Friday, August 20, 2010

Ireland: Day 9: Cavan, Family Connections and Cabra Castle

The Davenport Hotel in Dublin
We left Dublin this morning under rainy skies but as we headed north to Cavan the sun came out brilliantly and stayed the whole day. Destination: Bellananagh (pronounced balin-a (short 'a')) where my father's family the Fitzpatricks are from. The town is also spelled Ballinagh on some maps for accuracy purposes. Bellananagh is a little southwest of Cavan (actually quite close) and we needed to figure out what Garrymore was since that name appeared on all of the tax records.

We stopped in Ballyjamesduff just to check it out since my father had mentioned it a few times but it seems that is just a larger, nearby town. My great-grandparents wedding records, which we had procured the day before listed a chapel as the place where their wedding took place. A woman in a small supermarket pointed us in the right direction to a town called Kilmaleck We tried to find the priest who serviced both the church in Kilmaleck and the smaller chapel but he wasn't around.

The bell tower from the church where my great
grandparents were married.
We found the chapel easily but it looked a bit new for a wedding that took place in 1884. There was an old stone bell tower that I've included here and I suspect that was part of the original chapel. The church was named St. Joseph's. We checked the gravestones seeing very few Fitzpatricks and moved onto Ballinagh and Garrymore.

Garrymore it seems is an area of Bellananagh just a bit south of the actual town. It has very small roads and in some cases no roads at all but my husband's great map following abilities landed us in a spot which was really close to, if not on, the property. A really peaceful place, very untouched by modern times...kind of amazing since County Cavan seems very well off and has many 'mc mansions' dotting the countryside. Cavan looks in fact, like the 'horsey' area of New Jersey (Colt's Neck and environs). Just down the road from the family's bucolic farmland, a subdivision was being built. We didn't see a house or people to talk to...just a couple of sleepy cows!

We did note that there were a lot of Brady's in and around all of these towns. On the tax records which we have, Brady's were my grandfather's neighbors. My great-grandparents were married by a Father Patrick Brady and one of their witnesses was a Brady. There were pubs, solicitors, businesses, fancy gravestones galore and even a singer named Paul Brady, appearing in Cavan town tonight! The Brady's it seems were more prolific than the Fitzpatricks!

Tonight we're at the Cabra Castle in the town of Kingsbridge in Cavan County, another lovely property and we're sitting in a drawing room filled with an incredible teapot collection while a wedding is going on downstairs. Tomorrow we'll drive to Omagh to meet my husband's cousin for lunch.

On a personal note: my sisters back in New York called today to say my mother has taken a turn for the worse and might not make it past the weekend. We're changing our plans and leaving Sunday and I probably will end my Ireland blogs tomorrow night. Thanks to all for reading and will continue 'The Daily Suse' at an appropriate time.


  1. Susan,
    I've been enjoying the posts. Sorry you're leaving early. As of 7 pm there's no change in mom's condition.

  2. Hi Susan, my name is Angela Good from Dublin. I have just stumbled across your blog. I know it is old but I think I may be able to make some connections for you. My mother's stepfather was a man called Philip Fitzpatrick of Garrymore, Ballinagh. His parents were James and Anne (Keegan) and they were married in Drumkilly church in 1884. I have just returned today 2nd April 2017 from Garrymore, where I met with Danny and Mary Brady, the neighbours beside the old homestead. Danny currently rents the land from Cissie Fitzpatrick who is in a nursing home in Cavan and will turn 100 this coming August! Her Husband, Jimmie, died in 2010 and may have been a nephew of your Fathers??

    Are these the same Fitzpatricks you were trying to trace?? I understand they were known as the Fitzpatrick "Dubhs" which means dark or black in Gaeilic, as they had sallow complexion and dark hair and there was another family Fitzpatrick "Bán" or white, who were pale and blond!