Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Sduddy » Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:57 am

Br Didacus may be the Michael Mc Namara, from Clare, aged 25, living in Abbleyland, Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath , in 1901: ... d/1784021/. Abbeyland in Multyfarnham was a Franciscan Monastery: ... -westmeath. I looked at the Michael McNamaras aged 35 in all counties in 1911 (born in Clare, single), just in case that Michael was still in Multyfarnham - therefore, not Br Didacus - and was surprised to see that there was no Michael McNamara, aged about 35, living in any other county.
When I looked at the MacNamaras I got a pleasant surprise: again there was no Michael McNamara that fitted the bill, but the father of a Michael MacNamara caught my attention. He is a Patrick McNamara Oshaughnessy, aged 69, living in Tullaroe, Querrin DED: ... oe/365430/. Looking at the image of the original form, I wondered where the transcriber got the “Oshaughnessy” from, and then saw that this was the name given in the House and Buildings form: ... 001789480/. Somebody did a very thorough job.

Anyway, I’m happy enough with the possibility – even likelihood – that Br. Didacus in 1911 is the Michael McNamara in Multyfarnham in 1901. I’m not going to try to find out any more about him.


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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Jimbo » Sun Mar 24, 2024 9:22 pm

Hi Sheila, good work in discovering that “Didacus Mac Connara”, age 35, of Friary Lane in Athlone in the 1911 census, was the same as “Michael McNamara”, age 25, of Multyfarnham in the 1901 census, both in County Westmeath. The two men are definitely one and the same.

Sheila, I know you didn’t want to do any further research on Brother Didacus McNamara, but you’ve left some low hanging fruit and, I reckon, it would be a great shame to not highlight the excellent resources available on the Franciscans at the Clare Library. Their “Franciscan Friary Ennis Collection” of 180 photos, includes three group photos with your Brother Didacus McNamara: ... ctions.htm

The earliest of these three photos is the Franciscan Novitiate Group 1905-1906 in Ennis which includes 15 individuals: (L-R) Back Row: Fr Michael O'Hanlon, Fr Hubert Quinn, Fr Joseph Moloney, Fr Denis O'Callaghan, Br Damian. Middle Row: Br Kieran Brogan, Fr Celestine Moriarty, Fr Leo Sheehan, Br Didacus McNamara. Front Row: Fr Ignatius Kelly, Fr Fridolin Fihely, Fr Bartholomew Foley. ... lection%2F

Initially, I thought that the Novitiate Group of 1905-1906 was when Michael McNamara (of 1901 census) became Brother Didacus McNamara (of 1911 census). But that is incorrect. Brother Didacus would have been 30 years old in 1906, so he surely professed his vows prior to 1901 when he was reported as a “Lay Brother”. In the photo Brother Didacus is next to the Rev. Leo Sheehan, sitting in a very important looking chair. Rev. Leo Sheehan was age 39 in 1911 when he was the vicar at the Franciscan friary, he was clearly not a novitiate in 1906 (based upon another photo in the archive, supposedly 50 years later, I believe this was the assumption of the contributor). Also, the Rev. Michael O’Hanlon, reading a book in the back row, looks well over 50 years old. The 12 remaining individuals look quite young and are likely the novitiates.

The Rev. Patrick Conlan, O.F.M., who died in May 2023 at the age of 83, was an Irish Franciscan historian and author of several books and scholarly articles on the Irish Franciscans. His writings help explain why Brother Didacus McNamara was living at Multyfarnham in County Westmeath in the 1901 census. In looking at the 1901 Irish census, you would never realize the interesting history on how his presence at Multyfarnham was the result of what can only be described as a hostile takeover. ... n-ofm-rip/

The Rev. Patrick Conlan was the author “Franciscan Ireland”, 1989, Lilliput Press. The source material for this book was primarily research into the Franciscan archives in Rome and elsewhere and published in the Collectanea Hibernica journal. Fortunately, these journal articles, 25 in total, are freely available on the jstor website, only requiring a user account to access 100 articles each month. ... el&acc=off

Apparently, the Irish Franciscans of the 19th century were a bit of an embarrassment for the Continental Franciscans, who were being prosecuted by the various liberal governments in Europe.
The Franciscans [on the Continent] sought the answer to their problems in regular observance and religious discipline, i.e., a return to an almost monastic lifestyle. The Irish friars had never gone through the same experience, but their style of living became a source of scandal to the Continental Franciscans. The history of the Irish friars in the second half on the last century [19th] consists of various efforts made to persuade the Irish to reform themselves.

Eventually, in 1888, a drastic solution was imposed. The Irish novitiate was transferred to Germany, later to Italy. A rigorous training programme was set up. Special teams were sent back to Ireland to recruit. The newly trained friars were kept in Italy until the houses in Ireland could be taken over one by one. The reformers took over control of the province in 1899, by which time the elements of a centralised administrative bureaucracy had begun to emerge. The first thirty years of this century [20th] were taken up by the process of settling in and implementing the reform programme laid down in 1888; a seraphic college were those thinking of joining the Order were educated (Multyfarnham), a novitiate in Ireland (Killarney) [but first back to Ennis from 1899 until 1902], a house of studies for the humanities and possibly also philosophy in Ireland (Galway) and theology in Rome. The next thirty years were characterised by expansion into new places, apostolates and missions; a period to which the title of the second golden age of the Irish Franciscans might be given by a future historian.

“Vocations to the Irish Franciscans 1800-1980” by Patrick Conlan, Collectanea Hibernica, Vol. 42 (1987), pp. 29-37 (9 pages)
When Michael McNamara joined the Franciscans he was part of the newly trained reformer group who were educated at St. Isidore’s College in Rome and eventually returned to Ireland. Multyfarnham was the first Franciscan house to be taken over by the reformers, and the Ennis friary would soon follow. Msgr. Ignatius Murphy in “The Diocese of Killaloe, 1850-1904” discussed how these changes “split the Franciscan houses between the new friars (“Brown friars” based upon their habits) and those who wished to continue in the old way of life (“Black friars”). He concluded, “This marked the end in Ennis of the Black friars, who were indistinguishable from diocesan priests, and heralded the arrival of the Brown friars, who have been a familiar part of life in Ennis since then” (Murphy, pg. 133-134).

Documents during this period located in Franciscan archives in Rome were summarized in Rev. Patrick Conlan’s research articles published in the Collectanea Hiberinca journals. The original documents were mostly in Latin or Italian so this would have been an incredible effort. Excerpts mentioning Brother Didacus as well as the 1896 takeover of Multyfarnham abbey:
126-9: A report on the state of St. Isidore’s College, Rome, . . . [signed by several priests] . . . Rome, 26 July 1896; Latin; there are six priests in the community: Bernard Doebbing, Peter Begley, Nicholas Dillon, Francis Donnelly, Patrick Cahill, and Laurence O’Neill; there are five clerics: Leo Sheehan [1911 at Ennis Friary], Bernard Kneafsey [1911, same], Alphonsus Prendergast [1901 at Ennis Friary], Kevin O’Regan [1901, same], and Benedict Coffey; there are three clerical novices; Joseph Moloney, Chrysostom Dore and Stanislaus Ryan [1911 at Ennis Friary]; there are two Irish tertiaries, Sebastian Fitzgibbon and Didacus McNamara, and four Germans: Vincent Austermann, Benevenutus Peeters, Julian Kuckler, and Leopold Mueller; the level of regular observance is good . . .

193-4: Luigi Canali da Parma, O.F.M., min. gen., to Peter Begley, O.F.M., Rome, 23 May 1896; Latin; he orders Begley to return to Ireland and engage in negotiations with the Irish minister provincial [Alphonsus Jackman] about the young priests from Italy returning to Ireland and taking over the friary there; all decisions are to be referred back to the minister general.

195-6: Alphonsus Jackman, O.F.M., min. prov. To Luigi Canali da Parma, O.F.M., min. gen., Dublin, 30 May 1896; Italian; in the past he pressed the minister general about the return of the novitiate to Ireland; he was amazed when Peter Begley, O.F.M., arrived last night to negotiate about the reformers from Italy taking over an Irish friary in its entirety. . .

197-8: Agostino Ciasca, secretary of the Sacred Congregation ‘de Propaganda Fide’ to [Alphonsus Jackman, O.F.M., min. prov.], Rome, 19 June 1896; Italian; in accordance with the decisions of Propaganda taken in 1889, the time is now ripe for the next stage of the reform of the Irish Franciscans; this involves the friars trained in the new ways taking over a friary in Ireland; the minister general and his definitory have decided that Multyfarnham is the most suitable friary; therefore this house is to put under the direct control under the direct control of the minister general, the present community are to be withdrawn quam primum [as soon as possible] and the buildings, including all associated properties and contents, are to be handed over, whole and entire, to Peter Begley, O.F.M., delegate general.

199-200: Alphonsus Jackman, O.F.M., min., prov. to Luigi Canali da Parma, O.F.M., min. gen., Dublin, 30 June 1896; Italian; he and the entire definitory of the Irish province believe and feel in conscience bound to object, that the new arrangement proposed for the friary in Multyfarnham is totally against the Rule of St Francis and the constitutions of the Order; in particular the new community should be under the control of the minister provincial.

A Short-Title Calendar of "Hibernia," Vol. 5 (1894-9), and of Irish Material in "Saxonia S. Crucis," Vol. 3 (1890-1900), in the General Archives of the Friars Minor, Rome; by Patrick Conlan, Collectanea Hibernica, No. 27/28 (1986), pp. 196-231
In 1896, the old “Black friars” appear to have been taken unawares of the takeover by the young “Brown friars” of their friaries and don’t appear to have been too happy about the changes. In 1899 the Ennis friary was also taken over by the reformist friars as reflected in the 1901 census (priests noted in brackets in 126-9 above). ... ra_s_Lane/

Brother Didacus McNamara may or may not have been part of the first wave of friars to arrive at Multyfarnham in 1896, but he was living there at the 1901 census. The Franciscans appear to have several levels of profession, and Brother Didacus McNamara at Ennis gets a brief mention in the Rev. Patrick Conlan’s research of the “English Franciscan Friars in Killarney, 1860-1902”:
Copies of receptions and professions in Ennis of brothers for the Irish province

First Order reception of Brs Didacus McNamara and Felix Steppler on 15 August 1899 [by Father Peter Begley per footnote]; simple profession by Br. Juniper Arens on 16 November 1899; simple profession of Brs Didacus McNamara and Felix Steppler on 26 August 1900; Third Order profession of Br John O’Regan. . . (p. 193).

“A Short-Title Calendar of the Reception and Profession Books of the English Franciscan Friars in Killarney 1860-1902”, Patrick Conlan, Collectanea Hibernica, No. 42 (2000), pp. 181-214 (34 pages)
According to Ignatius Murphy, Ennis contained the Franciscan novitiate starting in June 1875 through to 1885, when a new building was constructed and the novitiate moved to Harreveld, Holland. The new building was ready three years later, but instead of returning to Ennis the novitiate went to Rome as part of the outside reform strategy of the Irish Franciscans initiated in 1888. “The novitiate in Ennis . . . was reopened in the summer of 1899 when the Brown friars took over. This second phase was even shorter than the first. When Killarney friary was purchased from the English Franciscans in October 1902 it was decided to transfer the novitiate there and eleven novices transferred from Ennis later that year” (Murphy, p. 136).

The “eleven novices transferred from Ennis” in late 1902, would be about the same number of young novitiates (12) in the Franciscan Collection photo, “Novitiate Group of 1905-1906 in Ennis”. Thus, it is possible that the photo was from several years earlier or else the novices were visiting Ennis from the Killarney novitiate. One remaining mystery is the location of these 11 or 12 novitiates in the 1901 census, I cannot locate them in Ennis.

Brother Didacus McNamara also appears in a group photo labeled as 1908. This is a much smaller group of seven Franciscan friars: ... lection%2F

Once again, the Rev. Leo Sheehan was sitting in the middle of the photo in a very important looking chair. In the 1911 census, Leo Sheehan, age 39, born in Dublin, was reported as the vicar; apparently a step below the top friar position of “guardian” held by Stanislaus Ryan (age 33, born in Limerick). In the 1908 photo, Bernard Kneafsey sitting next to Leo Sheehan was reported to be the “guardian”, but in 1911 Bernard, (age 39, born in Clare) was reported as a “priest” below Leo Sheehan. ... ne/353709/

The third group photo which included Brother Didacus McNamara was labeled “Father Leo Sheehan’s Jubilee” and dated circa 1956: ... lection%2F

Apparently, the assumption is that Father Leo was a novitiate in the 1906 photo, and hence his Jubilee (presumably 50th, and not 25th) was in 1956. However, this is incorrect. Notwithstanding that he would have already been an ordained priest by 1901, Leo Sheehan, O.S.F., of the friary at Merchant’s Quay, Dublin, died on 13 December 1940 at the age of 69 years old. He was part of the reformist group which began in 1888, so I reckon his Jubilee photo would be based upon his first joining the Franciscan order (as opposed to his final ordination) and thus his 50th Jubilee would be say around 1939 or 1940. He appears to be in his late sixties in the photo which supports this theory. ... 260270.pdf

County Clare born Brother Didacus McNamara, educated in Italy, was part of the reform movement of the Irish Franciscans. He also played an important role in expanding the presence of the Franciscans in Ireland in the first decades of the 20th century:

Two years after the laying of the foundation stone by Most Rev. Dr. McNamee, Bishop of Ardagh, and Clonmacnoise, the new Franciscan Church of St. Anthony erected as a memorial to the Four Masters, was blessed in Athlone on Sunday by Father Flannan O’Neill, O.F.M.

The new church which is built on an historic site associated with the Franciscan for hundreds of years, taken the place of a wooden building which has been used as a church since the old church showed signs of decay. Built upon the site of the old Friary, the new church, with its Tower and Cormac entrance, is a very imposing building. In every instance where possible, Irish products have been utilised in its building. The cost of the church so far is up to £40,000 and of that amount over £32,000 has been collected.

Great Congregation.
At the opening Mass on Sunday the large congregation indicated the popularity of the Franciscans in Athlone. People came from many miles outside the district, and when the Rev. Fr. Columba Hanrahan, the 80 years old veteran of the Community, said the first Mass, there was barely standing room for late comers.

There were many boys anxious to assist at the first Mass, just as there were Communicants fasting up to midday to be the first to receive Communion, but the honour of assisting at the opening Mass was reserved for yet another veteran of the Community in Brother Didacus McNamara, to whose energies in collecting for the church is due the fact that the balance on the wrong side is so small.

Five of the windows in the apse are by the late Mr. Henry Clarke, and like all the other work in the church, with the exception of the marble altar, are Irish products.

Guardian’s Address.
Very Rev. Father Philip, Guardian, in a short address, said it was over 700 years ago that the Franciscan found their way along the banks of the Shannon and were welcomed by the people of Athlone, where they founded a house and church. During the 700 years that had elapsed the history of the Franciscans had been the history of Ireland. It was not in any boasting spirit that he said that time and again the Irish Franciscans had dyed their brown habits and the green soil of Ireland in their martyr’s blood.

Time and again their friaries and their churches had been razed to the ground, and time and again the people had given them a new home and a new habitation. This was the fourth church the people of Athlone had to erect, and they had done it with a generosity for which he thanked them heartily.

The first Mass was offered. . .

Roscommon Messenger, Saturday, 12 December 1931 ... -westmeath

“Bro. Didicus McNamara”, Franciscan Brother, from the Friary at Athlone, died on 4 July 1947 at the District Hospital, Athlone; informant Sr. M. Gertrude, occupier District Hospital. Sheila, you may have been challenged in finding his civil death record if you had searched, as the informant wrote “Didicus” instead of “Didacus”. These two names, one a misspelling, are not equivalent for civil record searches (similar to the surnames McNamara and Mac Namara). The ancestry website, although only an index, is much more forgiving when doing a search than the irishgenealogy website. ... 210547.pdf

In October 2022 the decision was made by the Franciscan Friars to leave the town of Athlone after a presence of nearly 800 years. Their last day was 6 January 2023, although the Franciscan Church of St. Anthony would remain open with a limited mass schedule. The Franciscan housing in Athlone has been utilized for Ukrainian refugees starting in late 2023.

One of numerous articles on-line about the Franciscans leaving Athlone in 2023: ... to-athlone

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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by smcarberry » Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:26 pm

Jimbo, I usually hold back and wait for Sheila to post her reaction to one of your expository deep-background posts, but I must say that this time you have produced a model of such a one, in that I had little need to read the whole thing but did so. Your encapsulation of the Franciscans' time in Ennis is, at least for my purposes, so well done for being a brief survey of the Order's dynamics in that time period, in that section of the world. I am so glad that you have access to the breadth of online sources, which you share here through research that takes so much time and concentration to find and then sort out. You again have done a masterful job of distilling it all down to just right for this topic to be read by your fellow family historians.

One last thanks also for your mentioning that the former Fransican residence in Athlone is now being used to shelter Ukrainian refugees, a reference to a compelling present-day dynamic of importance for us. For me in particular, since my grandmother was the first-born American child of Ukrainian parents leaving behind most of their families who were later themselves forced out during the Soviet invasion of the 1940s. Thus she was here in the U.S., to marry a Carberry born to a Clare-born immigrant's son.

Sharon C.

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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Sduddy » Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:57 am

Hi Jimbo

Thank you for that history - all new to me. I'm not able to make contributions for a while, but still very interested of course.


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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Jimbo » Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:15 am

Happy Easter.

Hi Sheila, absolutely, please take care of yourself. And I am certain the search for the missing Thomas McNamara of Glandree will still be ongoing when you get back. If there is some topic of particular interest to you being discussed while you’re away from the forum, or a mistake you would like to correct, we can always discuss further later on.

Hi Sharon, thank you for the positive feedback and sharing the Irish-Ukranian heritage of your father. Not the most common of combinations in America, compared to say Irish-German, but both families being Catholic (I assume), they likely had much in common. With the large numbers of Ukrainians now living in Ireland, I suppose there will likely be more children born with the same heritage as your father.

I searched on-line for photos of the Franciscan Friary residence in Ennis and noticed how the reform of the Irish Franciscans starting in 1888 has been glossed over. An excerpt from the Franciscan website:
Bow Lane on 12th December, 1830. Following a threat by the Provincial in 1853 that he would close Ennis friary unless conditions were improved, the present site at Willow Bank House was obtained and the first mass was celebrated in the new church there on 1st January 1856. Twenty years later this building was replaced by the present church. Ennis became the official novitiate of the Irish Province from 1876 to 1902, but the history of the novitiate during this period is complex. The old medieval friary was returned to the friars as an ecumenical gesture by the Church of Ireland in 1969. ... ies/ennis/
Good grief, the history is not that complex. The Ennis Friary was not the official novitiate of the Irish Province starting in 1885 with its planned reconstruction, nor returned in 1888 when the reconstruction was complete due to an imposed reform of the Irish Franciscans, and finally returned to Ennis when the reformed Brown friars took over from the old Black friars in 1899. Then the novitiate moved to Killarney in 1902, when its friary was purchased from the English Franciscans.

At the Clare Library website, the article “Some Historic Aspects of Ennis” by Martin Breen provided the photos I was looking for and the history of the building:
Willow Bank House, which is joined to the friary (see photo) dates from the eighteenth century. It was sold to the friars in 1854 when they built their first Friary, for £300 by Edward J. Armstrong. It is a large three story, five bay house and it served as the Novitiate of the order for many years from 1877 after its renovation and reconstruction. William Carroll was also responsible for this work. ... en%202.pdf
Patrick Comerford has an interesting blog, and often visits churches, including the Franciscan Friary church in Ennis. Great photos but his summary of the Franciscan novitiates in Ennis over-simplified the timing:
Meanwhile, a new friary was completed in 1877, and the Franciscan house in Ennis remained the official novitiate of the Irish province until 1902. ... iscan.html
In taking another look at the Franciscan Friary Ennis Collection’s photo labeled “Franciscan Novitiate Group, 1905-1906”, I see now that there were eight friars/novitiates in the back row, but only five were named, ending in “Br. Damian”. The fifth friar appears older than most the others, and is surely the same friar as “Fr. Kevin O’Regan” in the photo “Ennis Franciscan Community” of 1908, sitting to Fr. Leo Sheehan’s left: ... lection%2F ... lection%2F

This brings the total novitiates in the Ennis group photo down to eleven, the same exact number mentioned in Ignatius Murphy’s history, “The Diocese of Killaloe, 1850-1904”, “When Killarney friary was purchased from the English Franciscans in October 1902 it was decided to transfer the novitiate there and eleven novices transferred from Ennis later that year”. The novitiates likely first professed after the 1901 census (31 March 1901). I reckon the photo was taken in 1902. The journal articles written by Fr. Patrick Conlan only go through 1900. In one article he does make reference that at St. Isidore in Rome, “Items from the beginning for this present century [20th] are in a box entitled “Irlanda 1900-1920”; this box which would likely provide additional details of the Ennis group of eleven novitiates.

More information of Fr. Kevin O’Regan:
244-7: Bernard Doebbing, O.F.M., Anthony Cleary, O.F.M., Joseph Kaufman, O.F.M., and Bonaventure Aherne, O.F.M., to [Luigi Canali da Parma, O.F.M., min. gen. Capranica], St Isidore’s, Rome, 10 Jan. 1891: Latin, a report on St Isidore’s College for the second semester of 1890; the community consists of the four priests mentioned above, twelve clerics (Louis Baldwin, O.F.M., Nicholas Dillon, O.F.M., Quintin Wirtz, O.F.M., Laurence O’Neill, O.F.M, Benjamin Gannon, O.F.M., Isidore O’Meehan, O.F.M., Leo Sheehan, O.F.M., Bernard Kneafsey, O.F.M., Bonaventure Staunton, O.F.M., Alphonsus Prendergast, O.F.M., Kevin O’Regan, O.F.M., and Stanislaus MacDermott, O.F.M.), seven brothers [all German sounding], and two tertiarties [more Germans]; the Lady Chapel and the Chapel of St Anthony have been restored; the remains of Luke Wadding, O.F.M., have been placed in a decent tomb; studies are proceeding normally, all lectures now being within the college and no students attending the Urbanum; each week the theology course includes four lectures in dogma, four in moral, two in scripture, two in history and one in canon law; details are also given of the course in humanities; results obtained by each student are noted.

“A Short-Title Calender of "Hibernia", Vol. 4(1889-93), in the General Archives of the Friars Minor, Rome” by Patrick Conlan; Collectanea Hibernica, No. 26 (1984), pp. 95-128 (34 pages)
Rev. Fr. Kevin O’Regan, born in Tipperary, was living at the Franciscan Friary in Ennis at the 1901 census (age 41) and at the Franciscan Friary on Liberty Street in Cork in the 1911 census (age 46). “Rev. Kevin O’Regan from Ennis, Co. Clare” died on 24 June 1946 at the age of 82 years, at the House of St. John of God in Stillurgan, Dublin (Rathdown registration). ... e/1069946/ ... th/394834/ ... 218846.pdf

Was surprised to see the above reference from 1891 that “the remains of Luke Wadding, O.F.M., have been placed in a decent tomb”. Father Luke Wadding, O.F.M., (1588-1657) “founded the Pontifical Irish College in Rome in 1628 [St. Isidore’s] for the training of Irish diocesan clergy. He followed this up in 1656 with the foundation of an Irish Franciscan novitiate in Capranica, about 70kms north-west of Rome, which remained open until 1983” – see history in link below. He is also famous for obtaining approval from Rome to make St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March an official Catholic feast day in Ireland.

The Irish Franciscan friar Luke Wadding appears on two Irish commemorative postage stamps issued on 25 November 1957 at the 300th anniversary of his death (a dark blue, 3p; and deep claret, 1 shilling 3 p). He also appears on one Irish commemorative stamp issued on 24 January 2007 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of his death. In the same issue, a second stamp commemorated the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Franciscan College at Louvain in 1607 by other Franciscan priests. The Rev. John J. McInerney of Killawinna, Doora, County Clare graduated from the Irish College at Louvain on 14 July 1901 and went to Kansas. My 2019 posting “McInerney Postcard from Killawinna to Belgium” included the 400th anniversary stamp for the Irish College at Louvain: ... f=1&t=7101

A further review of Father Patrick Conlan’s journal articles led to a Patrick McNamara who attended the seraphic college in Capranica, outside Rome, in the late 1890’s. And when it came time to profess as a Franciscan, his baptism at Kilchreest and Clondegad parish was confirmed by his parish priest, which led to his parents in County Clare and, surprisingly, to his older brother, Brother Didacus McNamara.
251: [Bernard Doebbing, O.F.M., to Luigi Canali da Parma, O.F.M. min. gen.], Rome, 28 July 1897; Latin; he applies for permission for the following students of the seraphic college in Capranica as clerical novices in the Fransiscan Order: Michael Enright, Timothy O’Brien, Patrick O’Brien, Michael Ryan, Patrick Enright, William Clifford, Patrick McNamara and William O’Shea.

260: An Exeat signed by Thomas [McRedmond], bishop of Killaloe, Ennis, 6 July 1897; Latin; a letter of freedom for Patrick McNamara to enter the Franciscan Order.

261: A statement by Robert Fitzgerald, P.P., Kilchreest and Clondegad, County Clare, 9 July 1897; English; a certificate that Patrick McNamara was born on 1 Jan. 1880 and then baptized according to the rights of the church.

262: A testimonial letter from Generoso Mattei, bishop of Nepi and Sutri, signed by Angelo Flamini, canon and chancellor, Nepi, 1 July 1897; Latin; a letter of freedom for Patrick McNamara, a student of the seraphic college in Caparanica from 1894 to 1897, to enter the Franciscan Order.

381-2: A testimonial letter, signed by Bonaventure Aherne, O.F.M., Rome, 8 Feb. 1899; Latin, Gregory Cleary, O.F.M., and Raphael O’Connell, O.F.M., were solemnly professed on 29 April 1898; Dominic Enright, O.F.M., Fidelis McNamara, O.F.M., James O’Shea, O.F.M., Julian Kuelker, O.F.M., Paschal Burke, O.F.M., Vincent Austermann, O.F.M. and Timothy Brokamps, O.F.M., were simply professed on 20 August 1898.

“A Short-Title Calendar of "Hibernia," Vol. 5 (1894-9), and of Irish Material in "Saxonia S. Crucis," Vol. 3 (1890-1900), in the General Archives of the Friars Minor, Rome” by Patrick Conlan; Collectanea Hibernica, No. 27/28 (1986), pp. 196-231
Patrick McNamara was born on 1 October 1880, the son of Sinon McNamara and Susan O’Donoghue of Leamnaleaha townland, civil parish of Kilchreest: ... 055625.pdf

And according to about 30 family trees on the ancestry website, Patrick McNamara of Leamnaleaha was the brother of Michael “Brother Didacus” McNamara. According to these various McNamara family trees, Patrick McNamara (they don’t appear aware of “Brother Fidelis”) was a Franciscan who died in Rome in 1901. Unable to verify with any record, but Fidelis McNamara disappears from the records (census, death records, and newspapers). Plus, his parents in the 1911 census were the parents of nine children, and only five were living. Since the five living children have all been accounted for (Brother Didacus, John, Sinon, Martin, James), it does appear that Brother Fidelis died prior to 31 March 1901.

Unless, of course, if Brother Didacus was not the Michael born in 1875 to Sinon McNamara and Susan Donohoe, which I reckon is unlikely. The year of birth is perfect with his age in later records. And it’s not uncommon to have two priests in one family. Plus, Brother Didacus died in 1947 leaving many nephews and nieces in Ireland (and the USA) who would likely have been told of their Franciscan uncle.

Since one uncle of the two Franciscan friars completed an 1851 census search request application in 1916, their paternal grandparents are also known. While the friars’ father, Sinon, inherited the Leamnaleah farm, three of their uncles had the occupation of baker and moved to three different towns in County Clare, with John in Kilrush, Patrick in Kilkee, and Michael in Ennis. See family tree below:

John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) and Catherine Roache (≈1806 – 1886) of Leamnaleaha Townland, Civil Parish of Kilchreest

They were married in 1837 (prior to the 1846 start of the Clondagad/Keelchrist marriage register) according to the Ireland 1851 Census Search Request form which was submitted by their son, Patrick McNamara of 22 O’Connell Street, Kilkee:

https://censussearchforms.nationalarchi ... sp?id=1369

There are no McNamara’s reported in the Tithe Apploment books, dated 19 October 1825, for “Lemnelehy” townland in Kilchreest Parish. There was a Thomas Roach in 1825; John McNamara likely “married in” to Leamnaleah when he married Catherine Roche in 1837. ... st_tab.htm

At 1855 Griffith Valuation for Leamnaleaha townland, John McNamara held two plots both with John Beecham Brady as the lessor. Plot 10 consisted of land, over 2 acres, valuation £1 and 5 shillings. Plot 11 consisted of house, office, and land; over 15 acres, valuation of £4 and 5 shillings.

A neighbor in Plot 12, was a Michael McNamara, with just a house and garden, 3 roods, valuation 14 shillings.

A John McNamara died in the 2nd quarter of 1866 at the age of 95, so born about 1771. A John McNamara died in the 1st quarter of 1867 at the age of 95, so born about 1772. Both Killadysart registration district; on-line records are not yet available. There is a possibility that either man could be the father of John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) of Leamnaleaha (and thus also the tenant of Plot 11 at Griffith Valuation).

John McNamara and Catherine Roach McNamara of Leamnaleaha died on 23 January 1886 and 23 December 1886, respectively; their son, Sinon McNamara, was the informant on both civil death records: ... 791660.pdf ... 779924.pdf

When Patrick McNamara completed the 1851 Census Search form in 1916, he reported that his parents were John McNamara and Catherine Roache of Leamnaleaha townland. As a follow-up to confirm his own identity, Patrick was requested to list his parent’s children in birth order (which was written on the side of the form). Sinon McNamara was reported as the eldest child and first born son, which makes sense as he would inherit the Leamnaleaha farm.

John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) and Catherine Roache (≈1806 – 1886) of Leamnaleah were the parents of seven children; birth years of first four children, born prior to start of baptism register, are estimated:

1.0 Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907 in Leamnaleaha)

Sinon McNamara, “age 26”, a farmer of Leamnaleaha, son of farmer John McNamara, married Susan Donohoe, age 24, of Renappa (or Reknappa), daughter of farmer Thomas Donohue, on 12 February 1872 at the catholic chapel at Lissycasey; witnesses Thomas McGrath and Sarah Donohoe (Killadysart registration). ... 145788.pdf ... a/1075861/ ... ha/359520/ ... 549399.pdf

Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907) and Susan Donohoe (≈1847 – after 1911) of Leamnaleaha were the parents of nine children, five living at the 1911 census (as well as many post-1911 grandchildren not listed):

………………… 1.1 Thomas Donohoe McNamara (1872 – 1907 in Boston, MA), no residence reported, was baptized on 16 November 1872; sponsors Pat O’Donohoe and Mary McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

Thomas McNamara, parents as above, married Irish born Agnes J. Delaney, daughter of William Delaney and Elizabeth Walsh, in Boston on 28 January 1903 (MA marriage records, 1840-1915).
Funeral of Thomas D. McNamara.
The funeral of Thomas D. McNamara, superintendent of M. O’Keeffe’s stores, was held yesterday afternoon at his late home, Edwin St., Ashmount. Delegations from the various organizations were present. The pallbearers were T. McNamara, John F. McNamara, John F. Sheehan, Patrick J. Delaney and Martin Kelley. The burial was at St. Joseph’s cemetery, West Roxbury. This morning at St. Mark’s church, Dorchester, high mass of requiem will be celebrated for Mr. McNamara.
The Boston Globe, Massachusetts, 29 April 1907 ... s-mcnamara

………………… 1.2 Michael “Brother Didacus” McNamara (1875 – 1947), was born on 20 September 1875, to Sinon McNamara and Susan Donoghue of Leamnaleagh per civil birth record (Kildysart registration). No baptism entry can be found in the Clondagad/Kilchreest baptism register. <Abbeyland, Multyfarnham, County Westmeath, House 1; Friary Lane, Athlone East Urban, County Westmeath, House 10> ... 127678.pdf

See biography of Brother Didacus in prior posting.

………………… 1.3 John McNamara (1877 – 1934 in Carrrowreagh), no residence reported, was baptized on 16 September 1877; sponsor Mary Cleary (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881). Per civil birth record his birthplace was Leamnaleha. <Leamnaleaha, Kilchreest, House 15; House 14>

John McNamara, of Leamnaleha, Lissycasey, farmer, son of Sinon McNamara, married Ellen Crowley, of Furroor, Lissycasey, daughter of John Crowley [and Bridget Conway per 1883 birth record] on 14 February 1911 at the Catholic church at Lissycasey by James Monahan, curate at Ballynacally; witnesses James McNamara and Maggie Conway (Kildysart registration). ... 614350.pdf

John McNamara (1877 – 1934) and Ellen Crowley (1883 – after 1934) do not appear to have had any children and at some point after 1911 moved to Carrowreagh townland. John McNamara, of “Carhurreagh”, farmer, married, age 56 years, died on 6 September 1934; informant was his brother, Martin McNamara of Leamnaleha (Kildysart regisration): ... 304529.pdf

………………… 1.4 Patrick “Brother Fidelis” McNamara (1880 – 1900? 1901? In Rome?), no residence reported, was baptized on 21 January 1880; sponsors Pat Kelly and Mary Finucane (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

Patrick McNamara was a student of the Franciscan seraphic college in Caparanica, outside Rome, from 1894 to 1897. He “simply professed” in Rome on 20 August 1898 as Brother Fidelis. See above sources.

………………… 1.5 Sinon McNamara (1882 – 1953 in Kildysart), residence Leamnaleagh, was born on 20 May 1882 (Kildysart registration). In the 1901, “Simon”, age 18, carpenter, was living with his Uncle Michael McNamara at Market Place in Ennis; in 1911 with his family at Leamnaleaha. <Market Place, Ennis Urban #2, House 10; Leamnaleaha, Kilchreest, House 14>

Sinon McNamara, a carpenter, of Leamnaleha, son of farmer Sinon McNamara, married Mary Pender, daughter of farmer Michael Pender, on 23 March 1927 at the Catholic church at Lissycasey by the parish priest Denis Murphy; witnesses Martin McNamara and Ellie McNamara (Kildysart registration): ... 292451.pdf

………………… 1.6 Martin McNamara (1885 – 1963 in Leamnaleaha), residence Leamnaleagh, was born on 6 February 1885 (Kildysart registration). <Leamnaleaha, Kilchreest, House 15; House 14>

Martin McNamara of Leamnaleaha was the informant on the civil death record for his brother, John McNamara of Carrowreagh townland, in 1934.

Martin Sinon McNamara, a farmer, of Leimnaleha, son of farmer Sinon McNamara, married Bridget O’Sullivan, daughter of farmer Pat Sullivan, on 25 February 1936 at the Catholic church at Ballycorick; witnesses John McNamara and Mary Ronan (Kildysart registration): ... 224968.pdf

………………… 1.7 James McNamara (1887 – 1952 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA), residence Leamnaleagh, was born on 15 September 1887 (Kildysart registration). <Leamnaleaha, Kilchreest, House 15; House 14>

James McNamara, age 25, from Lissycasey, arrived in Boston on the Franconia on 2 July 1913. His Irish contact was his mother, Susan McNamara of “Lemnaleha, Lissycasey”; his USA contact was his “cousin”, Michael O’Hare, of 19 Brooklyn St., Boston, MA.

1913 passenger listing (two pages):

James Richard McNamara and Mary Walsh were the parents of 13 children in Waltham, MA, including the Rev. Eugene P. McNamara. See McNamara memorials on the findagrave website (below link) which include photos and obituaries. The Rev.’s obituary names all 12 of his siblings. One minor error, James Richard McNamara died in 1952 (per social security record), his son, James Richard McNamara, Jr., died in 1954. ... d_mcnamara

………………… 1.8 Sarah McNamara (1890 – 1891), residence Leamnaleagh, was born on 7 August 1890 (Kildysart registration). Sarah died at 5 months on 15 January 1891 (Kildysart registration).

………………… 1.9 Unknown McNamara, parents of 9 children, 5 living in 1911 census (not 27-year old “Ellen” in 1911 census, she was the wife of John McNamara, 1.3 above).

2.0 Mary McNamara (≈1840 – 1913 in Ennis)

Mary McNamara, “age 54”, in the 1901 census was living at Market Place in Ennis in the household of her younger brother, Michael McNamara, a baker. In the 1911 census, Mary McNamara, age 71, was still living with her brother at Market Place, she proudly reported her birthplace as “Leamnaleaha, Co Clare” (transcribed as “Leisnna ?”, correction submitted). <Market Place, Ennis Urban #2, House 10; House 11> ... e/1069648/ ... ce/353447/ ... 487015.pdf

3.0 John McNamara (≈1843 – to NJ back to Kilrush – died 1891 in Jersey City, NJ)

John McNamara married Catherine Griffin about 1866 in New Jersey according to family histories. They had at least two children (Margaret and Michael) in New Jersey and returned to Clare by 1868, when the first of their six Irish born children were baptized in Kilrush Parish. They lived first at Henry Street, then later Frances Street in Kilrush. John’s occupation was “baker” in the civil birth records of his children.

“Mary” McNamara (age 35), and her children, Margaret (11), Michael (10), Mary (9), Delia (8), John (6), Catherine (5), Agnes (3), and Patrick (11 months) arrived in New York on the ship Italy on 24 May 1882.

1882 Passenger Listing:

I could not find the passenger listing for John McNamara. A son, Simon, was born in New Jersey on 2 March 1883, so there is a very narrow window for John’s arrival in the USA. Two more children were born in New Jersey.

4.0 Patrick McNamara (≈1845 – 1919 in Kilkee)

Patrick McNamara, “age 26”, a baker living in Kilrush, son of farmer John McNamara (alive), married Mary Kelly, age 26, of Labasheeda, daughter of farmer Martin Kelly (alive), on 6 April 1872 at the catholic chapel at Labasheeda; witnesses John McNamara and Mary Kelly (Killadysart registration). ... 149934.pdf

In Guy’s Directory of 1893, Patrick McNamara of Frances Street in Kilkee was listed as a Baker. In the 1901 census, Patrick McNamara was Albert Road in Klkee was a “Master Baker” and in the 1911 census living at O’Connell Street, occupation of “Publican”. When Mary Kelly McNamara died in 1920 she was reported as “Widow of Patrick McNamara, Baker”. Patrick McNamara (≈1843 – 1919) and Mary Kelly (≈1843 – 1920) were the parents of eight children, seven who were surviving as of 1911 (see census links for children). <Albert Road, Kilkee, House 144; O’Connell Street, Kilkee, House 14> ... chants.htm ... _/1079764/ ... et/364947/ ... 422120.pdf ... 411719.pdf

5.0 Michael McNamara (1846 – 1942 in Ennis), of Lamenaleha, was baptized on 20 October 1846; sponsors Bridget Roache and James Roache (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

Michael McNamara, “age 27”, a baker living in Ennis, son of farmer John McNamara (alive), married Mary Green, age 26, a milliner living in Ennis, daughter of farmer Francis Green (dead), on 14 February 1879 at the catholic chapel at Ennis; witnesses Martin Honan and Mary McNamara (Ennis registration). ... 046431.pdf

In the 1881 Ennis city directory, Michael McNamara had a bakery on Market Street, one of ten bakeries in Ennis. Michael McNamara was living at Market Place in Ennis with his family and sister Mary, in both the 1901 and 1911 census; his occupation was baker. In the 1911 census, he reported his birthplace as “Leamnaleaha, Co Clare” (transcribed as “Limerick, Co Clare”, correction submitted). <Market Place, Ennis Urban #2, House 10; House 11> ... e/1069648/ ... ce/353447/ ... 307258.pdf ... 244834.pdf

Michael McNamara (1846 - 1942) and Mary Green (≈1853 - 1934) of Market Street were the parents of five children, four surviving at 1911:

………………… 5.1 Margaret McNamara (1880 – 1969) was informant at death of sister, Mary, in 1943. Margaret McNamara, of 15 Upper Market Street died on 7 October 1969 at the age of 89 years; informant Thomas Quinlivan, occupier of 15 Upper Market Street (Ennis registration). Not sure where living in both 1901 and 1911 census years.
………………… 5.2 Frank McNamara (1881 – 1941) of Market Street died on 21 March 1941 at the age of 58 years old; informant his sister (scribbled, either Mary or Margaret). <Market Place, Ennis Urban #2, House 10; House 11>
………………… 5.3 Mary McNamara (1883 – 1943) was informant in 1942 at death of father. Mary McNamara of Market Street died on 1 March 1943 at the age of 58 years old; informant her sister, Margaret McNamara. <Market Place, Ennis Urban #2, House 10; House 11>
………………… 5.4 Jane McNamara (1885 – 1929), of Market Street, died on 23 March 1929 at 41 years old; informant her sister (scribbled, either Mary or Margaret). <Market Place, Ennis Urban #2, House 10; House 11>
………………… 5.5 Catherine McNamara (1889 – 1889), of Market Street, died on 16 June 1889 at 5 months old; informant her mother, Mary McNamara (Ennis registration). Unknown civil birth record.

6.0 Anne McNamara (1848 – unknown), of Leamanalha Beg, was baptized on 16 September 1848; sponsors Martin McNamara and Bridget McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

7.0 Martin McNamara (1850 – 1924 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, MA?) of Lamenaleha, was baptized on 16 July 1850; sponsors John McNamara and Kate McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

A Martin McNamara, age 31, born in Ireland, was living in Canaan, Columbia County, NY, with his newlywed wife (Mary Callahan, age 27, NY born) in the 1880 census. By the 1900 census, they were the parents of six children, five surviving. Was Martin the youngest son of John McNamara and Catherine Roache of Leamnaleaha? No marriage record in NY or MA as a source which might name the parents of bride and groom. Martin McNamara died in Pittsfield, MA, just across the NY-MA state line from Canaan, and the ancestry website only has a death index for Berkshire County with no parents listed. However, Family Search does have the actual death record for Martin McNamara who died on 15 April 1927 at the reported age of 76 years. It was completed by daughter Mabel who reported her grandfather as “John McNamara” and grandmother as “Cannot Be Learned”.
Martin McNamara, aged 76 years, died yesterday afternoon at his home, 103 Francis avenue. The past two years Mr. McNamara has lived in this city coming from Canaan, N.Y., where he had been a farmer. His wife died six years ago. The survivors are three daughters, Misses Anna, Julia, and Mabel, all of this city, and two sons, Edward J. of this city, and John of West Stockbridge. The funeral will be held on Friday morning from St. Joseph’s church. Burial will be in the family plot in St. Patrick’s cemetery in West Stockbridge.
The Berkshire County Eagle, Pittsfield, MA, 16 April 1924 ... n_mcnamara


Father Patrick Conlan, O.F.M., wrote that in 1888 after the Irish Franciscan novitiate was transferred to Italy and a rigorous training program had been set up, that “special teams were sent back to Ireland to recruit”. The two McNamara brothers from Leamnaleaha townland were not the only future Franciscan friars from Clondagad Parish as two more were recruited from nearby Lissycasey townland. A total of four Franciscan priests originated from the immediate vicinity of Fanny O’Dea’s famous hostelry located half-way between Kilrush and Ennis. Surely, I reckon, the Franciscan recruiting team must have stayed at Fanny O’Dea’s when looking for new recruits. Incredibly, one of the two Franciscans recruited from Lissycasey was another McNamara and the great-grandson of the famous Fanny O’Dea.

To be continued,

Posts: 595
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:43 am

Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Jimbo » Sun Apr 14, 2024 6:35 am

Susan Donohoe McNamara, who died sometime after 1911, erected a headstone to honor her husband, Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907) at Kilchreest Graveyard (transcriptions donated by Ballynacally I.C.A.):
Erected by Susan MCNAMARA
In memory of her beloved husband
Who died 26th Mar 1907 aged 68
R.I.P. ... ctione.htm
Its location in the Kilchreest graveyard at E52 was adjacent to another McNamara headstone located at E53:
Erected by Martin McNamara Leimnaleha
In memory of his dear father
Who died Jan. 26th 1904 aged 86
Also his loving mother
Margaret McNamara
who died Mar. 9th 1907 aged 72
Their son Martin
died Dec 11th 1938 aged 71
His wife Mary
died Feb. 21st 1963 aged 88
Was Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907) of Leamnaleaha a close relation to Martin McNamara (≈1819 - 1904) of Leamnaleaha? Aside from the close proximity of their graves, a Boston passenger listing from 1930 provided an additional clue that the two men buried next to each other might indeed have been related. When a grandson of Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1904) arrived in Boston in 1930 his USA contact was his “cousin”, the son of Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907), who lived in Waltham, Massachusetts.

If indeed related, the two men would have been second cousins. Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1904) was very likely the son of Mary McNamara (≈1783 – 1882) based upon her death record. So if the “second cousin” theory is correct, then Sinon’s father, John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) was also a son of Mary McNamara (≈1783 – 1882):

Mary McNamara (≈1783 – 1882) was the mother of Martin McNamara, and possibly John McNamara:

1.0 John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) & Catherine Roache (≈1806 – 1886) of Leamnaleaha
………….. 1.1 Sinon McNamara (1839 – 1907) & Susan Donohoe (≈1847 – after 1911) of Leamnaleaha
……………………………… 1.1.7 James McNamara (1887 – 1952) of 55 Tomlin St, Waltham, MA

2.0 Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1904) & Margaret Kelly (≈1835 – 1907) of Leamnaleaha
………….. 2.1 Martin McNamara (1871 – 1939) & Mary McNamara (1874 – 1963) of Leamnaleaha
……………………………… 2.1.3 Martin McNamara (1905 – 1982) arrived in Boston in 1930 going to his “cousin”, James McNamara of 55 Tomlin St., Waltham, MA

Is the “cousin” relationship noted in a USA passenger listing of an Irish immigrant very reliable evidence? Perhaps not. Here is an example of a “cousin” relationship which appears to be dubious. When James McNamara, later of 55 Tomlin St., Waltham, first arrived in Boston in 1913, his Irish contact was his mother, Susan McNamara, and American contact was his “cousin”, Mike O’Hare of Boston.

Michael Hehir was born in September 1880, the son of Patrick Hehir and Susan Clohessy per Clondagad parish records. Patick Hehir (1850 – 1915) was the son of Michael Hehir and Ellen Scanlon. Susan Clohessy was the daughter of Michael Clohessy and Bridget Connellan. James McNamara of Leamnaleaha would have known Michael Hehir as a neighbor in the same parish, but how could they have been “cousins”?

In conclusion, I reckon more evidence is required to prove that John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) was the brother of Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1907) despite the proximity of the McNamara headstones and the cousin relationship reported in a 1930 passenger listing.

Four sons of Martin McNamara and Margaret Kelly would immigrate to Chicago. One of the four disappeared. Despite Illinois death records for the other three, which correctly named their parents, their descendants are still challenged to trace their roots back to Ireland with any confidence. In census records, the Irish born McNamara’s fibbed their ages by 10 or even 15 years, and this was also reflected in their death records. Another challenge, when Michael McNamara died in Chicago the death record was reported as “Mc Namara” with a space. The ancestry website does not equate “McNamara” with “Mc Namara” (the reverse is okay), so it would be very difficult to discover that this Michael was the son of Martin Mc Namara and Margaret Kelly as reported in his death record.

The ancestry website now provides “suggestions” which has led to many errors in the McNamara family trees. For example, they “suggest” that Patrick McNamara born in 1903, the son of Martin McNamara and Mary McNamara of Leamnaleaha, who also went to Chicago, was the Patrick born in Crusheen in 1903 to Patrick McNamara and Bridget Duffy. The ancestry “suggestion”, an error, unfortunately gets copied from tree to tree. It was 100 times easier to trace the McNamara families forward from Ireland, with knowledge of accurate birth years as well as parents and siblings, than trying to trace backwards.

When land cancellation books and the early civil death records become available on-line, these records might prove or disprove the family relationships noted below:

Mary McNamara (≈1783 – 1882) of Leamnaleah Townland, Civil Parish of Kilchreest

Mary McNamara was a tenant at Leamnaleaha townland at 1855 Griffith Valuation; Plot 5Ab; lessor, John Beecham Brady; house, offices & land; 1 acre, 3 roods, 17 perches; valuation £14 and 15 shillings. Her neighbors were James Finucane (John) at 5Aa, and James Finucane (Morgan) at 5Ac. These three tenants of 5Aabc, sublet 5Ad, a house valued at 5 shillings, to Bridget Sullivan.

Mary McNamara also shared Plot 6 in Leamnaleaha, two acres of Land (waste) that held no value, with four others: James Finucane (John), James Finucane (Morgan), James McNamara, and Martin McNamara. These five tenants sublet Plot 6a, House, valued at 5 shillings, to John Sheehan.

The husband and maiden name of Mary McNamara are both unknown. The Griffith Valuation sharing of land in Plot 5 and Plot 6 might be evidence of family relationships. A good chance her maiden name might have been Finucane?

Mary McNamara, of Leamnaleaha, a farmer’s widow, age 99 years, died on 26 July 1882; informant was Martin McNamara of Leamnaleaha, not reported but surely her son (Kildysart registration). ... 834803.pdf

Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1904 in Leamnaleaha)

Unknown marriage to Margaret Kelly prior to 1849.

Martin McNamara was a tenant at Leamnaleaha townland at 1855 Griffith Valuation, sharing Plot 7ABCD with James McNamara; lessor, John Beecham Brady; house at 7Db, office & land; over 54 acres; valuation £8 and 2 shillings. James McNamara, with a house at Plot 7Da, had valuation of £8 and 6 shillings.

Martin McNamara, of Leamnaleaha, married, farmer, age 80 years, died on 26 January 1904; informant Maggie McNamara, daughter present at death at Killadysert. Margaret McNamara, of Leamnaleaha, a farmer’s widow, age 72 years, died on 9 March 1907; informant Thomas Lillis, West Clare coroner. Both Kildysart registration: ... 585111.pdf ... 552025.pdf

Martin McNamara (≈1821 – 1904) and Margaret Kelly (≈1835 – 1907) of Leamnaleaha, were the parents of 13 children. Three children likely died in infancy or very young. Three surviving daughters did not marry and ended up in Killadysart Town. Four sons lived in Chicago. One son, Martin, married and remained on the farm. The whereabouts of two sons (John and James) are a complete mystery; born prior to the 1864 start of civil death records, they may have died young or maybe they also went to Chicago or Boston. ... a/1075854/

1.0 Michael McNamara (1849 – 1921 in Chicago), of “Lameneleha”, was baptized on 17 February 1849; sponsors John McNamara and Winifred Kelly (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

“Michael MacNamara”, a blacksmith was living with his brother, “Murty MacNamara”, a clerk, in the 1885 city directory for the Town of Lake (Lake Township, later SW portion of Chicago) at 4061 Seneschalle. In the 1887 Chicago city directory, Michael McNamara, blacksmith, was living at 4078 Scheneschalle.

There were many men named Michael McNamara living Chicago (over 10 in the 1887 directory), but the distinguishing feature for Michael McNamara was his occupation as a blacksmith. In the 1896 Chicago directory he was living at 4729 S. Elizabeth; in 1910 at 1347 West 71st Place; and 1916 at 1254 West 72nd. In the 1900 census, both Michael McNamara (“age 45”) and his son, Thomas, were blacksmiths.

Michael McNamara had arrived in the USA in 1875 according to the 1900 census; his arrival was prior to Ellis Island with its more detailed records. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen, but only an index is available for Illinois naturalizations with very little information (no arrival year or ship). Michael McNamara (1849 – 1921) married Mary Murphy (≈1865? - 1920) about 1881 and they were the parents of six children:

………………… 1.1 Nellie McNamara (age 18 in 1900)
………………… 1.2 Thomas McNamara (age 15 in 1900, died in 1926)
………………… 1.3 Anne McNamara (age 13 in 1900)
………………… 1.4 Catherine McNamara (age 12 in 1900)
………………… 1.5 Alice McNamara (age 6 in 1900)
………………… 1.6 Unknown McNamara (in 1910 census, parents of six children, five living)

Mary Murphy McNamara, of 1254 W. 72nd Street, Chicago, born in Ireland, “age 52” [unlikely, given 18 year old son in 1900], spouse of Michael McNamara, died on 3 August 1920. Her father was reported as “Patrick Murphy” and mother as “McCarthy”.

Cook County death index:

Michael McNamara, of 7221 May Street in Ward 32, “age 62” (in fact, age 72), born in Ireland, retired blacksmith, widowed, husband of Mary, son of Martin McNamara and Margaret Kelly, died in Chicago on 15 July 1921; burial at Mt Olivet; informant not reported on index.

Cook County death index (note: the family tree he is attached to is loopy)

2.0 Thomas McNamara (1850 – 1927 in Chicago), of “Lameneleha”, was baptized on 1 December 1850; sponsors James McNamara and Anne O’Dea (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

When his nephew, Patrick McNamara (son of Martin McNamara), arrived in New York on the SS Carmania on 13 September 1925, his USA contact was uncle Thomas K. McNamara, of 4209 Emerald Avenue, Chicago, Illinois (see 12.1 below).

Thomas McNamara, of 4209 Emerald Avenue, “age 58” (in fact, age 76), born in County Clare, Ireland, laborer, single, son of Martin McNamara and Margaret Kelly, died in Chicago on 17 November 1927; burial at Holy Sepulchre; informant Patrick McNamara (not reported, but his brother who lived on Emerald Avenue).

Cook County death index:

3.0 Martin McNamara (1852 – died prior to 1862), of “Lameneleha”, was baptized on 30 August 1852; sponsors Murty Kelly and Bridget Shea (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

4.0 Susan McNamara (≈1854 – 1930 in Killadysert), the Clondagad and Kilchreest baptism register has a missing page from September 1853 to January 1855. Martin McNamara and Margaret Kelly very likely had a child born between August 1852 and January 1856. Susan McNamara was the baptism sponsor for her young brother, Martin, in 1871. She was living with her parents, two sisters, and single brother in the 1901 census at the reported age of “33 years”. By 1911, her brother had married and Susan and her two sisters had left the household and moved to Killadysert Town. <Leemnaleigha, Kilchreest, House 7; Killadysert Town, Killadysert, House 36>

Susan McNamara, shopkeeper, of Kildysart, “age 75”, died on 24 July 1930; informant her nephew, John McNamara (Kildysart registration). ... 330669.pdf

5.0 Mary McNamara (1856 – died prior to 1869?), of “Lameneleha”, was baptized on 8 January 1856; sponsor Margaret Reily (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

6.0 John McNamara (1857 – unknown), of “Leimnaleha”, was baptized on 22 April 1857; sponsors Mary Kelly and Martin Kelly (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

7.0 James McNamara (1859 – unknown), of “Leimnaleha”, was baptized on 31 March 1859; sponsors Margaret Kelly and Martin Kelly (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

8.0 Martin McNamara (1862 – likely died as infant), no residence reported, was baptized on 29 September 1862; sponsor Mary Kelly (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

9.0 Patrick McNamara (1865 – 1933 in Chicago), no residence reported, was baptized on 1 March 1865, mother reported as “Bridget Kelly”; sponsors Martin McNamara and Mary Kelly (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

Patrick McNamara, “age 36”, married Katherine Gallagher, age 32, in Chicago on 27 November 1907 (per Cook County marriage index, 1871-1920). Katherine Gallagher was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on 25 July 1875, the daughter of Irish born Michael Gallagher and Catherine Morris (source her Illinois death record).

Cook County marriage index:

After Patrick McNamara moved to Chicago he reported his year of immigration on census reports as 1880 in 1910, 1891 in 1920, and 1888 in 1930.

The McNamara’s lived at 5540 Elizabeth Street in 1910 and on Emerald Avenue in 1920. Patrick McNamara’s brother, Thomas, died at the Emerald Avenue address in 1927, and Patrick was the informant.

Patrick Mc Namara, of 6623 S. Sangamon St., a stationary fireman, “age 53” [should be “age 68”], born in County Clare, son of Martin Mc Namara and Margaret Kelly, spouse Catherine, died in Chicago on 18 August 1933. Burial at Holy Sepulchre. Note: when searching on ancestry for the civil death record you must have the space in “Mc Namara”; not necessary on the Family Search website:

Cook County civil death index:
McNAMARA—Katherine McNamara (nee Gallagher), loving wife of the late Patrick K., fond mother of Joseph Jr. and Mary Katherine. Funeral Friday at 9:30 a.m. from residence, 6623 S. Sangamon St., to St. Brendan’s Church [1889-1989]. Interment Holy Sepulchre.

Chicago Daily News, 18 February 1942 ... e-mcnamara
Cook County civil death index:

Patrick McNamara (1865 – 1933) and Katherine Gallagher (1875 -1942) were the parents of two children born in Chicago:

………………… 9.1 Joseph Emmett McNamara (1909 – after 1950), born 10 December 1909 per WWII registration.
VALPARAISO, Indiana—… Joseph McNamara, accountant, 810 Lincoln Way, and Mary A. Doran, 423 North Notre Dame avenue, South Bend; …
The South Bend Tribune, South Bend, Indiana, Sunday, 29 November 1936
Indiana marriage index:

Why Indiana? Did they elope? They most likely, I reckon, met at the wedding of Joseph’s Irish born cousin, Patrick McNamara, who married Mary’s sister, Josephine Doran, on 27 June 1936. The Doran sisters were the daughters of Patrick Doran, an ex-R.I.C. sergeant, whose family arrived in Boston on 2 September 1923 (following the Irish Civil War) and settled in Chicago. Joseph McNamara and Mary Angela Doran were the parents of three children born in Chicago:
……………………………… 9.1.1 Joseph Patrick McNamara (age 12 in 1950)
……………………………… 9.1.2 Mary K. McNamara (age 10 in 1950)
……………………………… 9.1.3 William J. McNamara (age 4 in 1950)

………………… 9.2 Catherine McNamara (≈1912 – after 1942)

10.0 Mortimer McNamara (1867 – to Chicago - unknown), no residence reported, was baptized on 27 February 1867; sponsors Thomas Mack and Mrs. Kelly (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881). Per civil birth record, birthplace was “Leamnaleha”.

“Murty MacNamara”, a clerk, was living with his brother, “Michael MacNamara”, a blacksmith, in the 1885 city directory for the Town of Lake (Lake Township, later SW portion of Chicago) at 4061 Seneschalle.

A “Mortmer J McNamara”, born in Ireland, became a naturalized U.S. citizen on 17 October 1894 in an Illinois court. “Mortimer McNamara” is not a common name in the USA or Ireland. He appears again in Chicago in 1903 being taken away in a “paddy wagon”, but his later whereabouts are a mystery.
Patient Recently Discharged from Isolation Hospital Alarms Residents of the North Side.

Mortimer McNamara, who was discharged from the isolation hospital three days ago as cured of smallpox, created consternation among a crowd of residents in the vicinity of State and Ontario streets yesterday afternoon because they thought he was still suffering with the disease. McNamara was forced to seek shelter in a hallway of the Studio building at State and Ontario streets, and for nearly ten minutes Sergeant Fitzgerald and Patrolmen Massesweet and Kenny stood guard on the sidewalk. When Inspector Campbell and Lieut. Handly arrived they saw at once a mistake had been made. The patrol wagon was then summoned and McNamara was taken to the East Coast avenue station.

Chicago Tribune, 1 March 1903

11.0 Mary “Margaret” McNamara (1869 – 1932 in Killadysert), no residence reported, was baptized on 14 March 1869; sponsors James McNamara and Anne McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881). Living with her parents in 1901. Margaret and her two sisters left the household by 1911 and were living in Killadysert Town. <Leemnaleigha, Kilchreest, House 7; Killadysert Town, Killadysert, House 36>

Margaret McNamara, shopkeeper, of Kildysart, “age 68”, died on 29 December 1932; informant her niece, Susan McNamara (Kildysart registration). ... 314701.pdf

12.0 Martin McNamara (1871 – 1939 in Leamnaleaha), no residence reported, was baptized on 2 February 1871; sponsors John McNamara and Susan McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881). <Leamnaleaha, Kilchreest, House 7; House 6>

Martin McNamara, farmer, of Leamnaleha, Lissycasey, son of Martin McNamara, married Maria McNamara, daughter of Timothy McNamara [and Mary Hogan per 1874 birth/baptism] of Carrowreigh West, Cranny, on 1 February 1902 at the Catholic chapel at Cranny by the curate Michael Hayes; witnesses Martin Kelly and Margaret Lorigan (Kildysart registration): ... 736099.pdf

Martin McNamara (1871 – 1939) and Mary McNamara (1874 – 1963) of Leamnaleaha were the parents of nine children born in Leamnaleaha, Clare:

………………… 12.1 Patrick McNamara (age 8 in 1911) <Leemnaleaha, Kilchreest, x; House 6> was born on 7 February 1903 (Kildysert registration).

Patrick McNamara, age 22, born in Lisseycasey, arrived in New York on the SS Carmania on 13 September 1925; Irish contact his father, Martin McNamara, of “Leamnehela”, Lisseycasey; USA contact, his uncle, Thomas K. McNamara, of 4209 Emerald Avenue, Chicago, Illinois (see 1.2 above).

Patrick McNamara, age 35, of Chicago, became a naturalized U.S. citizen on 16 November 1939, reporting his birth on 7 February 1903 in “Lumnaleha, Lissycasey, Ireland”; arrival in New York on 13 September 1925 on the Carmania; and marriage on 27 June 1936 to “Josephine”.

Naturalization Photo: [add later, no space]

Marriage of Patrick McNamara, age 33, to Josephine Doran, age 33, in Chicago on 27 June 1936. (He is not the Patrick McNamara of Chicago married to Josephine Blum of German heritage).

Josephine “Bridget” Doran was the sister of Angela Doran, who married Patrick’s American born cousin, Joseph E. McNamara, in November 1936. The Doran sisters were the daughters of Patrick Doran, an ex-R.I.C. sergeant, whose family arrived in Boston on 2 September 1923 (following the Irish Civil War) and settled in Chicago.
Patrick McNamara, beloved husband of the late Bridget [Josephine] McNamara, nee Doran; devoted father of . . . [one daughter, two grandchildren, one great grandchild] . . . loving brother of James, John and Susan [Hehir], all in Ireland, the late Martin, of Boston, Michael, Nellie and Catherine, all of Ireland and Sr. Anslen [Anselm?], of England. . . . Funeral . . . St. Rene Church. Mass 9:30 a.m., interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Native of Leamnaleha, County Clare, Ireland.

Chicago Tribune, Saturday, 28 September 1985
………………… 12.2 Michael McNamara (age 6 in 1911) <Leemnaleaha, Kilchreest, x; House 6>

………………… 12.3 Martin McNamara (age 5 in 1911) <Leemnaleaha, Kilchreest, x; House 6> was born on 18 October 1905 (Kildysert registration).

Martin McNamara, age 24, of Lissycasey, Co. Clare, arrived in Boston on 16 August 1930 on the ship Karlsruhe. He was going to his cousin, James K. McNamara, of 55 Tomlin Street, Waltham, MA (see 1.7 in prior posting). Irish contact was his father “Patrick McNamara” of Lissycasey, which was clearly a mistake. Two years later, Martin McNamara completed his Declaration of Intent to become a U.S. citizen in September 1932, stating his birth in County Clare on 18 October 1905, and arrival on the Karlsruhe on 16 August 1930 (given birth date, the Martin McNamara on the Karlsruhe was definitely the son of Martin McNamara of Leamnaleaha).

1930 passenger listing:

In November 1936, Martin McNamara visited family in County Clare, returning to Boston on 22 March 1937 on the SS Scythia. He reported his birthplace as Ennis, Co. Clare; Irish contact as his father “M. McNamara of Lissycasey”; USA contact continued to be his cousin, James K. McNamara, of 55 Tomlin Street, Waltham, Massachusetts. He was traveling with a fellow Boston resident and his future wife, Hannah Fleming, age 23, originally from Castleisland, Co. Kerry. Their U.S. reentry permits (neither were U.S. citizens) were issued on the same date prior to trip, so they didn’t meet on the ship.

1937 passenger listing:

Martin and Hannah McNamara, still Irish citizens, along with their three American born children, visited Ireland in 1950, returning to New York (and then Boston) on the SS America on 7 December 1950. Martin McNamara, born 18 October 1905, finally became a U.S. citizen on 20 May 1957. Martin visited Ireland again, this time returning to Boston on Pan American Airlines on 12 August 1959.

1950 passenger listing:
McNAMARA—In South Boston, July 7, Martin, beloved husband of Hannah M. (Fleming), beloved father . . . [of three children] . . . Brother of Patrick of Chicago, IL, James and John McNamara and Mrs. John Hehir, all of County Claire, Ireland. Also survived by six grandchildren. Funeral from the O’Brien Funeral Home, 146 Dorchester St., SOUTH BOSTON, Saturday at 8. Funeral Mass at St. Augustine’s Church . . .

Boston Globe, Friday, 9 July 1982 ... n_mcnamara

………………… 12.4 Margaret Mary McNamara (age 3 in 1911) <Leemnaleaha, Kilchreest, x; House 6> was born on 29 June 1907 (Kildysert registration). She must be the late “Sr. Anslen, of England” in the 1985 obituary of her brother Patrick McNamara of Chicago. More likely a “Sister Anselm”?

Searching the 1939 England and Wales Register (tip: never specify a birthplace), Margaret McNamara, born on 29 June 1908, was a school teacher and “R.C. Sister”, one of four nuns, living at Sloperton House Cottage in Devizes, Wiltshire, England.

Given the location of the convent in the small town of Devizes, Margaret McNamara must have been a member of the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy. The France based teaching order opened an Indian mission in 1849 and an English mission in Devizes in 1864 (only leaving in 2021 according to the order’s history): ... to-devizes

………………… 12.5 Catherine McNamara (age 3 in 1911) <Leemnaleaha, Kilchreest, x; House 6>

………………… 12.6 Ellen McNamara (age 1 in 1911) <Leemnaleaha, Kilchreest, x; House 6>

………………… 12.7 John McNamara (1911) was born on 10 June 1911 (Kildysart registration). He was informant at the death of both parents as well as his aunts, Susan McNamara, in 1930, and Catherine McNamara in 1946.

………………… 12.8 Susan McNamara (1913) was born on 12 February 1913 (Kildysart registration). She was informant at the death of her aunt, Margaret McNamara, in 1932.

………………… 12.9 James McNamara (1914) was born on 13 August 1914 (Kildysart registration).

13.0 Catherine “Kate” McNamara (1872 – 1946 in Killadysert), no residence reported, was baptized on 2 July 1871; sponsors James McNamara and Margaret McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881). Living with her parents in 1901. Catherine and her two sisters left the household by 1911 and were living in Killadysert Town. <Leemnaleigha, Kilchreest, House 7; Killadysert Town, Killadysert, House 36>

Catherine McNamara, an “Independent Lady”, of Kildysart, age 73, died on 25 November 1946; informant, John McNamara (not reported but her nephew). Kildysart registration): ... 213864.pdf


At Griffith Valuation for Leamanleaha townland, the above Martin McNamara (≈1821 – 1904) shared Plot 7 with a James McNamara, both with a valuation of about £8. Who was this James McNamara of Leamnaleaha, and was he related to either Martin McNamara (≈1821 – 1904) or John McNamara (≈1806 – 1886)?

To be continued,

Posts: 1830
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:07 am

Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Sduddy » Sun Apr 14, 2024 3:22 pm

Hi Jimbo,
Great work on the Leamnalehy McNamaras. In my experience two graves adjacent to each other, with same surname on the headstones, is enough to show that the two families were closely related. And I do not doubt that Martin was indeed a cousin of James, who was living in Waltham, MA. Great research by you on the descendants.

Posts: 595
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:43 am

Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Jimbo » Wed Apr 24, 2024 9:30 pm

Sacred to our honoured parents
and to our little brother

In life eternal crowned with bliss
Be ye so gently good in this
E’en distant days with pride will tell
Your noble traits revered farewell

Michael and Mary

Michael A MacNamara B.L.
Died 12 May 1928

Kilchreest Graveyard transcriptions at Clare Library donated by Ballynacally I.C.A.: ... ctione.htm
Sheila, I agree that the proximity of headstones at Kilchreest graveyard of Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1907) and Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907), the son of John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) likely point to a close family relationship. This is also supported by the cousin relationship reported in the 1930 passenger listing of Martin McNamara going to Waltham, Massachusetts.

Of course, the inverse is not necessary true: the fact that the headstone at E93 for James McNamara (≈1825 – 1892) of Leamnaleaha appears to be distant in Section E from the headstones of Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1907) at E53 and Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907) at E52 does not mean that they were not closely related. In logic, “If p, then q” does not mean that “If not p, then not q”. And, upon further research, there is evidence of a close relationship between the families as when James McNamara died in 1892 the informant on the civil death record was his nephew, Patrick McNamara, of Leamnaleaha. But, unfortunately, it is not very clear who the Patrick McNamara in 1892 could have been with any certainty:

1) Patrick born about 1845, the son of John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) and Catherine Roache (≈1806 – 1886). Patrick was a baker living with his family in Kilkee and unlikely to have been the informant in 1892 living in Leamnaleaha.

2) Patrick born in 1865, the son of Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1904) & Margaret Kelly (≈1835 – 1907). Patrick would later settle in Chicago. On census reports he stated his year of arrival in the USA as early as 1880 (in 1910 census) and late as 1891 (in the 1920 census). Both years might be dubious. Patrick McNamara is a very common name and the early passengers listing from 1892 / 1893 provide little detail. The Illinois naturalization index records include many Patrick McNamara’s, but again have little detail as far as year of arrival.

3) Patrick born in 1880, the son of Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907) and Susan Donohoe (≈1847 – after 1911), grandson of John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) and Catherine Roache (≈1806 – 1886). If related, he would be grand-nephew. Patrick would go to Rome in 1894 and later became a Franciscan (“Brother Fidelis”). But I reckon he was too young in 1892 to be an informant on a civil death record. Although I also think he was too young to go to Rome at the age of fourteen to join the Franciscans, so I could be wrong about the death record.

Further research into the descendants of James McNamara (≈1825 – 1892) provided more clues of family relationships between the McNamara families of Leamnaleaha:

James McNamara was a tenant at Leamnaleaha townland at 1855 Griffith Valuation, sharing Plot 7ABCD with Martin McNamara; lessor, John Beecham Brady; house at 7Da, office & land; total valuation £8 and 2 shillings. Martin McNamara, with a house at Plot 7Db, had a total valuation of £8 and 6 shillings. The land at Plot 7ABCD totaled 57 acres, 20 perches. Not really clear how the land was divided between James and Martin; Plot 7D had a valuation of £8 and 15 shillings, which was greater than the total valuation for either James or Martin. ... ha%3C/b%3E

Does the sharing of Plot 7ABCD indicate a close family relationship between James McNamara (≈1825 – 1892) and Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1907)?

James McNamara also leased in Plot 8 over 32 acres of Land only; lessor John Beecham Brady; valuation £7 and 5 shillings.

As mentioned in the prior McNamara of Leamnaleaha family trees, James McNamara also shared two acres of Land only (Plot 6) with James Finucane (John), James Finucane (Morgan), Mary McNamara, and John McNamara. Lessor was John Beecham Brady, zero valuation.

A different James McNamara was a tenant of a house and small garden at Plot 17, a little over ½ an acre, valued at only 8 shillings; lessor was Morgan Finucane.

Anne McNamara, of Leamnaleah, married, farmer’s wife, age 60 years, died on 18 December 1882; informant was her son, Michael McNamara (Kildysart registration). James McNamara, of Leamnaleha, widower, farmer, age 67 years, died on 24 October 1892; informant his nephew, Pat McNamara, present at death in Leamnaleha (Kildysart registration). ... 831842.pdf ... 712700.pdf

James McNamara (≈1825 – 1892) and Anne “Nancy” O’Dea (≈1822 – 1882) of Leamnaleaha, unknown marriage, were the parents of three children:

1.0 Michael McNamara (1853 – 1928 in Dublin), of “Lameneleha”, was baptized on 9 March 1853, mother reported as “Anne O’Dea”; sponsors Michael McNamara and Margaret McNamara (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

Michael McNamara of Leamnaleha was the informant on the death record for his mother, Anne McNamara, who died in 1882. He was not the informant when his father died in 1892. I suspect he may have been away at university or training to become a barrister.
Hilary sittings will open on Saturday. There will be five new barristers called, viz.:—1. Mr. Michael Augustus Macnamara, only son of Mr. James Macnamara, late of Leimnaleha, in the County of Clare, farmer, deceased. Certificate signed by Mr. W. F. Kenny. To be proposed by Mr. Sergeant Campion. Mr. Macnamara obtained a certificate of honour at the honour examination held in October, 1895, and takes rank accordingly. 2 . . .

Belfast News Letter, Friday, 10 January 1896
In the 1901 census, Michael A. MacNamara, age 41, not married, “practicing Barrister”, was living at House 8 in Leamnaleigha. His relationship to the head of household (John Maloney, a herd and agricultural labourer”) was “employer”. The name of the leaseholder on the House and Building Return (form B1) for House 8 was reported as Michael MacNamara. Their neighbor in House 7 was Martin MacNamara (see family tree in prior posting). ... a/1075855/
One of the largest meetings held for some time in the West was held here on Thursday at Lissycasey, under the auspices of the United Irish League. There was an immense concourse of people from all over the constituency, and their enthusiasm was unbounded. . . . Those present—. . . M A M’Namara, B L etc.

Cork Examiner, Saturday, 30 November 1901
In the 1901 census, Michael A. MacNamara was reported to be a speaker of both Irish and English.
One of the [Gaelic] League Organisers, Mr O’Hanrahan *, has been lately visiting Clare, which contains a very large proportion of Irish-speaking people. It is pitiable to read how the language has been boycotted by the people themselves, and it is oftentimes very difficult to get native speakers to converse in Irish. Mr O’Hanrahan says he met near Labasheeda Mr M A MacNamara, B.L., who is a fine Irish speaker. MacNamara is a splendid type of cultured Gaelic scholar; he is not unknown in Meath which he visited a couple of years ago, and is well remembered in Newry for his eloquent lecture on Gaelic about twelve months ago. He is now preparing a series of important essays and lectures, and as Mr MacNamara is careful, studious and eloquent, his contributions to Gaelic thought and literature will command much attention.

Drogheda Independent, Saturday, 17 Mary 1902

* Peadar O h'Annrachain (1873 – 1965): ... ch%C3%A1in
Two years later in September 1904, Michael A. MacNamara finally got his work published.
Mr. M.A. Macnamara writes a pamphlet in verse and in prose, of “Kilkee the Grand.” He thus bursts into song, suggested by a classic Iernian Meldody.
Nor sea nor stone by artists planned,
No lauded scene no fairy land;
Not austral flood by coral strand,
Nor where the sun doth night command.
The purple tide by Gods adored,
The climes Genoa’s lord explored,
Nor region brighter can afford,
Thy glory, pale Kilkee the grand.
Mr. Macnamara’s prose is more intelligible than his verse, but, fortunately, the bewildered reader is helped out by a few explanatory annotations. These, as the writer is careful to explain, are not put forward as a matter of consequence, but merely as mites of what remains to be discovered on the coast of Clare and elsewhere throughout Eire, and as examples of the derivation of names of places from sources which are probable and from arguments that are rational.
Neither are the few sketches I have drawn exhaustive of the scenic wonders that are ever present round the Coast of Clare, especially in the winter time. Mountains being of greater dimensions, it might be expected that their vastness would excite our feelings to a greater extent, but their greatness is without life or change (save, indeed, what is caused by the clouds), and too remote to be impressive; while the precipice is at hand in awful grandeur, and the ocean with life and power and passion; the sublimity of the latter is apparent without any effort of the imagination—they stir up a pleasing dread, mingled with a tireless admiration.
The writer is enthusiastic, if not always quite coherent.

“Kilkee the Grand.” Epic lines, laudatory and descriptive of the Coast of Clare, with topographical and other notes. By M.A. Macnamara, Barrister-at-Law. Arranged as solo and chorus by A.D. Fitzgerald. Galway: O’Gorman and Company.

Weekly Irish Times, Saturday, 24 September 1904
Not the strongest of reviews, but I searched on-line anyway to obtain all the verses of the poem “Kilkee the Grand”. Was unsuccessful, but the National Library of Ireland has a copy in their collection which will require a visit to Dublin to view:

The Spring 2017 issue of the Irish Arts Review in an article on Nathaniel Hone (painter of Kilkee landscapes) by Julian Campbell, the poem “Kilkee the Grand” gets a brief mention, although it incorrectly identifies the poem’s author as a woman.
In 1892, not long after Hone’s visit, the narrow-gauge railway was extended to Kilkee. The town now became more accessible to tourists. Percy French was prompted to write his humorous song about the West Clare Railway, Are you right there Michael, are you right? in 1897, and Miss M A McNamara her poem ‘Kilkee the Grand’ in 1904.
A google search of “M A McNamara” leads to a photo in the NLI collection commissioned by “Miss M A McNamara” of Kilhile (in County Wexford) which I reckon was the source of the error in the Irish Arts Review. Regardless, the article is very interesting as it tells of the increasing popularity of Kilkee as a resort for tourists (see postcard mailed on 13 August 1906 from Kilkee to Mountanville House in Dublin requesting an old evening coat belonging to the son of the Lord Chief Baron Palles on page 34 of this thread). ... &start=495

In the 1911 census, Michael McNamara, age 55, single, “B.L. (Practicing)”, was a lodger at the Abbey Hotel in Ennis which was then run by William Keane. ... et/353178/

In June of 1912, M. A. MacNamara, B.L., was one of several individuals interviewed in Ennis by the Departmental Committee on Agricultural Credit in Ireland about offering credit facilities to small farmers in County Clare. The link below contains the entire long interview, below are excerpts specific to his land holdings and views on the current situation in Clare:
Ennis. 12 June 1912
Mr. M. A. MACNAMARA, B.L., Lissycasey, Ennis, examined.

8055. THE CHAIRMAN.—You are a barrister, but are engaged in farming, Mr. Macnamara, I understand?—I have scarcely any practice at the Bar. I am engaged in farming, I may say.

8074. How far do you live from Ennis?—About eleven Irish miles.
8075. What is the size of your farm?—About 74 Irish acres, but I sold about ten acres recently.
8076. For the enlargement of your neighbours’ farms?—Yes.
8077. What kind of farming to you follow?—Grazing entirely, I may say.
8078. So you don’t do any cultivation?—Very little, I have a herdsman on the farm, and he tills a little. I have been living on the farm a good deal for the past twelve years, but I hope I won’t be in it very much in the future.
8079. You do not like farming?—I do.
8080. You don’t find the associations pleasant?—I do. I think it is a very nice occupation, and I think it would pay very well, too.
8081. In what condition are the farmers around your neighbourhood?—The greater part of them are fairly well off. There are not more than ten percent in a struggling way.
8082. What is about the average size of a farm?—About twenty Irish acres.
8083. Do these people cultivate much of their holdings?—No; there is very little tillage in Clare. They cultivate a little, but unfortunately, I think, they depend too much on the shop. They could produce a good deal on their farms, but they are tempted and induced to buy more than they need.

8087. Would it not pay better for them to cultivate a few more acres of land and raise more fodder?—Yes, but, as I said before, there has been a great lack of industry for the past twenty-five or thirty years. The country is rather disturbed. The young boys don’t like to work. They want to go to America.
8088. Mr. GILL.—They have to work when they go there?—They have.
8089. The CHAIRMAN.—They don’t like to work at home?—No. They used to work far better in my earlier days than they do at present.

8130. Mr. GILL.—Although they might know what to do, they don’t do it [cultivation]?—No, they don’t.
8131. And they don’t do it [cultivation] because, you say, the country is unsettled?—Yes; because, within my own recollection, the people were very industrious in the old days and tilled more, and did their tilling a great deal better, but since the agitation commenced there is less industry. Of course, there were a few bad years. There was a necessity for the agitation then, but it is still going on.
8132. The CHAIRMAN.—Is much of the land sold in Co. Clare?—Less than half.
8133. Once the land is disposed of and the occupiers become the owners, you think things will settle down?—Certainly, I think the country will never be settled, until the other half of the tenants who have not bought their holdings, have purchased.
8134. Mr. BAILEY.—To what do you attribute the fact that so much of the land is not purchased?—The Act of 1909, which deprived the landlords of the terms they had under 1903. There are very few landlords willing now to sell.

Source: Report of the Departmental Committee on Agricultural Credit in Ireland, Volume 2
By Ireland. Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. Committee on Agricultural Credit ... ra&f=false
Six months after his testimony noting that County Clare was “unsettled”, Michael A. MacNamara, in a shocking outrage, was maliciously attacked in his own house just as he was about to have his “tea” (“dinner” in the USA):
Of an Attack on His House

At a Special Court at Ennis Courthouse on Tuesday, Mr. M’Elroy, R.M., presiding, James Gavin, Patrick Kelly, Michael Clancy and Michael Sheehan appeared, Clancy on bail, the others in custody, charged with the attempted murder of Mr. M. A. MacNamara, B.L. [Barrister-at-Law], at Leamnalehy on January 9th.

Mr. MacNamara was the first witness. He deposed—I remember January 9th, and since November 22nd I have been residing at my place at Leamnalehy alone. On that evening I fed my cattle. When finished it was beginning to grow duskish. I went back to the house and was getting some tea. I latched and bolted the door and closed the shutters of the windows. When the tea was ready I went into the room of the kitchen to take it. Just as I was about to have the tea I heard hurried footsteps coming to the outside door and an attempt made to open it. . .
. . . open it. I went near it and said, “Who is there?” A voice answered, “A friend.” I said, “What friend?” and the same voice answered, “It is all right,” or words to that effect. I then said, “What is your name?” There was a slight pause, during which I heard a whisper from another party, and the same voice said, “Siney Mack.” I said, “That is not Siney Mack.” The voice said it was. I then heard a second voice attempting to imitate Siney Mack’s voice repeating the name. I then said, “That is not Siney Mack’s voice, and I’ll not let you in.” I went. . .
Evening Irish Times, Wednesday, 5 February 1913
I went and took my revolver from the bedroom, quickly slipped the bolt off the door and said, “Come in now if you like.” I did not open the door. I went inside the door of the bedroom, where I had a commanding view of the outside door and where I was partly protected.

Mr. Cullinan—Before going for the revolver or taking the bolt off the door had you recognise the voice of the person who had been speaking outside? I had, absolutely.

Mr. Cullinan—The name who spoke the most whose voice was it? James Gavin’s, the prisoner here [the son of Martin Gavin of Lavally townland].

Is he anything to any of the other prisoners? He is brother-in-law to Patrick [who married Bridget Gavin, daughter of Martin Gavin, in 1908], and related to the Sheehan, too [Michael Sheehan was born in April 1894, the son of Thomas Sheehan and Mary Clancy of Tonlegee townland. Mary Clancy was the daughter of James Clancy and Catherine Gavin, and possibly the sister of Michael Clancy, “a returned American” who was let out on bail and not tried. Thus, Martin Gavin and Catherine Gavin Clancy, I reckon, were siblings].

Had you known Gavin’s voice previously? I had.

Continuing, witness said that after he went to the door of the bedroom the door was opened.

Did anyone come in? Yes, a rather small person, a boy—I mean not full-grown man [in fact, Michael Sheehan was 18 years old]. He was stout, low-sized, thick-set, with a peculiarity about his legs and walk.

How did he come in actually? He came in almost sideways, with a good deal of his back towards me, with a right shoulder forward. He came in quietly and slowly. Just then I heard other steps outside, which possibly took my attention off him for an instant. I saw the fire of the shot and felt wounded in the left hand.

“If I Had I Would Have Shot Him.”

Did you see any firearm with him? No. If I had I would have shot him. That’s what saved him. He had the firearm artfully concealed at his left-hand side.

Mr. Cullinan—Did you fire a shot from the revolver? I did; a second or two after the gunshot I fired a shot from the revolver, and the man ran away.

Were you in Jail street, Ennis, on January 29 last? I was.

And did you see there the boy who came into your house on January 9th and fired the shot at you? I did.

Who was that boy? Michael Sheehan, the prisoner here.

After the man or boy ran out of your house that night what did you do? I went cautiously to the door and went outside and looked around. I could see no one. I returned to the house again and shut the door. About a minute or possibly a little more after I heard either two or three shots, two in rapid succession, and the kitchen window was broken and shutters forced in. I remained inside for about half an hour, my revolver in my hand, and after that I went to the house of James Finucane, about three hundred yards away, to get my hand dressed. I remained at Finucane’s until the police, who were sent for, came. A car was then procured and I was brought to the County Infirmary.

In all, about how many grains of shot struck you? In all, about thirty-three or thirty-four.

The witness was then examined as to the trouble he had with the prisoner Kelly over a field which he had purchased close to his house from a brother of the Siney Mack whose name had been mentioned. Kelly had been decreed for stabling a brother of Mack’s, and witness had summoned him several times for trespass. He had been awarded compensation for malicious injury on the same field. His herd had left him on account of a threatening letter. On one occasion Kelly had abused him.

The witness was cross-examined by Mr. Lynch.

The Chairman remanded Kelly, Gavin, and Sheehan without bail, and Clancy was allowed to renew his bail.

Weekly Freeman’s Journal, Saturday, 8 February 1913
Five months later at the Cork Assizes, with similar testimony, the “jury convicted Sheehan and Gavin with firing with intent, and acquitted Kelly. His Lordship said owing to the very serious shooting cases in County Clare he would have to impose a sentence of twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour on Gavin and Sheehan. Kelly was discharged.” (Northern Whig, Tuesday, 22 July 1913)

1926 Irish Census: TBD in April 2026.

Michael A. MacNamara of Leamnaleaha died on 12 May 1928 according to his probate records and headstone at Kilchreest graveyard, but I could not locate the civil death record (likely under an unusual transcription of his name, perhaps written in Irish).
MACNAMARA Michael Augustus of Leamnalaha, Liscasey, county Clare, died 12 May 1928 at The Mater Misericordia Hospital, Dublin; Administration, London, 15 February, to Mary Macnamara, spinster. Effects £4,102 and 10 shillings in England.

England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administration), 1858 – 1995; [source: ancestry website].

2.0 Martin McNamara (≈1854 – prior to 1864?), likely born between August 1853 and January 1855 which has no baptism entries in the Clondagad and Kilchreest baptism register. “Our Dear Little Brother Martin” per family headstone as noted at the start of this posting.

3.0 Mary McNamara (1856 – 1942 in Dublin) of “Leemnaleha”, was baptized on 1 October 1856, mother reported as “Nancy O’Dea”; sponsors Mary Meehan and Pat Donohue (Clondagad and Kilchreest baptisms, 1846-1881).

Not sure where Mary was living in 1901. Mary MacNamara, “age 50”, farmer’s daughter, appears to have been living by herself in Leamnaleaha townland in House #7 the 1911 census. ... ha/359513/

However, on the Form B.1 “Household and Building Return”, under the column “No. of distinct Families in each House” it states “2” for House #7; and House #8, was left blank. Clearly, Daniel McGrath, age 77, occupation “Is a Heard”, living in House #8 with his wife, three children, and two granddaughters, was working for the MacNamara’s of House #7. Daniel McGrath, of Leamnaleha, labourer, died at the age of 78 years on 23 October 1911 (Kildysart registration). ... ha/359514/

1926 Irish Census: TBD in April 2026.

Mary MacNamara was named as the beneficiary in the probate records upon the 1928 death of her brother, Michael A. MacNamara (as noted above). I am fairly positive that she was the Mary McNamara, single, age 86 years, who died at St. Joseph's Asylum for Aged and Virtuous Single Women at Portland Row in Dublin on 5 December 1942 and who, according to the probate records, was fairly well-to-do: ... 245777.pdf
MACNAMARA Mary Margaret of St. Josephs, Portland-row, Dublin, spinster, died 5 December 1942. Probate Liandudne, 24 March, to the reverend Francis Kenny, clerk, and John Redmond Peart, solicitor. Effects £588 3s. 3d. in England.

England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administration), 1858 – 1995; [source: ancestry website].


Regarding the 1913 attack, some newspaper accounts reported that “Siney Mack” was the “nickname of Simon McNamara, well known to be a friend of Michael McNamara” (per Northern Whig of 22 July 1913). Other accounts were more specific: “Simon Macnamara, mentioned as a relative of witness’s, was a brother of John Macnamara, to whom witness [Michael A. MacNamara] sold a portion of his land last year” (per Irish Independent of 5 February 1913).

“Simey Mack” or "Siney Mack" must be Sinon McNamara born in 1882 to Sinon McNamara (≈1839 – 1907) and Susan Donohoe (≈1847 – after 1911) of Leamnaleaha. And the John McNamara, who Michael A. McNamara sold land to, was their son born in 1877. John McNamara had married Ellen Crowley on 14 February 1911, and was living with his parents and siblings in the 1911 census, so timing would be good to get his own farm sold to him by Michael A. McNamara.

What was the motive for the attack on Michael Augustus MacNamara, B.L., of Leamnaleaha? The Resident Magistrate at the February 1913 magisterial investigation provided his theory which was only printed in a few Irish newspapers:

His Worship [Mr. McElroy, the Resident Magistrate] said that there was one fact quite certain, and that was, that on the night of January 9 Mr. Macnamara was murderously assaulted in his own house. Mr. Macnamara was not under any “delusion” about that at all. That act was not done by strangers. Apparently, it was done by people living in his own district, and who were well acquainted with him and his friends. What was the reason why he should be attacked in this way? Of course, he knew that in this county sometimes crimes were committed without any apparent motive out of pure wantonness, but he could not think that that was what had occurred in the present case. Mr. Macnamara in his evidence had referred slightly to politics, but his Worship threw that out of the case altogether. He did not think that this attempt was made on account of Mr. Macnamara’s politics. Whatever else happened in Clare, so far as his experience had gone, no one was attacked on account of his politics or his religious opinions. But the case was not without motive. Having referred to some points in the case, his Worship, continuing, said that the procedure in some of the cases of outrage was something like this: A man takes a violent fancy to a field occupied by a neighbor. Probably he had no claim to it, legal or otherwise; he does not go to consult a lawyer about it because legal or wise advice is the last thing that a client of this sort desires. But there is another class of practitioner in this county. There is the expert moonlighter, and this is the gentleman who is consulted by the client on such occasion. The unfortunate object of the expert’s attention finds his house fire into, perhaps the thatch is set on fire over his head, and the heads of innocent women and children; dumb animals are killed or maimed, walls are thrown down, hay is burned, and the county is saddled with taxation for malicious injuries and extra police. And it is a mistake to say that these outrages are arising out of dispute between landlord and tenant. There are disputes between landlords and tenants still, but I think, said his Worship, nine out of ten of these cases, plainly and above ground, arise out of petty, private causes, private disputes about land. What is the use of having new land laws? What is the use of having security for farmers in this country, of rooting farmers in the soil, if they are to be treated in this way? No farmer in this county at present could be secure in his title for a day, no farmer could know the day when some pretext would not be made for raising an agitation about his farm . . .

Evening Irish Times, Monday, 17 February 1913
The speech by the Resident Magistrate makes it sound like it was simple greed by the Moonlighters in attacking M. A. MacNamara of Leamnaleaha. Initially, I thought the accused were just being bullies in first threatening the herdsman to leave his employment and then attacking MacNamara in his home. But the situation and motives might be more complicated. At the time of his 1912 interview, Michael A. MacNamara stated that he had a farm of 74 Irish acres and that he had recently sold 10 acres. Clearly, MacNamara was the owner of his land, likely purchased under the 1903 Land Act. But how did he acquire 84 Irish acres? The conversion of Irish acres to British acres (that used at Griffith Valuation) is a multiple of 1.62, so Michael A. MacNamara had owned a whopping 136 statutory acres of land. At 1855 Griffith Valuation, his father, James McNamara (≈1825 – 1892), only held about 62 acres (32 acres in Plot 8; and about 30 acres in his ½ holding of Plot 7). As a barrister-at-law and a “literary gentleman” of some wealth, did Michael have a greater ability to navigate the 1903 Land Act compared to a less educated farmer, and thus greatly increase his land holdings? Would his neighbors have considered him to be a “land grabber”? Perhaps gaining title to land that had been previously considered common land? And why was his act of selling 10 acres of land to John McNamara so contentious? When the land cancellation books become available on-line, it will be interesting to see how Michael A. MacNamara had doubled the family holdings from the time of Griffith Valuation.

In 1914, M.A. MacNamara had published a small pamphlet with a very long title, “Patriotic verses in support of the union of the Albion Isles!: With ethnological and topographical notes, in proof of the brotherhood of Angles, Celts, and Britons”. The NLI has the pamphlet in their collection; I could find no mention of it in any newspaper. His political opinions were likely long-standing ones and depending upon how vocal Michael was in his support of the union of Ireland and Britain, it may have been a contributing factor to his attack in 1913. There could be more than one motive.

The Kilrush Board of Guardians took the side of the two young men who were accused of attacking MacNamara and sentenced to one year imprisonment. This lack of support for the victim of the attack must have been very upsetting to Michael A. MacNamara.

Mr Kelly read the following letter in reference to the guardians’ resolution for the release of the Lavalla prisoners:—
Dublin Castle
31 January, 1914
Sir—I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th instant in the case of James Gavan and Michael Sheehan, and to acquaint you that his Excellency’s decision shall be duly communicated to you.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,

[To:] The Clare of the Union, Kilrush.
Mr Carmody—This is a reply to the resolution passed last week.
Clerk—Yes, the resolution was forwarded to the Lord Lieutenant.
Chairman—No decision has yet been arrived at.
Mr Talty—That has yet to come.
The subject dropped.

Kilrush Herald and Kilkee Gazette, Friday, 13 February 1914
After being convicted on 20 July 1913, the Cork Prison Register reported that James Gavin (age 27, 5 foot 9, of Kilcrease, Kildysart, son of Martin) was sent to Limerick Prison on 24 July 1913. Michael Sheehan, age 18, 5 foot 4, of “Thongalee”, son of Thomas) was sent to Mountjoy Prison on 15 December 1913. I could find no further prison records as evidence that either man was released early from their sentence of 12 months of hard labor.

Some twenty years later, one of the submissions from the School’s Collection discussed a “great shooting” that took place at Leamanleaha townland:
The name of my townland is Leamnaleha. The reason it was called that is the leap of a wild animal off Kelly's Forth into Mr. Macnamara's field. There is a small field near my place called Besse's Haggard. The reason it was called that is, an old woman lived there long ago called Bess. There is a river near me also called Breaffa river. The reason it was called that is, Breaffa is the name of the Townland in which it is. There is a small lake in the next Townland to called Burren lake. It is called that because Burren is the name of the place in which it is. The people of my place and of the place around me are small farmers. Some of the land is bad and more of it is good. Long ago there was a great shooting there. It was an old Councellor that was shot. He had a big farm of far [fair?] land, and he sold some of it and that was the cause of the shotting [sic]. He was not killed but he had to go away from it to America. Then his sister came home and took up the place. Five or six years ago she sold it. They are both dead and buried now.

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0605, Pages 070 to 071
The stories in the Schools’ Collection were gathered from 1937 to 1939, so surprised that the Leamnaleaha shooting was considered “long ago” as only some 25 years had passed. I suppose from a child’s perspective, an incident from 1913 would have been a long time ago. This story was one of 87 stories collected by Micheál Ó Cochláin, the school teacher at Tonlegee (adjacent to Leamnaleaha). Unlike submissions I’ve read from other schools, unfortunately the names of the student and the storyteller being interviewed were not reported. Discovering the location in Leamnaleaha townland of the “small field near my place called Besse's Haggard” would certainly narrow the field of who the above storyteller might have been.

Michael Augustus MacNamara died in 1928, and I believe Mary McNamara died in 1943, so “they are both dead and buried now” was not quite true. Nor do I believe that Michael A. MacNamara “had to go away from it to America”. There is no evidence of his going to America and as a man of substantial financial means he would only need to move to Dublin to avoid any difficulties in County Clare. He does appear to have kept a lower profile throughout the latter part of the 1910’s, but reappears about 1921 as a frequent newspaper contributor of new articles regarding the Irish language.

In 1922, M. A. MacNamara published “Authentic derivations of place-names in County Dublin traced and explained with the aid of real evidence.” [Dublin: Cahill & Co., Ltd., 1922, 145 pages]. He clearly did not have “to go away from it to America” after the 1913 attack but had moved to Dublin.

After the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed on 6 December 1921, M. A. MacNamara, B.L., penned an article in the Evening Herald (Dublin) of 28th of December entitled “The Signatories: Gaelic Names to the Anglo-Celtic Treaty”. The treaty had induced him “to give an outline of the etymology and connotation of the Gaelic signatures to that historic document”. He then explains the etymology of the Irish names for Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, Eamonn Duggan, and George Gavan Duffy. At the 100th anniversary of its signing, RTE News provided a short and interesting news segment (see below link); at the 2:50 mark is the signatory page. The Irish signatories all signed in Irish, with Arthur Griffith also writing his name in English in parentheses. Arthur Griffith’s signature in Irish is scribbled and I’m unfamiliar with the Irish script, so not sure if it is the same as “O Griobhtha” (“descendants of a valiant princely race”) as described in M.A. MacNamara’s news column.

In an interesting connection, Father Leo Sheehan , the Franciscan Friar who appeared in several group photos taken in Ennis, which included Brother Didacus McNamara (1875 – 1943), was the brother-in-law of Arthur Griffith. Mary “Maud” Sheehan, daughter of Peter Sheehan (merchant), married Arthur Griffith on 24 November 1910 at St. John the Baptist in Clontarf, Dublin; the officiating priest was her brother, Fr. Leo Sheehan, O.F.M. ... 636955.pdf


Was James McNamara (≈1825 – 1892) of Leamnaleaha closely related to either Martin McNamara (≈1819 – 1907) or John McNamara (≈1809 – 1886) of Leamnaleaha? Could they possibly have been three siblings? Further evidence of their relationships could be determined from the land records, specifically the cancellation books documenting how the Leamnaleaha lands were passed down between generations.

And there were two men named James McNamara in Leamnaleaha townland who were leasing a house at the time of 1855 Griffith Valuation (when an Irishman typically only had one house). Who was the other James McNamara in Plot 17 with the house and small garden sub-leased from Morgan Finucane?

To be continued,

Posts: 1830
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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Sduddy » Mon Apr 29, 2024 12:48 pm

Hi Jimbo,
I enjoyed reading about Michael Augustus MacNamara, who was unusual in those times in having attended university. He comes across as a bit pompous; his poetry was certainly very pompous.
His mother was Anne (Nancy) O'Dea, but she's Mary on the headstone. Could Michael Augustus have made a mistake? No, I think the inscription must be too weathered to read.

Posts: 595
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:43 am

Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Jimbo » Wed May 08, 2024 4:53 am

Hi Sheila,

Yes, I agree that the O’Dea headstone likely states “Nancy”. An “N” in an old weathered headstone can look like an “M”, and if the “y” was clearly visible, “Mary” would be a very good bet for the transcription.

The first verse of “Kilkee the Grand” is very pompous and I suspect was never actually recited or sung by anyone. It does not appear in the Clare Library’s extensive song collection. The brief mention of the poem in the 2017 Irish Arts Review article was accurate in that M. A. MacNamara was likely prompted to write “Kilkee the Grand” due to the increasing popularity of Kilkee as a tourist destination. However, as far as popularity of the poem, it’s not anywhere in the same league as “Are you right there, Michael, are you right?” by Percy French which the author of the Irish Arts Review article by including both in the same sentence appears to have elevated it to.

I also agree with you that Michael A. MacNamara was unusual in obtaining a university education in his era. But I had to chuckle as this Michael is the third barrister in County Clare we’ve come across in the past few years and they are all named “Michael MacNamara”. You will recall in the thread “John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892”, we discussed the (completely unrelated) family of Captain Michael MacNamara (≈1781 - 1859) and Mary Finucane (≈1791 - 1859) of Greenpark, Ennis, including their son, Michael MacNamara (1819 – 1900):

We regret to have to announce the death of Mr. M. Macnamara, Green Park, Ennis, one of the oldest solicitors in Clare, which took place on Sunday after a few days' illness. Mr. Macnamara was born in 1819 on the voyage from St. Helena, where his father, Captain Macnamara, of the 60th Rifles, had been for some time as one of those in charge of Napoleon [not true, as discussed in posting, see link below]. After serving his time to the late Mr. M. Cullinan, Ennis, he was admitted to practice at the Hilary Sessions, 1842. The funeral will take place from the Cathedral at 12 o'clock.

Irish Independent, Tuesday, 16 January 1900
Michael MacNamara (1819 – 1900) of Green Park had a son, Michael Joseph MacNamara (1875 – 1943), who was also a solicitor.

MacNamara of Green Park family tree discussed here: ... 3&start=45

After Michael A. MacNamara, B.L., was shot at in his own home at Leamnaleaha, according to his testimony at the magisterial investigation, he “went to the house of James Finucane, about three hundred yards away, to get my hand dressed. I remained at Finucane’s until the police, who were sent for, came.” It is interesting that both MacNamara families of Leamnaleaha and Green Park have in common solicitors and a Finucane connection.

Upon further research into the newspaper archives, the magisterial investigation into the shooting of M. A. MacNamara in 1913 went into a second day which provides us with further significant evidence:
ENNIS, Wednesday Night.

The magisterial investigation into the shooting of Mr. Michael A. Macnamara, B.L., advanced another stage to-day, when Michael Clancy (on bail) and Michael Sheehan, James Gavin, and Pat Custody (in custody) were again brought up before Mr. George M’Elroy, R.M., at the County Courthouse.

John Finucane gave evidence that on the night of the occurrence he met a man on the road going towards Leamnalehy Cross, to whom he spoke, but got no reply. He could not say who the man was.

Liberty to cross-examine was given, and Mr. Cullinan then questioned witness from a statement which had been given to the police, and which he had signed, in which he said the man was in his opinion Pat Kelly, the tea-man.

Witness admitted he made the statement. He spoke to the man as being Kelly from his appearance. He could not know him when he did not answer.

Mr. Cullinan then questioned witness as to a statement made to his father and mother the same night, when he was told Counsellor Macnamara was shot that “it should have been Kelly who shot him, as it was he that I met on the road.”

Witness admitted that he made the statement.

In cross-examination by Mr. Daly, witness said his father had not been good friends with Kelly for some years.

Thomas O’Dea, a farmer, said that Kelly came to his house about 6 o’clock on the night of the shooting, and remained there until 9 o’clock. He had taken last year a field which had been the cause of disputes between Mr. Macnamara and the prisoner Kelly, and he gave it up subsequently.

Why did you give it up? There was some previous trouble about it, and I did not want to get mixed up in it. I took it again in October, and I gave it up again.

Were you afraid to keep it? I was not. My wife and friends did not want to have anything to do with it.

John O’Dea, a farmer, was examined by Mr. Cullinan as to a conversation he had with Gavin in Ennis in reference to the field in question.

By Mr. Daly—Witness [John O’Dea] said he was a cousin of Mr. Macnamara. The statement referred to by Mr. Cullinan was made in the presence of Mr. Macnamara and Sergeant Comiskey on the road last Sunday. He was “coerced” to make it by the Sergeant.

Mr. Cullinan asked witness on his oath had Gavin used threatening language towards Mr. Macnamara.

Witness made no reply.

The question was repeated several times, and eventually the Chairman said he should commit him if he did not answer.

The witness said he should decline to answer.

The witness, at last, amid much laughter in court, said the women tell the secrets on both sides.

Witness then detailed the conversation, in the course of which Gavin, he stated, said he would get boys for £5 “to do so and so.”

Mr. Cullinan—To do what? I don’t know (laughter).

To do what? To give him a clitter (loud laughter). To give him a slap.

Was “slap” the word he used?

Witness at first said he did not know, and then said it was the very word.

Medical and police evidence was given, and Mr. Cullinan then applied for the discharge of Clancy, against whom there was not sufficient evidence to warrant his being sent to trial.

Clancy was then discharged, and the other prisoners were again remanded in custody.

Dublin Daily Express, Friday, 14 February 1913
The witness John Finucane must be the son of James Finucane whose house M.A. MacNamara went to after being shot, about three hundred yards away according to MacNamara’s testimony on the previous day. In the 1911 census, John Finucane (age 31) was living with his father, James Finucane (age 68) in House #10 in Leamnaleaha townland. ... ha/359516/

James Finucane, of Leamnaleaha, age 22, son of James Finucane, had married Honor McMahon, age 19, daughter of Michael McMahon, on 11 February 1866. One witness was a Sinon McNamara, who must be the Sinon (≈1839 – 1907), son of John McNamara and Catherine Roache of Leamnaleaha. The other witness was a John McNamara, who might possibly their other son, John, born about 1843. If so, then this John McNamara soon left for New Jersey where he was known to have married Catherine Griffin about 1866, fathered two children in New Jersey, and then returned to Clare when a son was born in Kilrush in December 1869. The timing is a bit rushed, so the other witness might be John McNamara (≈1809 – 1896), the father of Sinon McNamara. ... 8239135.pdf

At 1855 Griffith Valuation for Leamnaleaha townland, there were two households with a James Finucane, so not obvious which one belonged to the father of James Finucane who married in 1866 and whose house Michael A. MacNamara went to in 1913:

Plot 5Aa, James Finucane (John), as in “son of John”
Plot 5Ac, James Finucane (Morgan), as in “son of Morgan”

Michael A. MacNamara was the son of James McNamara of Plot 7Da; who shared lands with Martin McNamara of Plot 7Db. In viewing the map that accompanies Griffith Valuation, it becomes more clear which Finucane house the injured Michael went to in 1913. Michael MacNamara’s house at Plot 7Da was closest to James Finucane’s house at Plot 5Aa; Martin McNamara at Plot 7Db was about twice the distance in the opposite direction. After Plot 5Aa was Plot 5Ab, then Plot 5Ac, all fairly close to each other.

A Morgan Finucane died in 1868 at the age of 90 years old in Killadysert Parish. I suspect the informant on this civil death record (when it becomes available on-line) will be Thomas Finucane (≈1825 - 1915) of Leamnaleaha House #9 in the 1901/1911 census reports, who with Catherine McMahon had children between 1858 and 1879. Thomas Finucane married prior to 1864, so there is no civil marriage stating his father, but the 1868 death record might note the family relationship of the informant to Morgan Finucane. ... a/1075856/ ... ha/359515/

Mary McNamara at Griffith Valuation at Plot 5Ab lived between the two Finucane households at 5Aa and 5Ac. There is a good chance that this Mary McNamara (≈1783 – 1882), who from her death record was likely the mother of Martin McNamara (≈1818 – 1904), was a Finucane.

John Finucane in his witness testimony referred to the accused, Patrick Kelly, as “the tea-man”. A term I had never heard of. A search of the 1901 Irish census for all of Ireland with “tea” as the occupation led to 1,560 results. Common variations were “tea traveller”, “tea agent”, “tea merchant”, “commercial traveller, tea trade”.

A google search led to a youtube clip of “The Tay Man” by the Irish storyteller Eamon Kelly which explained the origins of the “tea-man” in Ireland (and told a funny story):
And we go back now to the time when tea was introduced in Ireland, and the Irish people took to drinking tea like ducks to water. Well it wasn’t available in the shops, when it came out first, but men used to go from house to house with a pony and trap selling the tea and they were called “tay men”. Now it so happened that a tay man put up with a husband and wife in a single roomed house in which there was only one bed . . .
A search of The Schools’ Collection on the duchas website led to several stories of how the “tea-man” was not always a welcome visitor:
The Tea Man.
Long ago the Tea man used to go through out the country selling tea. He was a very unwelcome visitor by everybody.

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0731, Page 247
About twelve years ago a traveller named Hennigan was going about selling tea. He came to Brennan's house which is now owned by Traynors, Corran, Rososerk. There were two sisters in the house Mary and Brigid. They were fed up with him coming to sell tea. Mary said to Brigid when he comes in tell him I'm gone to town and you know nothing of the business. Then Mary hid under the kitchen bed. When the tea-man arrived he asked "Where is Mary"? Brigid replied "She is gone to town", he then asked "Will she be long away"? Says Brigid "Wait till I see" and over she walks to the bed, lifted the valance and asked "Will you be long away Mary"?

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0145, Page 83
How the tea was first sold.
Long years ago before tea was to be got so handy in shops as it is to day. Men used to drive around in big high cars selling it. They stopped at every house and forced the people to buy some whether they were willing or not. They used to walk into everyones house and leave them a certain amount of tea and the next week they would call for the price of it. Very often the poor people could not afford to buy any but all the same the supply was left them as if they were able to pay it. Many plans were got up to trick the tea men as they were called . . .

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0770, Page 364
The google search also led to a recent headline in Irish newspapers, ‘Tea-man’ Kevin Bakhurst under fire as politicians lose confidence in RTE chief, but, disappointedly, they never explained why he is being called the “tea man”.

Was the defendant Patrick Kelly actually a “tea-man” by occupation? Patrick Kelly (“age 28” in 1901) was the son of Patrick Kelly (age 65) and Bridget Kelly (age 60), baptized on 16 January 1867 in Kilchreest Parish, and they were living in Gurtygeehan, Lissycasey in the 1901 census. Patrick Kelly, Sr., died in December 1903. When Patrick Kelly, Jr., married Bridget Gavin of Lavally (the sister of defendant Michael Gavin) in 1908, he reported that his father, Patrick Kelly, was deceased. At the 1911 census, Patrick and Bridget (Gavin) Kelly were living in Breaghva West (Kilchreest) with their two young children; Patrick’s age has been scribbled out and left blank in the census index. In the 1913 prison records, Patrick Kelly, of “Breaffy, Kildysart”, was reported to be 43 years old (much closer to his actual age than the 1901 census). In all these reports, Patrick Kelly was reported to be a “farmer’s son” or “farmer”, but never a “tea man”.

1901 census: ... n/1076316/
1903 death record: ... 588206.pdf
1908 marriage: ... 654592.pdf
1911 census: ... st/359454/

There were several men named Patrick Kelly in Kilchreest Parish, so I reckon that “the tea man” was most likely a nickname to distinguish between them. Patrick Kelly was not very popular with many of his neighbors, and by all accounts neither was the travelling tea-man, was this the origin of the name? Michael A. MacNamara was attacked in his home just as he was starting to have his “tea”. If this was the modus operandi of the moonlighters, including the accused Patrick Kelly, did this lead to his nickname “the tea man”? Or maybe Patrick Kelly was simply very fond of drinking tea?

The next witness was Thomas O’Dea who stated that he had “taken last year a field which had been the cause of disputes between Mr. Macnamara and the prisoner Kelly, and he gave it up subsequently” as he didn’t want to get mixed up with the troubles over it, but then “took it again in October, and I gave it up again”. Was this the same land from the first day of testimony, which the news accounts stated that Michael A. MacNamara had sold to John McNamara, the brother of Sinon McNamara? Why was this particular field, which was, to use the Irish saying, “being passed around like a hot potato”, so controversial that men would fight and even kill over?

The following witness was John O’Dea who reluctantly testified that he had heard in Ennis the defendant Michael Gavin use threatening language against Michael A. MacNamara telling him that he would pay £5 for the boys to “give him a clitter”. After some laughter in the court, O’Dea would clarify his testimony with “to give him a slap”. Curious about it origins I researched the term on-line. “Clitter” was included in a “list of Irish words which have survived in the spoken English of Limerick City” that Frank Prendergast, M.A., in an article, Irish Idiom in Limerick City’s Vernacular English, published in the North Munster Antiquarian Journal, volume 40 (year 2000), pgs 73-88.
“Cliotar”, Irish origin unknown, “Clitter” in English, used to describe a slap with the open hand, viz, “I gave him a clitter across the face”.

See Limerick City library link below for complete article: ... ergast.pdf
John O’Dea testified that he was a cousin of Michael A. MacNamara of Leamnaleaha. Who was John O’Dea? Was his use of the word “clitter” in his 1913 testimony a clue to his identity?

To be continued,

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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Sduddy » Wed May 08, 2024 2:47 pm

Hi Jimbo,
The word "clitter" was also used in Co Clare. Back in the fifties, if you gave cheek, you might get a clitter.
I enjoyed reading that next installment of Michael A MacNamara and The Field. Every parish probably has just such a field - representing a principle, or a matter of honour, or an expectation that had been flouted. Check out the poem, "Epic" by Patrick Kavanagh. I know a field that is now covered by briars and blackthorn, but was once protected by police living there in a wooden hut. There's no plaque giving the history!
I, also, noted the connection between MacNamara and the Finucanes , and was interested, but the relationship, if there was one, is probably lost in the mists of time . As you can imagine, people kept contact with "respectable" relations, no matter how distant.
I loved the piece about the Tea Man. I was not aware of any of it. I know that when tea was rationed during the war, people went to great lengths to get some. The Tea Man started something big.

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