PAYING THE RENT Aidan Feerick B.A., M.A.G.I & Tony Hennessy M.A.G.I. Our farming ancestors paid their rents twice a year on what were known as Gale Days. One was Lady Day (25 March) and the other was Michaelmas (29 September). This practice of the periodic payment of rents varied between estates. Payment could be in cash or in kind; turf, oats, barley, or animals were sometimes accepted in lieu of rent. Sometimes, tenants paid a part or all their rent by working for the landlord. At other times, agents traveled around the estate collecting the rent; in some places, the … Read More


AN IMPORTANT FAMILY OBITUARY PAINTS A VIVID PICTURE Kiara Gregory, M.A.G.I. David Moriarty from Decatur in Georgia was researching his Moriarty family history in Kerry Local History Library, when he found an obituary of my great-great grandfather, Timothy Moriarty, in The Kerryman1, dated 4 September 1909. According to his obituary, Timothy Moriarty was eighty six when he died, and he was a fit, tall, sporting man. His career, as discussed in his obituary, was very interesting, and on this I will focus. Timothy Moriarty was seneschal or judge of the Manor Court for the barony of Corkaguiny in Co. Kerry. … Read More

Michael Walsh MAGI to give National Archives Talk

AGI member Michael Walsh is to give a talk entitled “From Tithes to Griffith’s: Property and Valuation Records”  at the National Archives of Ireland on Thursday, February 16 next. Michael’s talk will introduce participants to the key factors of the major land and property valuations in 19th-century Ireland. Among the record collections covered will be the following sources: Tithe Applotment Books, early townland valuations and notebooks compiled as part of the valuation process, Griffith’s Valuation (valuation sheets and associated maps), Valuation Revision Books, and other information and resources underpinning the valuations. For more information, see the National Archives site. You … Read More


FROM LOG CABIN TO MUD HUT: The extraordinary childhood experiences of Reverend Philip Homan of Villierstown, Co. Waterford. Justin Homan Martin, M.A.G.I. (Emeritus) By the close of the eighteenth century many of the descendants of John Homan, Esq., (of Moategranoge, Co. Westmeath, d. 1683) had migrated toward Dublin; my mother’s ancestral branch had by then established itself at Ardenode (otherwise Ardenwood) near Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. In the year 1812, Isaac Homan (a Dublin barrister and second cousin to members of the above branch) found himself a victim of “heavy and unforeseen” pecuniary circumstances and was obliged to depart Dublin … Read More


FRANCES-JANE FRENCH John Grenham MAGI The first thing anyone who met Frances-Jane French will tell you is that she was a formidable woman. From the 1960s to the 1990s, she strode the streets of Dublin, black cloak flapping around her shoulders, ebony cane ready to wave over the head of any poor soul who thwarted her. To those of us starting out in genealogy, she was terrifying. Her vocation was Anglo-Irish family history and she laboured long and hard correcting and expanding the published trees in Debrett’s. Genealogy came naturally to her. To quote a profile in the Trinity News … Read More


Ancient Mansion of the Brownes, Galway Joan Sharkey MAGI Researching the paternal (Usher/Ussher) side of my family brought me to Galway City many times. Griffith’s Valuation in 1855 recorded Matthew Usher as the occupier of a house, bakery and yard at No. 3 William Street. It adjoined a passage way leading to No. 3 a which was an office and yard. With the help of the Valuation map, the exact location of the house and bakery was found, showing the passage and courtyard which ran behind No. 1, 2 & 3 William Street and some houses on Abbeygate Street. A … Read More

Upcoming lectures by AGI members in November

On Wednesday 23 November 11am as part of Dublin City Culture Club, AGI member Aiden Feerick will give a genealogy lecture. The title of the lecture is ‘Using Free Websites to Find your Family’. This is a Zoom event. Further details HERE On Thursday 24th November at 6pm AGI member Georgina Scally will provide insights and advice on investigating sources for finding townlands in Ireland. The title of Georgina’s talk is ‘Twenty ways to find a townland – and other hints and tips’. This is the final talk of 2022 in the National Archives lecture series. It is a free, … Read More


Ireland and the West Indies: A Brief History of the Irwin Family Joanna Cicely Fennell, M.A.G.I. Pictured is the churchyard of St. George’s Cathedral in Kingstown, capital of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. The interior of this elegant Anglican church is home to a number of interesting plaques, including one bearing the following memorial inscription: To the memory of Alexander Burrowes Irwin, Esqr. Descended from an ancient and honorable family in Ireland, Who having devoted the early part of his life to the profession of arms, And having obtained a company in His Majesty’s 32nd. Regiment of Infantry, Afterwards … Read More


Blessington Lakes have a Story to Tell Hilda McGauley M.A.G.I. The journey from West Wicklow to Dublin was always enjoyable, seeing the mountains in the distance, particularly the section from Blakestown and the Poulaphouca Falls to Russborough and on to Blessington. This section of the N81 skirts Blessington Lakes, giving panoramic views of lake and mountains. For many years I passed this, seemingly, natural landscape without a thought of how it had come into being. Back in the 1930s a dam was built at Poulaphouca Falls (also known as Pollaphuca) for a hydroelectric scheme to produce electricity for the national … Read More


Mary Anne Byrne – a Dublin Retail Trader & Businesswoman Hilary McDonagh M.A.G.I Situated at 17 Berkeley Road, Phibsboro, Dublin, Richard Byrnes Victuallers was established in 1877 by newly married couple, Richard Byrne and his wife Mary Anne Sweeney. The couple were neighbours before they were married, living next door to each other on Great Britain Street [now Parnell Street]. While Mary Anne’s father, Peter Sweeney was a fruiterer, Richard’s father, Simon, was a victualler. Between them, they had the makings of a formidable team. Sadly, Richard died in 1878 of smallpox just a year after they were married leaving … Read More