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Flannery of Ballyguy

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: County Limerick, Irelandmap
Surname/tag: Flannery
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The history of three generations of the Flannery family of Ballyguy townland, which straddles the boundary between the civil parishes of Abington and Clonkeen in County Limerick, can be reconstructed from the records of the estate of Sir Richard Bourke.[1][2]

According to Power (2001, pp. 77 and 85), quoting an 1830 memorandum[3] from Sir Richard Bourke to his agent Barrington (pp. 5 and 37), Sir Richard Bourke's father John Bourke (who died in 1795) had leased about 138 acres in Ballyguy to John Dwyer, who in turn sublet these lands to three tenants, John Duhy and William and John Flannery, who were brothers. In the early 1820s, Dwyer's lease expired and Bourke took the lands into his own hands and retained the three tenants, giving each of them a lease of one life with a restricting clause forbidding subletting and subdivision. The mother of the Flannery brothers lived in her own cottage on the farm and Bourke left instructions to his agent that should the Flannerys' leases expire before she died she was not to be disturbed.

Power (2001, p. 80), quoting rent rolls in the Bourke papers, notes that Bourke offered a lease of twenty-one years to John Nicoll, who took over John Flannery's thirty acres in Ballyguy after he emigrated in 1852.

Power (2001, p. 81), quoting estate accounts in the Bourke papers, notes that the Flannery brothers, who were leaseholders of one life, were both dispossessed for non-payment of rents. William was evicted by legal process and John surrendered his holding and emigrated in 1852.

Power (2001, p. 82), quoting a letter dated 26 January 1850 [sic] from Sir Richard Bourke to his son Richard jnr., records that John Flannery farmed thirty acres in Ballyguy, paying a rent of £76 14s. a year. He was in arrears for ten years in 1852 [sic] when he owed £134 18s. 2d. He had been under notice to quit earlier but it was deferred as it was known to Bourke that the Flannery sons were anxious to emigrate. The estate accounts revealed that they were waiting for their father to agree and that the family eventually surrendered their holding and emigrated to America in 1852, when they were paid £30 compensation for disturbance and £19 11s. 3d. for the hay and manure.

In Griffith's Valuation (printed 12 Feb 1852), the only Flannerys in the civil parishes of Abington or Clonkeen were both occupiers in the townland of Ballyguy, which straddles the parish boundary:

  • John Flannery occupied no. 2a in Clonkeen (house and offices with rateable annual valuation of 50 shillings on 7a 3r 6p) and no. 2 in Abington (50a 2r 38p); and
  • John Flannery, jun. occupied no. 3a in Clonkeen (house and offices with rateable annual valuation of 30 shillings on 11a 1r 38p) and no. 3 in Abington (75a 3r 32p).

Both sublet from Sir Richard Bourke, who occupied the remainder of the townland.

The senior of the Griffith occupiers must have been the man who surrendered his holding later in 1852 and went to America.

The junior of the Griffith occupiers must have been the John Flannery who married Margaret Ryan in Croom parish on 27 November 1852[4] and who continued to have children baptised in Murroe and Boher parish up to 1860, with further children baptised in Clonlara parish in 1862 and 1863 (with his address there given as "Prospect", possibly referring to the vicinity of Prospecthill House in Knockbrack Lower townland in Kiltenanlea civil parish.

Some time after 1863, this family also emigrated, to Australia.


  1. Power, Margaret M. C. "Sir Richard Bourke and his Tenants 1815-55." North Munster Antiquarian Journal, vol. 41, 2001, pp. 75-88.
  2. Manuscript rentals of the estate of Sir Richard Bourke of Thornfield in National Library of Ireland (MS 19,761) and online extracts here and here.
  3. This memorandum, along with the rent rolls, estate accounts and correspondence of Sir Richard Bourke and his son Richard Bourke jnr. referred to below, are all in the possession of Dan Lawless of Moher, Co. Tipperary.
  4. https://registers.nli.ie/registers/vtls000634977#page/135/mode/1up
    `27 Johannem Flannery et Margaritam Ryan de Ballyculleen mat. junxi
    coram Edvardo Ryan et Edvardo Mulqueen. Laur. Harnett'

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