Tony Harpur

My name is Tony Harpur. I am a native of Midleton, a market town in County Cork (in the deep south of Ireland).

Having enjoyed living and working in Limerick for fourteen years, I recently returned to Midleton to pursue new opportunities.  My interests include history (in all its genres – local, political, social, religious, family, economic, military) as well as archaeology, genealogy, and architectural history, rugby and hurling.  The best birthday present I ever received was a membership card for my local library – and I’m still addicted to reading (we all have our weaknesses)!  As a kid I cycled all over the area visiting historic sites and ruins – well, it kept me fit!

In Limerick, I served as a weekend Docent (volunteer guide/researcher) at the Hunt Museum.  This led me to pursue an MA in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Limerick (2012). In early 2015 I was awarded a Certificate in Continuing Professional Education (Genealogy) at the University of Limerick following a course conducted by the Irish Ancestry Research Centre..

My research interests include history (especially local history), genealogy and family history, architectural history and art history.

Published works:
Articles on The Three Saints Painting, The Lord Charlemont Chinese Dishes and The Midleton Mace in The Hunt Museum Essential Guide, Scala, 2006.
Article: The O’Dea Mitre and Crozier in Treasures of Irish Christianity (vol 1), Brendan Leahy & Salvador Ryan editors, Veritas Publications, 2012.
In preparation: Reading the O’Dea Mitre and Crozier – image, symbol and meaning. (provisional title) for Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Lectures and talks I have given:

The O’Dea Mitre and Crozier of 1418, Cloyne Literary and Historical Society, September 2014.

Bishop Cornelius O’Dea’s  Mitre and Crozier, The O’Dea Clan gathering, July 2014. Review here!

Research your family history using the internet and other resources, Lunchtime lecture in Midleton Library, National Heritage Week, August  2014.

“Historic Table settings”, as part of the Fine Dining Exhibition at  the Hunt Museum, 2012.

The Restoration and Extension of Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare, in the nineteenth century, Adare Historical Society, March 2013.

The nineteenth century restoration of Holy Trinity Abbey Church in Adare, Thomond Historical and Archaeological Society, Limerick, May 2012.

The Secret History of the O’Dea Mitre and Crozier, at The Hunt Museum, National Heritage Week, August 2011.

In search of an artist: revealing Bernhard Strigel (1460-1528) as the artist of the ‘Three Saints’ panel in the Hunt Museum, public lecture, Hunt Museum, December, 2007.

Introducting the Medieval Religious Art in the Hunt Museum, a training workshop for Primary School Teachers, on behalf of the Limerick Diocesan Education office, Hunt Museum, 2011 and 2012.

Other workshops, talks and lectures at the Hunt Museum: The bells from the Hunt Museum’s collection, Hunt Museum’s Medieval Collection (presented with Grace Cantillon), Medieval Paintings in the Hunt Museum, The Midleton Mace, The Chinese export ware dinner service of Lord Charlemont, The Arthur Cross and Reliquaries of the True Cross,
Courses I teach:
Research your Family History, commenced 1st October 2014, St. Colman’s Community College Evening School, Midleton

44 thoughts on “About

  1. Mr Harpur, Have just seen you comments re The Cahhaghan family in Midleton Co Cork. Charlotte FitzGerald the wife of Mathias Callaghan was the sister of my Gr Gr Grandfather.If you have more information about the Callaghan family could you please contact me. I do have quite a lot but am lacking B & D dates for some of the children. If you are able to help it would be wonderful as my Irish history is my obsession. Regards Maureen Pova nee FitzGerald map_2@hotmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maureen, I am delighted to get this message from you! I mentioned the O’Callaghans of Coolbawn in my tours of Midleton during Heritage Week in August – and initially got some VERY blank looks. However during the second tour one of the ladies nodded her head in approval when I mentioned the family, especially the last of the family to live on Brodrick Street – Richard John O’Callaghan, a former manager in Midleton Distillery (now the Jameson Experience). In fact it turned out that this lady’s father had bought Mr O’Callaghan’s house in the probate sale, and she still lives there! I have a suspicion that the O’Callaghans built the terrace of five late Georgian houses on Brodrick Street (one of which is currently undergoing much needed refurbishment having been bought at a probate sale earlier this year).

      So you are descended from Charlotte Fitzgerald O’Callaghan’s brother. Now I wonder which Fitzgeralds they were?
      I will do a little digging for you and get back to you by email later today. But I’m sure you are aware that Matthias and Charlotte had a whole tribe of children! There were ELEVEN sons and NINE daughters! One of them became a sister of the a Presentation Convent in Midleton. So you can imagine I have my work cut out for me!!!!!

      Note that a short post on Brodrick Street/Coolbawn will be published on the site this weekend – be sure to look out for it!

      Until later, best wishes,
      Tony H.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Tony,
        I am researching a photo book of public sculptures all over the country, and I want to include the pieces in Midleton. However I don’t have the names of the sculptors of the Boy and Geese, Nellie Cashman, and the sheep. Could you possibly help me with this information please? Or maybe there are plaques – though the sculptor is almost never credited on a plaque.
        Many thanks,


      • Ann,

        The works you mentioned (and the other recent commissions in Midleton) were designed/made by the following sculptors:
        Boy and Geese – Niall Bruton
        Nellie Cashman memorial – Mike Disley
        Sheep at the post – Joe Neeson
        Kindred Spirits (the Choctaw Gift Monument) – Alex Pentek
        1798 Pikeman – John Twomey

        I hope this helps.
        Tony Harpur


    • Where are the comments re the Callaghan family? I am interested in Jeremiah Thomas Fitzgerald Callaghan, HK, Labuan, Gambia, Falklands, especially between his return from Labuan to his departure for the Falklands. The email contact above seems not to work.
      Thank you, Kevin MacKeown.


  2. Dear Tony,
    I wonder if you might be able to assist or advise me. I am researching one Thomas HAVERS who married his second wife in 1855 (in the Falkland Islands), Mary Clare COPPINGER. He died in 1870 in Uruguay, and his various children (by Mary and by his first wife) all returned to England. HAVERS was staunchly Catholic. I have found an online web-tree reference to his wife being “Clare COPPINGER” dau. of William Henry COPPINGER & Elizabeth BYRNE – but no proof provided. Apparently, according to the same tree, there was also another daughter Mary COPPINGER, b abt 1824 died 1900. This Mary, I believe was Sister Mary Francis Borgia, born Cork to Mary COPPINGER to William Henry COPPINGER, of the Presentation Convent in Midleton who died there in 1899 or 1900. A newspaper report (Irish Times April 1900) says she had been at the convent 46 years. But I’m wondering if, she may have entered the convent around 1870-71 and be the widow Havers. I have no idea how to go about finding information about this. Any help or advice you could provide would be most welcome.
    Kind regards
    Anne Blyth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Tony,
    You are a gifted researcher and writer and your posts about Ballinacurra have been so helpful to my family history research, as I am currently writing a long document for my extended family members here in the U.S. about our origins in Ballinacurra. I just visited Midleton and Ballinacurra in September with my parents to trace my ancestors: Patrick Leary (ca1810-ca1880) and Johanna Walsh (1811-1891), whose son Thomas Leary (1851-1918) emigrated to Boston ca 1870 (as did his sisters Ellen, Mary Johanna, Frances/”Annie,” and mother Johanna). Johanna’s parents were John Walsh and Nora Hearn. Patrick Leary and his brothers Daniel Leary and John Leary all worked as boatmen at Ballinacurra. The family lived on Ladysbridge Road according to Griffiths in 1853 but I was not able to pinpoint or photograph that location. If you have every heard anything about any Learys or have any other photographs of what the cottage of a Ballinacurra laborer would have looked like in the 1850s, I would love to know. Best, Karen O’Leary Taylor

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Tony,

    Just wondering where you sourced the image of Edward Bransfield, featured in your blog. I work in Antarctic waters as a wildlife tour guide and have crossed the Bransfield Strait many times. I thought there were no verifiable images of Edward Bransfield in existence. Should this be genuine it would be fantastic as I have been in contact with a couple of people in the area hoping Ballinacurra will commemorate their very famous son when the 200th anniversary of him becoming the first/one of the first people every to see the Antarctic continent in 1820.


    • Jim, I fear that the image of ‘Edward Bransfield’ used in the blog post was incorrect! It turns out that it was the photograph of an officer in the United States Navy! As far as I have been able to ascertain there are NO images of Edward Bransfield know to be extant. My apologies for the error.


  5. Mr Harpur,

    I was very happy to find your blog about Midleton. My 3rd great grandmother was born in Midleton in 1830. My sister visited Midleton serveral years ago and bought me a lovely book on the history of Midleton. I have been researching my gr grandmothers name to no avail in Midleton. As it was ‘Brandworth’, it seems it would be a name that would be fairly easy to find. No luck however. Which leads to think that perhaps her family only had a brief stay in Midleton. Perhaps at the army barracks, that is, if they were still operational in 1830. If you have any suggestions as to further sources re: researching in Midleton, I would surely apprectiate it. Regardless, very interesting read about Midleton. Best regards, Lisa Kelley

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa,

      The military barracks in Midleton was actually the former factory of Marcus Lynch but it closed in 1815. It was mostly used for troops in transition from their regular barracks to the transports in Cork Harbour from which they were sent to other parts of the Empire and to Spain and Portugal as well as the US to fight in the Napoleonic War and in the War against the United States. Brandworth does not appear to be a local name. I wonder if the name was actually BRANSFIELD, which is certainly a local name. It’s not an English name either being the name of a Gaelic Irish family which tranlated its name into ‘English’ to allay any suspicions! However, I’ll look up the name Brandworth to see what turns up.


      • Thank you. I have searched and come up with nothing for Brandworth. The military thought was a shot in the dark, but I would definitely appreciate any assistance you could offer. Thank you for replying, I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog, so much interesting information about Midleton.


  6. Hello Tony,

    Firstly, I love your accounts of Midleton and the local area. It’s fascinating to find out about my hometown and discover the truth about its origins and the very exciting history of the area. I look forward to your articles so much.

    I wonder if you have any history about a little further out namely Corkbeg. My Father lived there for the last few years before it became the refinery and talks about the ruined castle on the island. I understand there was a medieval town/hamlet/village on the island hence the name little cork but we know little more than that and would love to get a more detailed history.

    Any advice on sources of history would be much appreciated or information you may already have.

    Also, would you think about putting the course you sun at the tech online in the form of a webinar? Living up in Lisburn makes it a little awkward to travel to MIdletong for evening classes.

    Many thanks,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Gerard, Corkbeg is a an interesting spot with an well established history! Indeed the online articles from the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society include one or two on Corkbeg, especially on the Fitzgeralds of Corkbeg. This family conformed to the Established Church and thereby preserved an estate they had obtained the reign of Elizabeth I. See vol for 1894, page 210 for confirmation of the title to Corkbeg of Garrett Fitzgerald. This artcile is by RG Uniacke-Fitzgerald who also wrote about the Corkbeg Fitzgeralds in his series on the Uniackes of Youghal. (See JCHAS, 1894, pp 210-221. Sadly the intriguing farm diary of Garrett Fitzgerald has not been published. It dates from the 1650s (Cromwellian era) and describes Fitzgerald’s cattle being worried by wolves! I may do a post on the whole Corkbeg area – it’s within the remit of the blog! A final thing to examine is the website Landedestates.ie from NUIG. This will give you a start on examining the Corkbeg estate’s history. You can look under Estate (Corkbeg) or family.
      I hope all this helps,
      Tony H.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Tony, great blog! Being on the other side of the planet makes it a little difficult to get a feel for the places my ancestors lived, so it’s wonderful that youve put all this together for Midleton!
    Have you ever come across any of the Brabazon family in your searches? My 4xgreat-grandfather was Joseph Brabazon, who was postmaster in Midleton, and his wife was Mary Venn (they married in 1796, and supposedly had 21 children – I’be not been able to confirm that number!). Are these names familiar to you?
    Toban in Australia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Toban, thank you for your kind remarks on my blog. Yes, I do believe I came across a reference to Mr Joseph Brabazon as postmaster. I suspect it was in one of the street directories for the county of Cork in the Corkpastandpresent website. Check it out. There is no sign of any of their children being buried in St John the Baptist’s graveyard. I haven’t checked the Ballinacurra graveyard. But they might have had a healthy family with no infant mortality. Odd, but it happened. They’d be worth checking up on. You’ll see Joseph’s early twentieth century successor turn up in one of my upcoming posts!

      Tony H


      • Hi Tony, thanks for the speedy response! I’ll definitely check out the past & present site and see what they’ve got (I’m pretty sure I’ve checked it already, but there’s probably more stuff they’ve added since then). I have burial dates for two of their children (Grace on 23 May 1832; and Edward on 10 Sep 1833), as well as Mary’s burial on 12 Nov 1861. I would’ve thought they were in St. John’s, as the family were not Catholic, though they may have been Methodist (would they have a separate cemetery?). Grace and Edward died in their late teens early 20s, and I’ve only been able to find 10 of the supposed 21 children – the rest I assume died in infancy, but haven’t found proof (and it’s obviously not in St. John’s’ records). Small correction to my earlier post, Joseph & Mary married in 1800 (don’t know where I pulled 1796 from!)
        Do you know if there’s a list of postmasters for Midleton. I’d love to know when precisely Joseph began and ended his tenure.



        Liked by 1 person

  8. Tony,

    I am reaching out to you because of your knowledge of Midleton and your clear passion for history.

    My grandfather, Patrick Hawe, left Ireland in 1909. He is from a small farm in Glanworth but the ship manifest listed his last address as Midleton and his occupation as ‘clerk’. He was 20 years old at the time and I suppose he left his family farm in Glanworth and lived and worked in Midleton for some time before leaving for America.

    I wonder what Midleton was like around that time to have attracted him and then to have exposed him to the prospect of going to America.

    Any references on your blog or other books or online references to enable a better understanding of Midleton, Cork and Ireland around that time would be appreciated. Also, I see your reference to your class on Research Your Family History – any information, class notes or resources that you highlight in that class would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Jerry Howe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerry, thank you so much for your kind remarks about my blog. I don’t believe I came across the Hawe/Howe name in Midleton – the 1901 Census shows three in Glanworth but none of the age you suggest (is the age wrong?) If Patrick Hawe was a clerk, I wonder who he worked for. The next couple of blog posts will hopefully satisfy your curiosity about Midleton in the years 1900-1918 because they were the subject of the two walking tours and the lecture I gave during Heritage Week (20th to 28th August). One thing I reckon you could do is look up the Corkpastandpresent website and check the street directories for the county of Cork – you might find his family in Glanworth and also get some idea of the business life of Midleton then. I’m redrafting the Genealogy Course – so much new material has come online. But I’ll forward what may be of interest.

      Tony H.


      • Tony,

        Thanks. I’ll follow for the next few blog posts for the background on Midleton around the early 20th century. I’ll also check the Corkpastandpresent website.


        Jerry H.


  9. No bother Tony, thanks for getting back to me on that, much appreciated. Michael Smith, who wrote the book Unsung Hear on TOm Crean will be giving a talk hosted by the Cloyne Historical Society in the Midleton Park Hotel on the Tuesday 25th October at 8pm.


  10. Mr. Harpur, George McCarthy here, family originally from Ladysbridge a few generations back. Might you have any information on the origin of the town name Ladysbridge ? Is this an English translation from Gaelic ? Any meaning behind the name ? Many thanks in advance in helping solving this long time mystery for our family ! All the best, Capt George E McCarthy

    Liked by 1 person

    • George,

      I am still attempting to unravel the origins of the two names for Ladysbridge, because they both differ. The earliest record of the name Ladysbridge (or something close to it) comes from William Petty’s 1656 Down Survey map of County Cork. The map can be accessed on the Trinity College Dublin Down Survey Maps website: http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/down-survey-maps.php#c=Cork&indexOfObjectValue=-1&indexOfObjectValueSubstring=-1

      The origins of the name are uncertain but it should be noted that the Irish (Gaelic) name of the village is Droichead na Scuaib – usually translated as the Bridge of the Brooms (or of the Brushes). The local tale is that one evening as the menfolk were coming from work the bridge in the village had just been swept away by a flood. The womenfolk placed their brooms on the gap to give the men the opportunity to cross without getting their boots wet. The tale is very likely a local invention but there is another possible meaning to the Irish name – ‘scuab’ can also mean a fox’s brush or tail – so it may refer to the tale of a fox hung there as a trophy or because the fox escaped the local hounds by dashing into the local stream. The English name seems to have nothing to do with the traditional Irish name. The 1656 Cromwellian map shows it as ‘OE Lady B=‘ which may be ‘The Lady’s Bridge’ or ‘Our Lady’s Bridge’. It is possible that the bridge may refer to the Margaret FitzGerald who married Edmund Supple and built the nearby Ightermurragh Castle in 1641. It could also refer to the medieval dedication of Ighermurragh chapel to the Blessed Virgin. The present village of Ladysbridge lies almost at the extreme westernmost point of the parish of Ightermurragh and it preserves the medieval dedication in the present 1815 Catholic church. The village actually lies a little south of the major river of Imokilly barony – the Womanagh and actually straddles a stream running from south to north to join the Womanagh. The importance of the village lies simply in the fact that five roads meet there – these roads give access to many parts of the south western part of the barony. Ladysbridge is essentially a crossroads village. Curiously, Petty’s 1656 Barony and Parish maps do NOT show Ladysbridge, which is simply indicated on the County map. There is a townland of Ladysbridge indicated on the first edition six inch Ordnance Survey map of 1837-41. It is one of the smallest and narrowest townlands in East Cork – it runs as a very narrow strip from the bridge over the Womanagh in the north to a point on the Cloyne road and contains just 4 acres, 3 roods and 12 perches. Some of the southern end of the townland was chopped off in the later Ordnance survey map!

      So you can see that the origins of the name of the village are a difficulty – they simply haven’t been unravelled. I hope this helps.
      Tony H.


  11. Hello Tony,

    Great site on local history of the area. My sister lives on the Rocky Road, though we are originally from Ballycotton. I would love to know who is the current owner of Castleredmond house. I think it needs some love and restoration. I cannot find out how to contact the current owners.

    Hope to hear from you.


    B Walsh


    • Dear Barrijean,

      I do hope that you are mixing up Lakeview House with Castleredmond House! Castleredmond House is located directly on the N25 heading towards the Rocky Road from the Lakeview Roundabout and is currently let, so it is inhabitable and in reasonable condition. It may need a coat of paint – certianly the wrought and cast iron gates need painting (they date from about 1896). I was actually talking to one of the owners (the McGovern family)in the last two weeks and he had questions about the history of the house. The Ashlin family created it especially the staircase and great stained glass window. It is likely that George Coppinger Ashlin was the architect and John Coppinger Ashlin was the inhabitant of the house in the later 19th century. Lakeview House adjoins it but is entered from a gate opposite the Lakeview Filling Station on the Whitegate Road. Sadly, Lakeview is seriously derelict because the property is owned, and neglected, by a property developer from Cork who had planned to build a housing estate next to it and turn Lakeview itself into a retirement home. To be honest, I’m quite angry about the wilful neglect of what was a lovely late Georgian villa. Sadly, neither Lakeview nor Castleredmond House are listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage! This despite the fact that Lakeview was built by 1831 and Castleredmond House was a work linked to GC Ashlin!

      I hope this helps,
      Tony H.


  12. Hi – sorry its late at night – but I found yr website after searching ‘ mactire of imokllly ‘ + ‘ who was mactire of the 12th century ‘ etc – I noticed ‘ yr Blog ‘ on ‘ Milo de Cogan ‘ – from the research I have done – he is an Ancestor of mine + his son William + his ‘ Descendants ‘ moved from Somerset, England to Devon, England + thanks to an Email friend of mine – Robert K Coggan – he has been researching all ‘ Coggan ‘ families in Doncaster etc – my Coggan Ancestors from Epworth, Lincolnshire, England – from more research – Coggan is one of 19 variations of ‘ Cogan – Robert managed to find a ‘ Document ‘ from the National Archives I think of a ‘ Adam Cogan who had ‘ Land ‘ in 1370 AD + 1381 AD in Lincolnshire – Robert said there were ‘ DNA Matches between the Somerset ‘ Cogans ‘ + the ‘ Doncaster ‘ Coggan’s ‘ .
    Anyway I have been researching ‘ Coggan’s ‘ since 2008 I got info from Penarth Library in Glamorgan , Wales – a ‘ Cogan ‘ married Gwladys FitzWalter – daughter of Nest Rhys – according to a book i have called ‘ The Mammoth Books Of Kings + Queens Of Britain – Nest is the day of King Rhys Tewdwr – he is descended from Elen of Wales, wife of King Hywel DDA – she is descended from Fedlimid Rechtmar, High King Of Ireland – its taken me a long time to find out how Miles.de Cogan died – as + when information is available on the Internet – since 2008 I have been compiling a book called ‘ The Coggan’s – Cousin Of The Queen ‘ as King Rhys Tewdwr is Ancestor of English King Henry 8th + Henry’s sisters Margaret Tudor ( Ancestor of the British Royal Family ) + Princess Mary Tudor ( Ancestor of Britain Actor Tom Hiddleston’s Grand Uncle – Ralph Bruce Verney ). As a separate books – researching the Irish ‘ side + my very recent ‘ Ashkenaz + Scythian Ancestry.
    Anyway you can contact me – EMAIL – jcbell45@gmail.com / PHONE – 44 / 01274 / 482899


  13. Hi Tony,
    I was really excited to find your blog and can see myself immersing myself in its contents. I am researching the Irish Famine Orphan Girls from the Midleton Workhouse who travelled to NSW via the John Knox . My 4th great grandmother, Bridget Donovan, was one of thse girls. It took me about 5 years to find out anything about her, but more newspapers must’ve gone online and I’ve actually gleaned quite a lot. I was also contacted recently via a blog I set up and found out that 2-3 of her sons married Aboriginal women. In Sydney, there’s the Irish Famine Monument at the Hyde Park Barracks, which used to be the Female Immigration Depot back in the day and this is where the girls first stayed when they arrived here. Every year, there is a commemoration in August to honor the girls and there are academics furthering their cause. I’m not sure where my research is taking me. I’m a writer and love research and am just playing it by ear.
    I was wondering whether you have done much research into Midleton Workhouse please and it would be great to put our heads together.
    Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Ireland so my imaginings of Midleton are all I have at this point.
    Here’s my email address as well: rowenanewton at outlook.com
    Here is a link to my blog: https://wordpress.com/view/bridgetdonovansjourneyblog.wordpress.com
    Best wishes,


    • Rowena,

      The archives of Midleton Workhouse still survive in the care of the Cork Archives, which is housed in the country’s first truly modern pubiic archive building, the Seamus Murphy building, in Blackpool, Cork. These archives have barely been researched. Sean Horgan used them to explore the Famine in Midleton, and another scholar wrote a Masters dissertation by exploring the post-Famine records. However they barely scratched the surface. The records will have to be examined for evidence of the Famine orphan girls from Midleton. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to look more closely at these records, even though my great-great grandmother died there in the second decade of the twentieth century, and her husband died in the same place, renamed the County Home, in the 1930s.The building still exists, as Midleton Community Hospital. It is of interest that the only Bridget Donovan in the 1842 Catholic Parish Census of Midleton by Rev William Keane is a girl of 13 years who is a relative of Jeremiah Donovan, shopkeeper of Main Street. You have to realise that the workhouse in Midleton was the ONLY workhouse between Cork and Dungarvan when it was completed in 1842/43. The workhouse in Youghal was finally completed in 1849. This means that Midleton bore the brunt of the famine relief efforts in much of eastern County Cork during the worst years of the famine. Your Bridget Donovan may not have come from Midleton but from a large hinterland around the town, perhaps even from Youghal. She may not even have been housed in Midleton Workhouse itself because the Poor Law Guardians who ran the workhouse created several auxiliary workhouses in disused grain stores in Midleton, Ballinacurra, Cloyne, and Youghal. However the records of her care by the Midleton Poor Law Union would have been entered into the Workhouse records. I hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for getting back to me, Tony. Sorry it’s taken me a few days to reply but my kids are currently on school holidays and my time is not my own.
        I am now in the process of researching all the Irish Famine Orphan girls from Midleton who arrived in Sydney onboard the John Knox. Our newspapers went online a few years back and once I’ve found out who the girl has married, I’ve been able to trace them down to a point where descendants could pick up the trail. Many of these girls ended up living on the goldfields. What I did find quite interesting is that all the ones I’ve tracked down so far, have lived well into their 70s or 80s and had a large number of children. So, despite the hardships they endured during the Famine, they were pretty robust. I also did a Google search of Midleton in these online newspapers and that yield a few stories of people living to 100 or more, agin surviving well beyond the famine.
        Aside my personal interest, I’m a history graduate and I am also a survivor and had had a long interest in how people overcome adversity. With such a large scale event as the Irish Famine, it’s natural there would be winners and losers for a whole host of reasons and even down to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I am happy email some material through to you. I’ll need to get the biographies in better order and compare notes with the Irish Famine Committee here and see what they have. While I haven’t been able to trace some of the girls at all so far, over all it’s been a very fruitful search. My email address is rowenanewton at outlook.com.
        Best wishes,


  14. Mr. Harpur,
    I am a retired investigator currently seeking help with a personal research project. Here in San Diego at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is the grave of Leading Seaman James Frederick Hynes of the British Navy. He was born in Midleton, Cork, Ireland on 12 December 1897 and served during World War 1 aboard the HMS New Zealand. He died at the San Diego Naval Hospital on 5 December 1919 and was subsequently buried here. I would very much like to locate and, if possible, contact anyone who may be in any way related to him. His County of San Diego death certificate shows his next of kin only as “Unknown.” My goal is to chronicle and commemorate the life and service of this young man who served in the Great War and is buried here so far from his home. I would appreciate any information you might be able to provide to me about Mr. Hynes, his family, and/or give me guidance toward where this information might be available.

    Thank you for your time and assistance.


  15. Tony,

    I saw on your blog that the original irish name for ballintotas may not be ‘baile an tabhteisigh’ as we were taught in school (and which is on the roadsigns), but may in fact be ‘baile an tSaitir’, referring to a family of French / Norman extraction – des Autres or Salter – who lived here in the 14th or 15th century (not 100% sure of the exact details). I am curious to know where this family would have lived. My family has been in Ballintotas (or Farrantrenchard to be exact) since Patrick Finn bought a farm here in the early 1900’s. Looking at the OS map for 1837-42 (the earliest I can see available online), the farmhouse was in existence at that time. There are two parts to my question: Is there a way to find how old the farmhouse is? Secondly, is it at all possible that this is the site where the Salter family were based? I’ve noticed that historically people tended to build onto existing dwellings (possibly because it is a good location or the stone was readily available?). Also, Ballintotas castle is about 200 meters away, which may indicate this area is historically significant for whatever reason (although it doesn’t appear to have been on the main route from Castlemartyr to Midleton / Corabbey). Any advice or information you have would be greatly appreciated.


    • James,

      It may be that the Norman name des Autiers was locally identified as the name Waters in later years rather than the name Salter. The confusion arises from reading the notes attached to the name in the Pipe Roll of Cloyne as edited by Kenneth Nicholls and Paul MacCotter. It seems that BOTH names may be applied to the family but the des Autiers/s/Salter family had declined and very likely lost control of Ballintotis to the Fitzgeralds by the end of the 16th century – the reign of Elizabeth I. Although the present N25 passing Ballintotis wasn’t a major route until the late 18th century, the road from Ballinacurra to Castlemartyr would have been more important in centuries past.

      I hope this helps.


  16. Hi Tony, Good afternoon, I wonder if you know of another Brass Band in the town before the Midleton Holy Rosary Brass & Reed Band took shape? I am seeking info on a Tom Egan who played with the band … he was born in the 1880s so presumably played many decades before 1951 … All best wishes, Turtle


    • Dear Turtle,

      My apologies for the slow reply but I had to check a couple of facts. I fear that you may have opened a can of worms! You see, there were several bands in Midleton from the 1880s, at least. The first we know about was the St Patrick’s Brass and Reed Band which was certainly extant from the early 1890s. This was sometimes referred to as the St Patrick’s Drum and Fife Band….but that might be a mix up with another band! The other band was the Donelan Guard Drum and Fife Band, named for Captain Anthony Donelan, the local MP from the late 1880s to 1912. Adding to the confusion is a reference to the ‘National Brass Band of Midleton’ in 1894….however, I suspect that this may have been an original name for the St Patrick’s Drum and Fife Band. You see, in 1915, we find reference to…(take a deep breath!) THREE bands in Midleton and Ballinacurra (a port village located a mile south of the town). These were: St Patrick’s Brass & Reed Band (!), the Donelan Guard Drum and Fife Band, and….the St Colman’s Drum and Fife Band from Ballinacurra. They all participated in a commemoration of the Manchester Martyrs that year.

      The St Patrick’s band appears to have lasted until 1936. Yet in 1926, we discover a reference to the St Mary’s Piper’s Band! In 1951 the Holy Rosary Brass and Reed Band was created….and yet there seems to have been a band in existence in the town between 1936 and 1951. We don’t actually know if the St Mary’s band continued during the interlude.

      I hope this is of some help….however confusing! Regrettably, I’m unaware of the survival of any records but I could ask one or two people. If I discover anything else, I’ll contact you. Kindest regards, Tony Harpur


      • My goodness Tony, that is indeed a Pandora’s Box of brass and fife! I’m asking on behalf of a pal of mine so will go see if he has any further clues but I think that’s all he knows, ie: his great-uncle Tom Egan was in a brass band … Tom was a harness-maker by trade. Thanks so much for your comprehensive reply.


  17. Was reading your (old) post about Dr Richard Fitzgerald, the “last” of the Imokilly Geraldines. Three of his uncles came to Australia: Edward, Richard and James. Edward (my husband’s great grandfather) and Richard have no living descendants with the Fitzgerald surname, but James??? He had at least 5 Fitzgerald grandsons who were living until the 1970s and 1980s. Did none of them have male issue? I would love to hear from anyone who is willing to share details of that side of the family. My favourite Fitzgerald is Richard’s daughter Eileen who travelled by herself from Australia to Edinburgh University to became a doctor in 1904. In later life, she became the Chief Medical Officer for the Education Department of Victoria (Australia) and with Sister Mary Glowrey set up the first baby health clinics here. Medicine was in the family blood.


    • Felicity,

      Thank you for that information! I’m in touch with someone in Australia who is herself a Fitzgerald of Imokilly (!) and I’ve passed on your information to her. It’s astonishing to discover that so many of the family emigrated to Australia!

      Again, thank you for this information – it would be lovely to discover that the male line continues down under!

      Tony H


  18. Hi my name is Rachel Greene ,I’m a student in Coláiste an Phiarsaigh in second year.I am doing a history project on the rosery church in Midleton .I was wondering would you have any information on it.Thank you very much


  19. Hi Tony!
    I have followed you on Facebook Groups. And now I have found your blog! Wonderful reading. Thank you!

    Over the past 20 years, I have done family research on the DORGAN family of East County Cork: Cloyne/Carrigkilter/Churchtown South/Garryvoe and surrounding townlands. You can see my website here:
    I was able to get back with certitude to my earliest DORGAN ancestor: Patrick Dorgan (Dargan), my GG Grandfather (born about 1820-died before 1882). I would like to get back one more generation, but I have hit the proverbial wall. I have a list of Patrick’s siblings and a possible father (as you can see on the website). But I don’t have certitude/proof. Can I get to this level, perhaps with the help of a professional genealogist like you? Thanks for any assistance.
    Bill Dorgan


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