on the same day that Tom Finn’s wife Mary Anne (aka Granny) passed away.

The Carlow-based historian Michael Purcell recalls Ned Finn as a tall thin man. In the 1960s, he was employed as a full-time boatman by the Carlow Rowing Club as this story, possibly by Jackie Phelan, from the Carlow IGP reveals:

“Pleasant memories of the ‘50s on the Barrow Before the emergence of the motorcar, it was the popular exercise to spend Sunday on the river. From its earliest days the Club had a fleet of pleasure boats. The boats seated about six people and a trip to Knockbeg Weir took about an hour. Memories of the late ‘fifties must include the Fenlon family on their way up river for a picnic, Mick Browne, St. Killian’s Crescent, rowing with beautifully measured strokes, ‘Skipper’ Hennessy with his press full of red seat mats, and, of course, Bill Fenlon keeping his eye on everything. The boats (16 in 1962) were tied each night under the third and fourth arches of Graiguecullen Bridge. A full time boatman was employed and the list includes, Paddy Geoghegan, Sam Alcock, Ned ‘Yank’ Finn, and ‘Skipper’ Hennessy.

In the ‘twenties the Club had a number of family boats and these held twenty people in comfort. Having booked your boat for Sunday, you then went to Johnny Glendon in Coal Market and hired a donkey to tow the boat. The trip was usually to Ard na Binne island below Milford, where the picnics were held. The boat party always had an accordion and in later years a wind-up gramophone. Often on these trips were ‘Tosser’ Murphy and family of Tullow St., the Lamberts, Sheila Doran, the Lawlers of Dublin St., the Fenlons and the Basset sisters. The last fleet of pleasure boats was bought in the ‘forties and they lasted until the mid-sixties when they finally fell apart from old age.

MARTIN FINN (c. 1900-1930)

There is some confusion over the date of birth of Pat and Bridget Finn’s son Martin. Tradition states that he was born in Drummond in 1889 but he is listed as a two –year-old in 1901 and as an 11-year-old on 1911 census so his real date of birth must have been circa 1899 or 1900. Martin was married in Borris in 1921 to 20-year-old Margaret Corcoran, a daughter of Michael Corcoran and Maria Doyle of Kilcoltrim, Borris.

Martin Finn of Kilcoltrim (Army No. 19120) served with the Carlow Defence Forces and was briefly stationed at Kilkenny at this time but I am unsure precisely what time period he served. [61]

Some time after the marriage, he became a hackney car driver and the family moved north into County Kildare and settled in Athy. Martin and Margaret had five children before his premature death in the summer of 1930, the same year that their youngest son Michael was born. Martin died at Kilcoltrim and was buried alongside his father and grandfather in St. Mullins on 25th July 1930, just before the Pattern in St. Mullins. [62]

After his death, Margaret was married secondly in Borris Church circa 1932-33 to Patrick White, with whom she had seven more children, namely Philomena (a nun who left the order after many years), Eileen, Babs, Hannah, Teresa (a lifelong nun), Sonny and Kathleen. Margaret died in Kilcoltrim on 3rd April 1974 aged 73.

Returning to Martin and Margaret Finn, they had three girls and two boys. Their eldest daughter Christine, known as Chris, was born in Drummond and lives near Birmingham, England. Their second daughter Maria Ellen, known as Pol, was born circa 1922. In 1943 she was married in Borris to Thomas Redmond of Courtnellan, Clashganny, near Borris, with whom she had seventeen children.63 Michael and Margaret’s youngest daughter Margaret (Peggy) Finn was born in 1923 and married Arthur O’Toole of Templeogue, Dublin, with whom she had two sons, Arthur and Martin. She has since passed away with cancer. An Arthur O’Toole of Riverside Cottages in Templeogue was killed when knocked from his bicycle by a motor tram in May 1930. [64]

Patrick William Finn, the elder of Martin and Margaret’s two sons, was born in 1925 and died in 2001. He and his wife Irene Rice of Rathellen, Leighlingbridge, had two adopted children.

SONNY FINN (1903-1945)

Pat and Bridget Finn’s youngest son William John Finn was born posthumously at Drummond on 8th August 1903, eight months after the premature death of his father. He was named for his elder brother who had died three years earlier. He was eight year old at the time of the 1911 census.

Known as Sonny, he grew up at Drummond, with his four brothers and three sisters, and was regarded as an accomplished ploughman and a fine singer. Shortly after he stood as witness at Tom and Mary Anne Finn’s wedding in August 1923, he emigrated to the United States, perhaps using the £100 compensation he received when Tom was deeded Drummond.

From about 1924 to 1931, he was in the USA where he worked as a hackney driver in New Jersey. Apparently he was coming out of an elevator at Gaelic Park in the Bronx when he met an Irish woman called Bridget ‘Delia’ Garvey (1908-1999). She was the daughter of John Garvey and Maria Haugh of Carrigaholt, County Clare. They were married in New York on 29th November 1929. She inherited a farm in Clare which they subsequently sold . They moved to England in the winter of 1931-32 where Sonny worked as an ambulance driver in Cudworth and then for the Pioneer Bus Company and various other haulage and long distance companies.

His son Bill has an early memory of being at Drummond House in about 1936. ‘Bundled together in memory, but clearly enough distinguishable, are images of my being handed down from the banks of the river Barrow to Dad standing below in a rowboat, and a melodeon being played, by a member of the Cody family in all probability as I was informed later, while we were on the river. I can also remember trotting along with Dad and Uncle Thomas as they crossed a field, carrying shotguns and accompanied by dogs, and proceeding on a path down to the Barrow.’

By the time Bill and his small siblings were at secondary school, Sonny was at work driving a brewery lorry. In the early 1940s he was attempting to lift a beer barrel when it overbalanced and caused him a considerable injury. He contracted tuberculosis and died on 20th February 1945 aged 42 in a hospital at Conisboro near Doncaster. He may have been buried in St John’s Church, Cudworth, near Barnsley. He was survived by two sons Bill and John and two daughters Mary and Veronica. His daughter Veronica later died of cancer.


Michael John Finn, Michael and Margaret’s youngest son was born in Kilcoltrim on 26th Feb 1930, just five months before his father’s premature demise. Michael has lived and worked at Drummond all his life and he ultimately succeeded to the land after the death of his uncle Tom in 1960.

On 26th April 1961, Michael was married in St. Mullins to 31-year-old Roseanna Doyle. Born in Newtown on 6th February 1929, she was the fourth of seven children - and the youngest daughter - of Patrick Doyle and Annie Gahan. They had four sons and a daughter before Roseanna’s untimely demise at Drummond on April 6th 1995. Michael now lives at Drummond House with his son Martin, Martin’s wife Margaret and their four sons.

Their eldest child and only daughter (Mary) Anne was born on 7th February 1962 and married in St. Mullins in 1986 to Andrew Boland.

Their eldest son Thomas, or Tom, was born on 24th July 1963 and married Frances Knight.

The second son Martin, named for his grandfather, was born on 3rd September 1964 and is an enthusiastic supporter of Limousin cattle. His wife Margaret Doyle is a daughter of Michael Doyle and Julia Dreelan of Newtown. They have four sons Michael, Patrick, Richard and Thomas, and live at Drummond House.

Their youngest son Patrick, who shares a name with his great-grandfather, was born on 1st November 1965. In 1994, he was married to Margaret M. Killeen of Freshford, County Kilkenny.

Michael and Roseanna also had an adopted son John who was born on 9th October 1981.

Michael and Rosie Finn’s wedding day in St. Mullins, 26 April 1961.



Edmund Finn (1767-1810) is said to have been an outlawed member of the United Irishmen who served with distinction in the French army only to be killed in action at Azava during the Peninsula War. I have found no first-hand reference to him.


Finn’s Leinster Journal was founded by Edmund Finn in 1767, published on Wednesdays and Saturdays and distributed in places like Carlow and Castledermot. The paper brought prosperity to the Finn family but Edmund Finn died in 1777. His widow Catherine Finn distinguished herself by taking on the running of the newspaper, as well as raising their seven children. From 1801 to 1830, it became the Leinster Journal and thereafter the Kilkenny Journal. [65] Edmund’s brother William was a rich Roman Catholic tanner from Carlow Town. His son William Francis Finn, O’Connell’s brother-in-law, was Repeal M.P. for County Kilkenny, 1832-37. W.F. Finn’s brother Patrick was a juror during the trial of Archibald Sly for the murder of Rev. John Walsh.


The records for Carlow’s soldiers who fought in WWI include:

Finn, J. L/Corp. 10429, enlisted in R. Ir. Reg. 12-Sep-14

Finn, P. Pte. 5319 enlisted in R. Dub. F. 6-Jul-15.


In the course of this research, we have attempted to link the Finns of Drummond with two men, James Finn and William Finn, who left St. Mullins in the mid-19th century and relocated to Newfoundland and Boston respectively. Family lore amongst the Newfoundland branch is that James and William were brothers of John Finn of Drummond and therefore the sons of William Finn and Ann Cody. However, the dates do not quite work for them to have been full brothers. For instance, there would be a 10 year age gap between John and James, unlikely but not impossible, while Ann Finn (nee Cody), born circa 1753, would have been 64 at the time James was born in 1817. They may have been half-brothers but unfortunately, in the absence of any conclusive records, all we can say is that a relationship of some form between these people is highly likely but we have not yet managed to prove the link. My thanks to JoAnn Buck for much of the following. [66]

JAMES FINN (1817-1881)

Family lore holds that James Finn was born at Drummond House, St. Mullins, in 1817 and emigrated to Newfoundland in 1841-42 where he died in 1881. He may have been a brother of a William Finn from St. Mullins who emigrated to Boston in the early 1840’s. The two branches kept in touch until at least the early 1930s when the Boston family helped the bereaved widow and children of James’s grandson Michael John Finn by sending them clothes. James died in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on 18th February 1879.

James Finn (1817-1879) had six children - John Finn (horse trainer), Brigitte Finn (married Mr. Travis), Johanna Finn (married Mr. Mullins), Margaret Finn (married Mr. Graham), William (a realtor) and the baker James Joseph Finn (1850-1932).


James Joseph Finn was a baker who lived at 20 Finn’s Lane in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1904. He was the father of nine children, seven sons and two daughters, but as his great-granddaughter JoAnn Buck says:

‘There was a lot of tragedy and sorrow for the Finns in Newfoundland. Five of his children predeceased him, including three sons who died at sea within twelve months of each other in 1912-1913.

James Joseph Finn’s nine children were:

1. James Joseph Finn (January 25, 1882 to December 26, 1912), a seaman who was washed overboard and drowned on the ship Lake Simcoe in 1912 while en route to Europe with a load of fish. His body was never recovered. A newspaper article mentioned that “He was a quiet man and very attentive to his duties. He was 30 years old and had earned his ship master’s qualifications four years previously.” He was married with no children.

2. Michael John Finn (September 11, 1883 to July 7, 1929), [photo with wife Kitty & baby May, plus by himself + with brother Thomas] the grandfather to JoAnn Buck, was a baker by trade who worked as a foreman for McGuire’s Bakery. Known for his generous spirit and athletic abilities, he was a champion left-handed bowler and managed a cricket team after he retired from play. He contracted typhoid fever while on a business trip to Bell Island Newfoundland and died aged 46 on July 7, 1929, leaving his widow Kitty, nee Catherine Murphy, with eight children aged between fifteen and two. After his death, the money ran out rather quickly but his Boston relatives sent clothing up to Newfoundland. JoAnn recalls: ‘My grandmother would take the hand knit sweaters and add a band or two of a complimentary color to lengthen the arms for my Mother and her sisters.’ JoAnn’s mother, who emigrated to the USA in 1944, was the second oldest of the eight children; one of her brothers was an RAF pilot during WWII and was shot down in January 1943.

3. William John Finn (June 20, 1885 -1890), who died at the age of five.

4. Mary Margaret Finn (January 16, 1888 - ?), who married Edward Bulger and moved to Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1925.

5. John Peter Finn (June 29, 1889 to 1912), who died at sea on board S.S. Erna. The ship left Greenock, Scotland on February 26, 1912, bound for St. John’s, but disappeared without a trace in March 1912, with 51 people on board, roughly a month before the Titanic. It is believed she encountered an iceberg at night.

6. Thomas Valentine Finn (February 15, 1892 - 1984) was a baker by trade. [photo with brother Michael]

7. Stephen Francis Finn (December 26, 1894 - 1913) was a seaman on the S. S. Grace who died, aged eighteen, on his first voyage at sea.

8. Helen Victoria Finn (June 20, 1897 - 1983), known as Nell, married Robert Nash and emigrated to Toledo Ohio USA.

9. William Finn, who was born on 5 February 1900, was the second child to be named William, taking it from his older brother who died aged five. He was also a baker by trade, as was his son Gerald, aka Jerry Finn, of 58 Simpson Avenue, Somerville, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, who was born on 2 April 1924 and died on 4 October 2007.


Mary Frances Victoria Finn (1914-2003)
During WWII, she worked with the US Dept. of the Navy and eventually moved to New York City to continue working for Admiral Coombs. She met and married John Enright, an attorney, and lived in New York until her death in 2003. She and John had no children but were instrumental in the education of many nieces and nephews. As John became quite successful Mary turned her considerable organizational talents and energy to philanthropy. As a patron of Family and Children’s Association and a founder of the United Way of Long Island, she and a small group of people raised millions of dollars for various New York organizations. She was also an accomplished actress and gifted producer for many community based theater groups.

Frances Catherine Joseph Finn (1915-1987)
Frances worked for the US Army in St. John’s where she met Master Sergeant Clifford Buck. In 1944 she emigrated to the US to marry him as the British authorities (Newfoundland was a British Crown Colony until 1949) no long permitted local women to marry Americans. Newfoundland had gone to war in 1939 with the rest of the British Commonwealth and there was concern there would be no women for the returning Newfoundland forces to marry when the war ended. They had three daughters, including JoAnn Buck, who, in turn, had four children between them. Clifford died in 1981 and Frances in 1987. They now have 4 great grandchildren (and counting....)

James Joseph Finn (1918-1943)
Jim joined the RAF at age 23 and earned his pilot’s wings in 1942. He was reported missing, believed killed on January 15, 1943. His Beaumont fighter aircraft “failed to return from operations”. He and his plane were lost in the English Channel. The Runnymede Memorial, near Windsor England is dedicated to “airmen who have no known grave”.

Angela Finn (1919-2008)
Angela married John Power, an optician, and together they managed their optical practice in downtown St. John’s, later expanding to a suburban location as well. They had 5 children and 11 grandchildren.

John Peter Finn (1920-2004)
During WWII John was a forward observation officer with the 6th Airborne Division of the British Army. He flew into France aboard a huge glider under cover of darkness several hours before the landing on D-Day. He and his wife, Sarah, had 4 children and grandchildren.

Michael Terrence Finn (1921)
Mike, the last surviving sibling, was a very successful realtor in St. John’s. He and his wife, Alice, have 1 daughter and 3 grandchildren.

Brendan Michael Finn (1922-2003)
Worked for the US Army in Greenland during WWII. After the war he and his wife Kitty moved to the US. After 30 years as a liability engineer with General Motors he retired to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. He and Kitty were the parents of 3 children and have 2 grandchildren. Brendan was well known for his beautiful singing voice.

Joseph Patrick Finn (1926-2012)
Joe moved to the US in the 1950’s. He and his wife Mary had one daughter. Joe worked for many years for International Harvester, a manufacturer of commercial utility vehicles. He used one of these as the family car, anticipating by decades today’s craze for SUVs.

“This book of the Finn Family is dedicated to our father Michael Finn in acknowledgment of his deep interest in our family history over the hundreds of years the family had lived in Drummond House. Our deepest gratitude and love to him for retaining all this information for the future generations of Finns.”


1. See Hubert Butler, Ten thousand saints: a study in Irish & European origins (Wellbrook Press, 1972), circa p. 49-52; Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae: partim hactenus ineditae, Volume 1, Compiled by Charles Plummer (e Typographeo Clarendoniano, 1910), p. lxxxi.

2. Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900)

3. “Memoirs of Myles Byrne”, Volume 1, edited by his Widow and published in Dublin by Maunsel & Co., Ltd. in 1907. The book was originally published in 1863 in Paris by Bossange et Cie.

4. Culture et pratiques politiques en France et en Irlande, 16e-18e siècle, (Centre de Recherches Historiques, 1991), p. 245.

5. See also ‘Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the four masters’, Volume 5, John O’Donovan, Hodges and Smith, 1851, p. 1839.

6. There was clearly another branch of Finn at this time as Memorial 280 in St. Mullins reads: ‘Erected to the memory of John Finn, Drummond, who departed this life January 1837 aged 41 years. Also his father Patrick Finn departed this life May 6th 1801, aged 48 years. Req in Pace.’ Ancestry goes one step further to state that Patrick Finn, who died in 1801, was born in Drummond, Carlow on 1753 and married Mary Freny. This implies that Patrick was an elder brother of William Finn of Drummond. Ancestry also suggests that the John Finn who died in 1837 was married to Honor Murphy rather than John Finn I, son of William, but that doesn’t really add up given that Judith / Johanna Murphy was definitely William’s granddaughter.

The following are also buried in the Old Graveyard close to the River Barrow in Carlow Town which was granted during the Reign of James I (1603-1625) for the burial of Catholics of the Town of Carlow. (Information courtesy of ‘Burial Plots for the Old Graves’ by Kevin Kennedy “Carloviana” 1990/1991, c/o http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/Old_Graves_1.htm).

Will Finn 1740 Ag. 89. His fath. Tho. Age 83 1722.

Thomas Finn June 25th 1889 aged 52 his wife Mary Finn Nov 15th 1925 aged 87.

Erected by Will Finn for himself 20th Oct 1777 aged 40, 4 of his children, William Finn Jan 1833 aged 70 yrs. his grandsons Thomas and Patrick Finn the former 2-Aug 1854 aged 19 mnths latter 7th Nov 1813 in the 10th year of his age Lucinda Finn 4th Apr aged 76.

7. Freney the Robber: The Noblest Highwayman in Ireland, by Michael Holden, Mercier Press, 2009, p. 225.

8. 1798 – 1948 - Erected In Memory of the Following Heroes Who Took Part In The ’98 Rebellion And Who Are Buried In This Churchyard: Gen. Thomas Cloney, John Byrne, George Dalton, Laurence O’Keeffe, John Scolardy, John Whelan, James Doyle, Maurice Kavanagh, William Finn, Col. Morgan Kavanagh, Patrick Foley, Henry Hammond, Patrick Kearney, John Lacey, Murty Lawlor, Patrick Logan, George Malone, Frank Moore, James Rourke, Sean Ruadh, Daragh Doyle.

9. Quoted in The Times, February 28, 1850, p. 5.

10. The Times, February 25, 1804, p. 3.

11. Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, William Kirwin Seary, p. 180 – FINN (McGill-Queen’s Press, 1998).

12. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

13. Landholders of parish of St Mullins, County Carlow: for extra time to submit payment of county cess. 12 Jul 1822. NAI REFERENCE: CSO/RP/1822/789.

14. Belfast Newsletter 1738-1799 Friday, November 07, 1828, p. 4.

15. “County Carlow Tithe Defaulters 1831”, Sue Clement - Carlow County - IrelandGenealogical Projects (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/Tithe_Defaulters.htm)

16. Joyce, The Origin & History of Irish Place Names, p. 82.

17. Fitz-Henry Family History and other random stuff by Jo FitzHenry, 2011; http://fitz-henry.blogspot.ie/2011/05/st-mullins-register-3-two-more.html

18. Selection of Reports and Papers of the House of Commons: Poor in Ireland ; [1836], Volume 47, Issue 1. (Google Books)

19. ‘On Monday last two men, named John and Michael Cullen, inhumanly beat and kicked a woman named Catherine Byrne, who was in an advanced state of pregnancy, in such a manner as to cause her death. The parties lived at Bahana, in the barony of St. Mullins, and were neighbours. On Tuesday last the coroner held an inquest on the body, when a verdict was returned that deceased came by her death in consequence of the treatment she received from the Cullens. The coroner issued a warrant for their apprehension; but it is supposed they have absconded.- Carlow Sentinel. Quoted in The Times, October 27, 1836, p. 4.

20. COUNTY OF CARLOW.-ATTACK ON A POLICE PARTY. INHUMAN MURDER OF A POLICEMAN. A most inhuman murder was committed on Thursday night last at a place called Skaugh, in the barony of St. Mullins, county of Carlow, and attended with, circumstances of such peculiar atrocity as to lead us to hope that the villains who perpetrated the deed will speedily meet their reward. It appears that on the evening of the 25th instant Sergeant Little and two policemen, named Walsh and Galvin, were proceeding towards their station at Glynn, after attending the petty sessions at Borris. The night being wet and stormy, they stopped at a public-house near Clashganny to take some refreshment. They made not more than a few minutes delay, when they again resumed their route, although the storm continued with unabated vigour. They had not proceeded far, when they were overtaken by several men, some of whom had been in the public-house, and who commenced an indiscriminate attack on the party. The policemen having nothing but their side-arms, were unable to defend themselves with success, and in a short time two of the party were overpowered. Galvin, after being left for dead, was thrown over a precipice into a wood, while his comrade, Walsh, was mangled in a most shocking manner. His skull was fractured in several places, and his body was otherwise so savagely mutilated as to render it difficult to recognize him. This unfortunate man lived until the evening following, when death put a period to his sufferings. Galvin is in such a state as to render ultimate recovery hopeless. The escape of the constable was almost miraculous; but, favoured by the darkness of the night, and while the villains were engaged in mangling the bodies of his comrades, he ran to a public-house on the road-side, where he obtained protection. The spot was admirably adapted for the perpetration of a murder. It was about half way on a road that runs through Claganny Wood, which hangs over the Barrow; and as there are no houses but at both extremities of the wood, the murderers selected this spot as one the most likely to favour their designs during the storm. It is much to be regretted, first, that the party had entered a public-house at all, and secondly, deeply to be deplored that they acted so incautiously as to travel without their carbines. An inquest was held on Friday on the body of Walsh, when a verdict of ‘wilful murder’ was found by the jury against several persons, whose names it is at present unnecessary to mention. Two men named Kavanagh were apprehended shortly after the committal of the deed, fully identified by Constable Little as the principals, and they were committed to the county gaol by Mr. Charles H. Tuckey, resident magistrate.-Kilkenny Moderator. (The Times, November 3, 1838, p. 3).

21. St. Mullins - WALSH 296.

22. COUNTY OF CARLOW - An Alphabetical List of persons who have Registered Votes pursuant to the Act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., chap. 88, to the lst day of February, 1838. (Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects - http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/1838_voters14.htm).

23. Quoted in The Times, December 1, 1840, p. 6.

24. The Times, 29th June 1841, p. 6.

25. The Times, January 14, 1842, p. 5.

26. Freeman’s Journal, Wednesday, June 23, 1841, p. 3.

27. The Nation, Saturday, July 05, 1845, p. 4.

28. A man called John Finn was renting a house from Luke Bolger in Castlemore at the time of Griffith’s ‘Primary Valuation of Tenements Poor Law Union of Carlow’ which was taken c1851/52. Patrick Finn and William Finn are also mentioned but are almost certainly a different branch of the family [ http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/vcarlow.htm] Between 1850 and 1852, the major landowners in St. Mullins made the following applications for loans - William FF Tighe (£1923), Charles Doyne (£1034), Thomas Kavanagh (£2818), Henry Bruen (£972), Sir Thomas Butler (£691) and [another?] Thomas Kavanagh (£221). Kavanagh was awarded £2000, Tighe and Doyne £1000 each, Sir Thomas £600 and Bruen and the other Thomas Kavanagh got £200. In the end, everyone cancelled or relinquished much of their loan, with Kavanagh ultimately getting £800, Tighe and Doyne £600 each, and Sir Thomas and Bruen getting £210 and £200 respectively. [Schedule showing the Proprietors who have applied for and obtained Loans &c – COMMISSIONERS OF PUBLIC WORKS, IRELAND, House of Commons papers (1855), Volume 16 (Google eBook), p. 85.

29. Dranagh is not to be confused with the hamlet near Ferns, Co. Wexford, which Samuel Lewis described in 1837 as boasting ‘several neat cottages with gardens attached.

30. Accounts and papers of the House of Commons, 1864 (Google eBook)

31. St. Mullins - WALSH 296. ‘Erected by Martin Walsh of Newtown in memory of his son James Walsh who departed this life March 1st 1851 aged 38 years. Also his son Laurence Walsh who depd this life July 23rd 1853 aged 36 years. Also his grandson Michael Finn who died April 4th 1846 aged 8 years. Also his grandson Martin Walsh died Feb 2nd 1898 aged 2nd years and his son Patrick Walsh died Sep 2nd 1907 aged 80 years. Also Ellen Walsh alias Foley wife to Patrick Walsh who died June 12th 1911. Aged 80 years. Also Mary Ellen Walsh daughter to Michael Walsh died 29th May 1921 aged 10 years. Also James Walsh son of the above Patrick died May 6th 1930, aged 74 yrs. And his brother Michael died 24th Sept 1950 aged 74 yrs. His wife Bridget died 12th Feb. 1954 aged 73 yrs. Also Mrs. Catherine Walsh died 15th Dec. 1972, aged 50 yrs. R.I.P.’

32. St. Mullins – Finn, 281. ‘Sacred to the memory of William Finn of Drumond who died April 1846 aged 87 years. His wife Anne Finn died December 1833 aged 80 years. Their grand-children. May they rest in peace. Right Side: There is a cross with the words “In Hoc Sign Novinces” above it. Johanna Murphy died April 1859 aged 30 years. Mary Bolger [Dolger?] died April .1866, aged 25 years, Bridget Finn died April 1868 aged 18 years. Thomas Finn died May 1868 aged 21 years. Left Side: There is a cross with the words “In Hoc Sign Kovinces” above it. Mrs Catherine Ryan nee Finn died April 14th 1894 aged 38 years. Patrick William Finn, Doner Aille Place, Tranore, died Aug. 30th 1966 aged 76 years. R.I.P.’

33. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

34. St. Mullins – Finn, 281.

35. St. Mullins – Finn, 281.

36. James Ryan sen. Erected the following memorial in St. Mullins:

Erected by JAMES RYAN of Drummond to the memory of his father MICHAEL RYAN who died12th March 1833 aged 87 years. Also his mother BRIDGET RYAN alias ROURKE who died 11th December 1834, aged 85 yrs. Also his wife MARY RYAN al’s NOLAN who died June 18th 1856 aged 43 years. Also three of his brothers LAURENCE, THOMAS, WILLIAM and his sister ELIZABETH who died young.

The above named JAMES RYAN died Dec. 5th 1870 aged 72 years.

Also his daughter MARY RYAN died May 12th 1875 aged 20 years.

His son JAMES died Aug’t 22nd 1920, aged 76.

His grand-children JAMES, MINNIE & PATRICK, ...

His son LAURENCE died Sept’r 29th 1932, aged 84 yrs.

Req’t in Pace.

James Ryan jun. may have been a younger brother of Michael Flatley’s grandfather who is recalled by a Celtic cross with detailed Celtic design in St. Mullins, with RYAN inscribed on the copen and the following inscription:

In loving memory of MICHAEL RYAN, Dranagh, died 16th March 1935 aged 75.

His wife ELIZABETH died 9th July 1941 aged 79.

His brother JOHN died 25th May 1932 aged 70.

His son EDWARD died 11th June 1911 aged 22.

His grand-son MICHAEL died 26th May 1941 aged 4.

His son PATRICK died 20th Oct. 1973 aged 69.

Patrick’s wife HANNAH (nee LANNIGAN) died 1993, aged 82.

R. I. P.

Erected by Paddy & Hannah Ryan. S/C Walshe, Carlow.


Michael and Elizabeth Ryan were the great-grandparents of MICHAEL FLATLEY, the noted Irish dancer from Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. Paddy and Hannah Ryan were his grandparents. Among the lesser known Americans descended from these Ryans are a number of other Flatleys, Ryans, Gawnes, Callahans, and various others. They live in California, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, and Maryland. For more information please contact Bill Gawne via gawne at cesmail.net

37. St. Mullins – Finn, 281.

38. St. Mullins - MURPHY 197.

39. St. Mullins, Ryan 528. Pray for the Soul of John Ryan, Drummond, who died Feb. 11th 1954 aged 60 yrs. Also his brother Thomas died in U.S.A. July l7th 1952 aged 64 yrs.

And his brother Michael died 16th April 1966, aged 80 yrs. Ellen Ryan died 27th May 1981, aged 77 yrs. relic of Michael Ryan (nee Murphy.) Her Grandson Denis Ryan died in infancy. R.I.P. S/C: Brennan, Bagnelstown.

40. St. Mullins, Ryan 528. You can see the Gladney family on the 1911 census at http:// www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Carlow/Glynn/Ballinalour/313537/

41. St. Mullins - GLADNEY 526. ‘Erected by Mary Anne Gladney, New York to the memory of her sister Bridget Gladney, Poulmounty, died 10th Nov. 1906 aged 17 yrs. And her father Richard Gladney died 7th April 1923, aged 68 yrs. Also her mother Anne Gladney nee Ryan died 14th Jan. 1924, aged 66 yrs. Her brother Patrick Gladney died in America 15th May 1929, aged 40 yrs. And her brother James died in U.S.A. Aug 28th 1938 aged 52. Also her brother Richard died 10th March 1973, aged 78 yrs. And her brother Thomas, Poulmounty, died 10th Oct. 1974 aged 77 yrs. Her brother William Gladney died 24th Feb. 1979, aged 87 yrs. R.I.P. S/C Power, Ross.’

42. St. Mullins, Ryan 528.

43. The Irish Times, Monday, January 27, 1873.

44. Freeman’s Journal, July 19th 1875.

45. Freeman’s Journal, 14th May 1877.

46. Transactions of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society (Volume 6, Issue 1, p. 56, Douglas & Foulis, 1871); ‘The Scottish forestry journal: being the transactions of the Royal Scottish forestry society, both in 1875 (Volumes 7-8) and 1884 (Vols. 10-11, p.9).

47. Emerald Green: An Ecocritical Study of Irish Literature by Timothy Wenzell (Pro-Quest, 2008), p. 10.

48. “…to the said Catherine Murphy such satisfaction for the damage done thereby, or by the taking of any such material, as shall be assessed by P. W. Finn, a householder, of Drummond, County Carlow, named by the said Philip Kelly as appriser.”

49. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

50. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

51. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

52. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

53. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

54. St. Mullins - KEEFE 391. ‘Erected by Patrick Keefe of Ballinaberna in memory of his father John Keefe, who died 14th Aug. 1871, aged 91 years. Also his son Edward Keefe who died young. Also his mother Ellen Keefe alias Kelly who died 20th January 1879, aged 88 years. Also the above Patrick Keefe died 3rd Dec. 1891 aged 79 years. And his wife Bridget alias Kehoe, died 20th Feb. 1915 aged 82 years. And son John died 2nd April 1840, Aged 82 years. Also his wife Margaret nee Hanrick died 13th Jan. 1945 interred in Ballyanne. And their son Patrick died 12th Aug. 1973 aged 71 yrs. Req. in pace.’

55. Dudley Kavanagh of St. Mullins who died on 4th Jan. 1880 aged 76.

56. St. Mullins – KAVANAGH 17. ‘In loving memory of Dudley Kavanagh. St. Mullins. Died 4th Jan. 1880. Aged 76 yrs. Also his son-in-law Nicholas Phelan died 7th March l921, Aged 77 yrs. His daughter Catherine Phelan died 9th Nov l922 aged 78 yrs. His daughter Bridget Kavanagh died 29th Sept. 1929 Aged 80 yrs. Also John Phelan died 17th Dec. 1952, Aged 74 yrs. And his brother Patrick died 24th Nov. 1958 aged 82 yrs. In loving memory of Martin Phelan died 6th Oct. 1930. “May his soul rest in Peace”, His brother Thomas died 19th April 1961, aged 73 yrs. His sister Mary Ann Finn, Drummond died 6th March 1968, aged, 87 yrs. R.I.P. S/C: Walshe, Carlow’.

57. The Irish Times, Monday, November 26, 1934, p. 7

58. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

59. List of Enrolled Voters: Borough of Brooklyn (New York (N.Y.). City Record Office, 1919).

60. St. Mullins: BYRNE 843 - Erected by Thomas Byrne Drana, in memory of his father Michael Byrne who died 25th July 1898, aged 79 years. Also his mother Mary Byrne who died 19th April 1880, aged 57 years. The above Thomas Byrne, March 24th 1861 – Nov 6th 1931. Req. in Pace. St Mullins: BYRNE 842 - In loving memory of James Byrne, Drana, died Feb. 5 1932 aged 60 yrs. And his wife Mary Byrne died Jan 1st 1964, aged 78 yrs. R,I.P, S/C: Brennan of Bagnelatown.

61. Carlovians in the Defence Forces - 1922-1984, Source: Carloviana edition 2001, 2002, 2004 & 2005. Researched by the late Des Nolan of Carlow. (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/Soldiers_03.htm).

62. St. Mullins – Finn, 208.

63. Thomas was the son of Patrick Redmond and Mary Byrne of Coutntellan. Pol and Thomas Redmond’s seventeen children include Bridget Josephine Redmond (born 1957), Brendan Joseph Redmond (born 1958) and Irene May Redmond (born 1963. Coutntellan was formerly property of Earl of Anglessy.

64. Irish Independent, Monday, May 05, 1930

65. For more, see http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/Finns_Leinster_Journal.

htm; http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/William_Francis_Finn.htm and http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlcar2/Nicholas_Vigors.htm]

66. A branch of the family are said to have moved to Boston and Newfoundland at this time and it may be that John and Martin are connected to these emigrant branches. I have tried, without success, to contact Carol Finn, author of the following notice which appeared on http://www.myirishancestry.com/genealogy-forums/carlow/finn-family

“Finn family. Drummond house. County Carlow. I am looking for info on Finn family. Originally from County Carlow. Drummond house. Tom, Mickey. John. Toms’ Sons, William Patrick Finn, (born aprox 1897) Thomas Finn, daughters. Mary and Michael Mary came to south Boston. And Tom and William went to St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada early 1900’s. About 1910 William’s sons left Newfoundland. Gerald,(USA) Stephen and Raymond stayed in Newfoundland. Mary last known in Boston area. Last know to be in Milton MA, USA. Any info would be appreciated.” Likewise.